Gibraltar, Seville, Cordoba.
Friday October 23
The AIFS troop made our way to Gibraltar on out APYME bus. After several hours of driving we made our way into the city, La Linea, the last town before the UK Gibraltar. The view of the bay and the “Rock” was breathtaking. Hundreds of ships lined the bay and huge oil tankers sat on the deep blue ocean, out in the distance I could see the straight of Gibraltar and the Moroccan coast. We arrived just on the outside of the custom/border crossing and exited the bus. Our plan was to walk arcoss the border so that the bus didn't have to be searched (which would take to long). So the 50 of us made our way across the border. But not everyone made it. Yuri, who had a green card from Russia, was stopped and not allowed to pass. He was still a Russian citizen but had been living in the states for a very long time. I mean he had made it to London and Spain but they wouldn't let him in, so he had to wait for several hours outside...
The rest of us made our way across the airport landing strip and into the city. For the next several hours we explored the lower part of the city (the touristy parts). Saw some glass blowing and ate some Burger King (Lol). After some free time we proceeded to board the tour bus with quite an enthusiastic guide (where does AIFS find these guides!) named Paul. We toured the city and made our way up to the light hose at the far corner of the rock. We got a history lesson on the way about the British occupation and the battles that took place there. The point at the end of the rock was probably the most amazed and stunned I've been on this trip. It felt like I had just walked out into a dreamscape. As far as the eye could see there were ships, scattered about, some just white specs on the horizon. The Morrocan coast, just 14km away, was visible through a slight haze.
From there our tour took us to the top of the rock, to las cuevas or the caves. Inside the cave we visited there was an orchestra hall!!! What good acoustics.
After visiting the caves we made our way to the main attraction, The Apes of Gibraltar!
Every now and then we would see one of the monkeys on the way down and the driver would slow down and the monkey would jump into the driver side window and Paul would start talking to him/her. He new everyone we saw by name and the history behind that certain monkey. We stopped and got some pictures with them.
That was pretty much the end of Gibraltar because we needed to get back onto the bus and make our way to Sevilla!
Gibraltar was amazing, but Sevilla was the real beauty of the trip (mind you Gibraltar isn't a Spanish city, its British).
Sevilla Oct 24
After sleeping the night on a cot that was a little too small (John and Adam both got the beds in our hotel room) I wasn't feeling very rested but I was excited to get up and walk around. We started our tour of the City, going into the old part of town... to the Palace and then over to the Alcazar. We walked though the gardens of the Alcazar (the living residence of royalty in the past). We had another very good tour guide who gave us some, in depth, histories of the city and its people. After that we made our way to the catedral. The catedral is actually larger in area than the one in Rome, but not in volume (No Catedral can be built larger than the one in Rome). We toured the inside and saw Cristopher Columbus' actual tomb and toured the muy alta (tall) bell tower, where we got some great views of the city!!
Maria, Daryl and I made our way back to the other side of the city to try and buy tickets for that nights Sevilla FC game versus Espanyol! Oye! I was so excited. We got decent tickets in the high side of on the south goal. I also decided that I needed to get some paraphernalia and went over to the Sevilla equipo store. All I could think about for the rest of the day was the game... It appeared as though I had the same mindset of most of the city. I saw numerous people running around in the jerseys, etc... I spent and hour shopping around and found a store with some eurpoean style clothing ( I think I have been converted!!). After an after noon of rest it was time for the partido! It started at approx 10pm and everyone of the AIFS kids could been seen wearing there (recently purchased) Sevilla clothing. I brought along my Nikon D90 hoping to get some good pics, which I did, but I wish I had the money to get the preferencia sitting down by the field. The game ended up being a 0-0 tie, sin problema, Sevilla controlled the field.
That night was daylight savings so EVERYONE stayed up later to take advantage of the extra hour (oh college kids!!).
Sunday was another one of those days where we spent a lot of time on the Bus. We boarded the bus after a tasty breakfast at the Hotel. About 2 hours later we arrived in Cordoba. I enjoy being able to have free time to wander the small streets of the old city. The main attraction in the city is the Catedral/Mosque. It was originally a mosque in the first century but later it became Christianized and a Cathedral was built into the Mosque and a bell tower over the Muslim tower. It was an interesting experience, to walk amongst both Christian and Muslim architecture. Our guide was Juan Carlos Cordoba (like the city ;) We were able to walk around the city and see a Jewish synagogue and other buildings that held significance for each religion. Spain is an interesting country, you can literally see history unfold as you walk through the streets of the cities.
After our tour of the Catedral I walked around the city with Maria and we found some unique items in the corner shops (maybe a few of those will make it back to the states :)
All in all it was an exciting trip, now I'm preparing for Nerja!!!
Look for more blogs and some great pics that will be uploaded soon!!