Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Spain, 21 Days Away


21 days--it doesn't sound like a long time away, but I'm still measuring time in how many hundreds of pages I have to grade. I have visions of a few sights ahead, but I doubt if my list matches everyone else's. I'll be curious to hear what others are eager to find.

I'm been to Barcelona. I did the official "stay behind" from our school Italy trip, and flew to Barcelona to meet friends. It's a great city--from Gaudi's elaborate and bizarre buildings, the relaxed walks, to the beaches. I felt safe and immediately at home (with a good map). But one of my Korean students warned that he had been robbed, walking alone in Barcelona, just last year....We'll be careful, and maybe not wander off alone too often.

Madrid? I don't know much about it, and really only picture it from various films, like Vantage Point-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vantage_Point_(film) , which showed lots of beautiful plazas, between police chases.

I'm excited about our daytrip to Morocco. I had wanted to spirit us away for an extra day, and found the train schedules from the coast down to Casablanca. Patti was willing to sign up on the spot if I could guarantee Rick's Cafe, and Carla M. said we really needed to just abscond and visit Fez, with its winding medieval market, but we won't have time. Those adventures will have to be another trip. (A North Africa tour? Morocco, Tunisia? I read about a great Roman villa recovered from the desert sands in Libya, and there are a dozen sites from the original Star Wars sets all around Tunisia!)

And I had hoped to get Brad and Diedre Lookingbill signed up for this trip because of our last couple days in Portugal. This has been one of Diedre's dream vacation spots for many years, and she was headed there, already in the air, everything great, on the morning of 9/11/2001...and she wound up diverted to Canada instead. And now she's about to have that second kid any minute. Ah. Maybe next time.

And there are things we probably won't get to see in Spain. I'm very excited about this new solar tower just outside Seville--http://http//www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/03/04/solucar.solar.farm/index.html --but haven't gotten any big enthusiasm for this short--short!--detour. (Likewise, for our next year's trip to France, I suggested we go have a tour of a French nuclear power plant. Stephanie was aghast at this proposed waste of time; Kim Major said something in French which my high school language teacher hadn't thought it appropriate to teach us; and Jim Earhart scrunched his face and said I would destroy the romance of the whole tour. I quickly backed away, offering up wine tours in Burgandy. Alas. Add on another cathedral, another postcard icon...).
[but just for basic info: http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/04/15/nuclear.powerstation/index.html ]

But everyone travels in a different way. Sometimes all of us travel with too narrow a focus. When we went to Egypt 3 years ago, we went to see the monuments of a culture 3000 years dead and didn't prepare to meet living Egypt--which is impoverished, struggling, desperate. There were the tourist police with submachine guns at every intersection, air in Cairo I could scarcely breathe, and the incessant beggars and salesmen.

But Spain--what will we find there? What story do we expect to hear?

later, bob
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1 Response
  1. Zac Says:

    May 6

    Hi Robert,
    I'm Liz the Tour director on the Spain & Portugal tour, I've just been looking at internet at the solar tower. It's about 30-40 minutes outside Seville in a field after Sanlucar la Mayor, we don't go in this direction as we head north from Seville to √Čvora. I'm not sure how much a taxi would cost to get there and back we would have to ask as I'm sure there's no public transport out there, I've written an email to the company to ask if it is possible to visit it and how. We have a busy day in Seville so we would need to see how to fit it in, probably in the afternoon. Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Regards.
    Liz


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