A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: pennyxinru

Semana Santa--10 days Holy week trip

Paris, France and Mallorca, Spain

How time flies. My life in Europe has come to an end but it doesn’t mean that it is the end of my adventures. I’m sorry that I didn’t continue my blog, life has been crazy since April. But anyway, I want to talk about all the trips at least a little bit.

Semana Santa, Holy week—Paris and Mallorca


I took a bus from Oviedo to Paris on the 16th, which took me 18 hours. The morning of 17th, I finally arrived in The City of Light and I was ready to start this exciting vacation.

Arc of Triumph
Eiffel Tower
Cruise on Lake Seine

Musuem of O’Orangiere
Bt Lake Seine
Catedral of Notre Dame

Musuem of Orsay

Opera House

the Louvre
Opera House

Oh, today we basically walked for 12hours, 5 hours in the Louvre, my feet were swollen by the end of the day. ☹


I like Paris, I like all the architecture but French are cold. Well, that’s what everyone says. I think the younger generation is open enough but the older generation is very typical French. The moment I left Paris, I thought i didn't like it very much. But after watching Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, I realized that I do like Paris, just not the modern one but the one of 1920's . The fashion at that time matches the city perfectly.
Leaving Paris I headed to Madrid, again by bus, to catch the flight to Mallorca.


Mallorca is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the Balearic Islands. The island was occupied by the Romans in 123 BC. The Mallorca of late April didn’t give us what we expected--sunshine, so what did we do? Chasing buses, trespass on an ancient Romain ruins, chasing peacock, running in the rain, happened to attend a mass on Easter, visited Chopin’s vacation house, took pictures without permission and staying up till 5am talking and all kinds of rebellious activities.
As soon as we got there, we realized that this island is very touristy and being here is just like being in England--most people on vacation here are from England. So it's hard to see American and Asian, but our vacation group has it both. :)

Bellevue Club—our apartment
This old town has a 14th century wall and there is also a small Roman theater. So in terms of this Roman theater, we basically trespassed on it. We ran into a very nice local and he told us where the theater is. The place was closed then he helped us climbed over the wall and get into the Roman theater. But we were kicked out by a staff once they found us.
Easter Procession

Valdemossa—a village in Mallorca
In the 1830s the Spanish government confiscated monasteries, and the historic estate was sold to private owners, who have since hosted some prominent guests. These have included the Polish composer Frederic Chopin and the French writer and pioneering feminist George Sand, later the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío, Jorge Luis Borges.

Palma de Mallorca

4/24 is Easter, and we decided to go in the city and see the cathedral. But too bad it was raining heavily and we had a hard time on finding transportation. Glad every time we made it to catch the last bus home. ☺

Porto Cristo
Cuava del Drach-Drach Cave (El Verdugo)

The reason that we decided to see the cave not only is that it is a famous tourist site, but also for Michelle and I is in honor of a movie that we learned in our Spanish Cinema class—El Verdugo. It was exciting to be in the cave and recognize the exact same scene where Jose Luis and his wife were at. We were not allowed to take pictures, but we managed to do it anyways. ☺
We also wandered around Porto Cristo and we happened to find a peacock so we followed him. When we decided to leave, he just opened up his feather as if trying to get our attention again! So we just continued following him and captured some great pictures.

Last night of my vacation or last night in Mallorca we went to a restaurant that has karaoke and we ordered Lovefool by The Cardigans as the end of our trip.

Posted by pennyxinru 20:41 Archived in France Tagged paris spain mallorca Comments (0)

Cultural Trip Day 6 & 7

Fuentevaqueros & Toledo

sunny 20 °C



• Casa Museo Federico Garcia Lorca

Today we spent most of the time on the road, the only thing we visited was the house in a small town called Fuentevaqueros not far away from Granada that Federico Garcia Lorca lived during his childhood. I don’t remember that I’ve studied Lorca’s work but after this trip I’m pretty sure I would like his work. The theme of the exibition that we visited was New York. I read his poem A City Without Sleep and I loved it! I didn’t know much about his poems but now I want to read more.

Ciudad sin sueño (partial)
Federico Garcia Lorca

No duerme nadie por el cielo. Nadie, nadie.

No duerme nadie.

Las criaturas de la luna huelen y rondan sus cabañas.

Vendrán las iguanas vivas a morder a los hombres que no sueñan

y el que huye con el corazón roto encontrará por las esquinas

al increíble cocodrilo quieto bajo la tierna protesta de los astros.

No duerme nadie por el mundo. Nadie, nadie.

No duerme nadie.

Hay un muerto en el cementerio más lejano

que se queja tres años

porque tiene un paisaje seco en la rodilla;

y el niño que enterraron esta mañana lloraba tanto

que hubo necesidad de llamar a los perros para que callase.

No es sueño la vida. ¡Alerta! ¡Alerta! ¡Alerta!

Nos caemos por las escaleras para comer la tierra húmeda

o subimos al filo de la nieve con el coro de las dalias muertas.

Pero no hay olvido, ni sueño:

carne viva. Los besos atan las bocas

en una maraña de venas recientes

y al que le duele su dolor le dolerá sin descanso

y al que teme la muerte la llevará sobre sus hombros.

Out in the sky no-one sleeps. No-one. No-one.

No-one sleeps.

The moon’s creatures sniff out and encircle their digs.

Live iguanas will come bite the sleepless
whoever flees with a broken heart will find in the street corners

the astounding still crocodile lying beneath the tender protest of the stars.

Out in the world no-one sleeps. No-one. No-one.

No-one sleeps.

There’s a dead man in the furthermost graveyard

complaining three good years

of the dry landscape of his knee;

and the child they buried this morning cried so much

they had to call the dogs to shut him up.

Life’s no dream. Lookout! Lookout! Lookout!

We fall down the stairs to cop a mouthful of dank dirt

or go up the sharp edge of the snow with a chorus of dead dahlias.
But there’s no escape or dream:

live flesh. Kisses bind mouths
in a tangle of new vein
and whoever aches, aches without rest

and whoever fears death will carry it on their shoulders.



• Puente de San Martín--San Martin Bridge
• Rio Tajo--Tajo River
• Plaza Zocodover—Principal plaza
• Iglesia San Roman--San Roman Church
• Barrio Judio—Jewish neighborhood
• Museo de Santo Tomé-- Santo Tome Museum ( In the Church of Santo Tome)

Sorry that I posted this very late. I actually never had a chance to finish this up. Also I almost forgot most part of this trip. ☹ Hmm, maybe not I just need to think. We went to a couple of different places, I still remember San Roman church, it was built on an old mosque. I didn’t know that in Toledo there used to be 3 different religions---Catholic, Islam and Judaism. We went into an old Jewish house, and it was interesting to see the old Jewish neighborhood. In the Church of Santo Tomé, there is The Burial of Count Orgaz, one of El Greco’s great masterpieces. I remember that we talked a lot about it during my art class. It was just exciting to actually see the stuff that I’ve learned in class. It does mean something to me.
So you know Toledo is very famous for it’s steel and the swords that Spanish soldiers used during the battles were all made in Toledo.
We stayed in Paradores, a hotel chain that uses all historical buildings as their hotels. It was far from the city center, the old city but it was cool. It is on the mountain so we can see the old Toledo clearly, like the cathedral and the palace.
This city worths a visit!

The Burial of Count Orgaz
Entierro del Conde de Orgaz.jpg

Overview of Toledo

Thanks for reading all of this and please forgive my super delay. Life has been busy, just like always haha. I realized that I wrote too much on my blog, I mean too detailed which took me a lot of time. I actually did more trips recently but I am too lazy to write them all in details. I feel that I would spoil your future trip( I mean if you are going to the places that I've been to) if I tell you too much. :) I promise I'll continue writing my blogs, well I need to give you all updates but from now on it won't be that detailed. In the past 1-2 months, I've been to Paris, Mallorca Spain, Berlin, Poland and Amsterdam. So please look forward the updates! It'll be good.

Posted by pennyxinru 15:03 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Cultural Trip Day 4 & 5

Córdoba and Granada

sunny 18 °C



• Puente Romano (Roman Bridge)
• La Mezquita—the Mosque (“La Mezquita” the cathedral of Córdoba)
• Calle de las flores (Street of the flowers)

Today we left Sevilla for Córdoba; we only stayed in this city for a couple of hours then headed to Granada. Córdoba is also a city in Andalusia, southern Spain. In the Middle Ages it was capital of an Islamic caliphate. It has been estimated that in the 10th century and beginning of the 11th century, Córdoba was the most populous city in the world, and during these centuries became the intellectual center of Europe. The city is located on the banks of the Guadalquivir river (remember the river I saw in Sevilla?).
Our bus driver dropped us off at the other side of La Mezquita—our first tour, so we had to walk across the Roman Bridge. This bridge was built in 1st century B.C. crosses Guadalquivir River. Then we got to the other side and we were so ready to see the Mosque-Cathedral. The site was originally a pagan temple, then a Visigothic Christian church before the Umayyad Moors at first converted the building into a mosque and then built a new mosque on the site. After the Spanish Reconquista, it once again became a Roman Catholic Church, with a plateresque cathedral later inserted into the center of the large Moorish building. The original part was started in 785 and finished in 997. Usually a cathedral doesn’t have mihrab, but La Mezquita is the only one that has mihrab inside. The music chapel in this cathedral can hold 150 people, it’s carved by only one man working 11years nonstop. In the old time, people usually lived for 40 years, but this guy lived for 80 years and didn’t die until he finished this music chapel. The columns in la Mezquita are second-hand, they are salvaged Roman and Visigothic columns.

Roman Bridge and the Mosque cathedral


Music Chapel


Then we walked through Calle de las Flores, it’s one of the most popular and tourist streets. The streets in Cordoba are usually very narrow and with tall building (considered “tall’ in the old days). This is because Cordoba is a southern city; it’s very hot in the summer. Narrow streets and tall building help lower temperature and form more shade. Every family has a patio and it is for illumination. The façade of house doesn’t really have anything so you can’t tell anything about the family that lives there. You have to enter; all the good stuff is inside.

Calle de las Flores

80% of the roman city wall in Cordoba has been destroyed. There used to be 20 city door but now there are only 4 left. Our tour guide said this is because in the 19th centry, there was a crazy idea existing in Europe—in order to progress, they have to abandon old things for new things.



• Generalife
• La Alhambra
• Albaicín

Today is the day that we had to get up earlier than any other day of the trip. Talking about Granada, I’m sure everybody will think of La Alhambra. Granada is placed at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of three rivers, Beiro, Darro and Genil, at an elevation of 738 meters above sea level yet only one hour from the Mediterranean coast. In the year of 711, people from North Africa (Moors) occupied large parts of the Iberian Peninsula establishing the Al-Andalus (Moorish Spain). Till 1492, Granada has been under the Moors for 800 years.
Our tour started in Generalife, a garden area attached to the Alhambra which became in place of recreation and rest of the Granadan Muslim kings when they wanted to flee the official life of the Palace. I feel that it is more like a summer residence. The plants in Generalife are in pots so people can move them according to how they want to decorate the garden.


After Generalife we entered Al-hambra, a Nasrid “Palace city” In Arabic Al-hambra means red. There are two reasons that why this city is named “red”. The soil of Al-hambra is red and the people that participated in the construction have red hair. There are 7 palaces and 4 doors in Al-hambra. There is one door that is called puerta de los siete suelos is closed forever. We can see it from the inside but not outside, a wall has been built to block it. This door is to honor the last sultan Emir Muhammad XII or Boabdil who walked out of his palace from it. He handed over Al-hambra to The Catholic Monarchs peacefully after his wife dead and it is said that he died very poorly. Then we visited different palaces Hall of the Abencerrajes, palace of justice; Hall of the Ambassador, palace of politics where Sultan hosts meetings. Court of the Lions is the private palace of Sultan where all the women live. In the center of the court is the Fountain of Lions, an alabaster basin supported by the figures of twelve lions in white marble. Unfortunately the fountain was not in the court but inside a room because of conservation. A fountain in the yard an Arabic house is equivalent to air-conditioner; it’s a symbol of wealth in mussulman community.


Puera de los siete suelos

Court of the Lions

We were also told that Washington Irving lived in Al-hambra in 1829. There are a lot of interesting things in Al-hambra especially the massage room, shower room for the women. Arabic women have started shaving a long long time ago, back then they use sugar to shave.
In Al-hambra there is Palace of Carlos V, it looks like a square from outside but it is a circle inside which copied Da Vinci’s Man in the Manner of Vitruvius.

After Al-hambra our professor Jose took us to Albaicin, a district of present day Granada that retains the narrow winding streets of its Medieval Moorish past. We could see the whole neighborhood when we were in Al-hambra also we got a great view of Al-hambra from Albaicin. So there is one thing that means very special for me in terms of Granada. I went to Granada, Nicaragua 2 years ago and bought a shirt there, that was what I wore when we visited Granada Spain. So at a viewpoint in Albaicin I made my friend take a picture of me wearing the shirt from Granada, Nicaragua with the background of Al-hambra Granada Spain. That just means very different to me.

Albaicin from Al-hambra
The shirt in Granada Spain

The traditional type of housing is the Carmen granadino, consisting of a free house surrounded by a high wall that separates it from the street and includes a small orchard of garden. At the very beginning our tour guide explained to us why it is called Carmen—it comes from Arabic Karm which means coming. Remember all the Moors immigrated from North Africa?! All the houses in Albacin start with Carmen del “family last name”. There are a lot of souvenir shops in Albaicin and that’s where everyone got their goodies, lots of stuff in Arabic style.

The "Carmen"

Cordoba and Granada have really given me a complete different side of Spain, and I find the history of Spain is very interesting. These two cities for me were the peak of this cultural trip.

Posted by pennyxinru 13:57 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Cultural Trip Day 3

Sevilla or Seville



• Real Alcázar
• Jardín del Cenador de la Alcoba
• Plaza de España
• The Cathedral and La Giralda

On the 19th, we headed to Sevilla right after Mérida and got to the city at night. Sevilla is the artistic, cultural, and financial capital of southern Spain. It is the capital of Andalusia and where Flamenco originated. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir, the second longest river in Spain. Sevilla is more than 2,000 years old. Although it has a strong medieval, renaissance and baroque heritage, the city received heavy influences from Arabic culture. After the conquest of Sevilla by the Moors, Sevilla was taken by the Muslims in 712. The Moorih aesthetic and urban influences continued and are very present in contemporary Sevilla. The Cathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We started our day in Real Alcázar, it is a royal palace now but originally a Moorish fort. The style of this architecture is called Mudéjar—Muslims who remained in Christian territory. Inside Alcázar there is a wall that was built by the Romans which separates the patio of León and the patio of Montería. We walked into this palace and clearly could tell the influence of Muslims; the bricks, the Arabic characters and the “horseshoe”. We went into Salón de Embajadores (the salon of ambassadors), the ceiling of this room is made from gold. Then we got to Palacio mudéjar o de Pedro I, which was built by King Pedro I between 1356 and 1366. This palace served as a private building for King Pedro. It sits around patio de las Doncellas. Patio de las Doncellas, the main patio, is a masterpiece in Andalusia mudejar arte. According to my picture, we went to Palacio Gótico (Gothic), it was built in the order of King Alfonso in 1254. It has a chapel, Sala de lost apices and Sala Gótica. It’s interesting to see the whole palace because it looks so mussulman but it was built with the idea of Christianity. Mudejar only exists in Spain. It’s been a long time since the trip, I can’t think of anymore......

Real Alcázar

The ceiling of Salón de Embajadores

Patio de las Doncellas

Palacio Gótico

Alcázar also has lots of parks; they are all together but just with different names. It was pretty nice to spend sometime there after the tour. We enjoyed the sun and flowers very much. We found a lot of orange trees here and some of us wondered what people are doing with these oranges and wondered whether they are edible. Well, Travis was adventurous enough to try it but he only had one bite and had to throw up... According to his face, it was not delicious. There is a big pool with fish and ducks in it. Someone threw some bread into the pool and all of a sudden all the fish came up and fight with the ducks for the bread..... I was shocked by it. Our professor actually studied in University of Sevilla, and his sister lives here now. His sister joined our tour as well. I’m glad he got to hang out with his family.

Just enjoying

The oranges!!!
This is Travis after trying the orange

The fish and the ducks

A coupe of us managed to get to Plaza de España without a map and Plaza de España might be my favorite part of this city. It’s situated in Maria Luisa Park and it is a landmark example of the Renaissance Revival style in Spanish architecture. It’s a huge half-circle with buildings continually running around the edge accessible over the moat by numerous beautiful bridges. In the center is a large fountain. By the walls of the Plaza are many tiled alcoves, each representing a different province of Spain. I love how colorful and symmetric it is. It was really hot in Sevilla around noon, we had lunch in Maria Luisa Park and headed back to where we were this morning but to see another historical architecture—Sevilla Cathedral.

in Maria Luisa Park with the "Ladies"

Plaza de España


Sevilla Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral and the third-largest church in the world. It was built on an old mosque and it serves as the burial site of Christopher Columbus. Since it was built on an old mosque it definitely has some characteristics of the Muslims. We saw the “horseshoe” arch and the pointed arch next to each other. The tower “La Giralda” of this cathedral was converted from a former minaret. The tower is 343 ft in height and it was one of the most important symbols in the medieval city. Numerous replicas of the tower have been built in the United States, there was one in New York City but was destroyed and another in Kansas City. The clock tower of the Ferry Building in San Francisco is also based on La Giralda. A lot of us went up the tower; the view was great, you can see the whole city and try to recognize all the historical buildings by walking to 4 different sides of the tower.

Different parts of the church

Christopher Columbus--4 kings of Spain carry his tomb.

View from the Tower

After that, Tina, Tyler, Katie, Kelsey and I decided to go to Puerta de Jerez. Tina is Tyler’s good friend and she is from Sevilla. I’m so glad we had Tina—our walking map. So we were warned to be careful with the birds because there are too many of them and we might get pooped anytime. Well, sure enough dear Tyler got pooped on when we were on the way to the river. The river was nice too; I guess it would be prettier at night. We then decided to walk back to the hotel, and it was quite a walk. But on the way we saw this cool old roman wall and took some pictures.


River Guadalquivir

Roman Wall

So then on the way home Kelsey and I decided to order pepperoni pizza, hmm it had been a long time since I had pizza the last time. I bet the pizza we had in Sevilla was the first one that I ordered and sort of like American pizza. What funny is that there is a Burger King (they are popular in Spain) right across the street from our hotel and some of us went there for food a couple of times. Then our professor found out and Burger King is prohibited since then. Haha.

Posted by pennyxinru 16:55 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Cultural Trip Day 2

Cáceres and Mérida--World Heritage City

sunny 20 °C



• Plaza Mayor
• Torre del Bujaco (Tower of Bujaco)
• Arco de la Estrella (Star’s Arch)
• Palacio (Palace) Episcopal
• Palacio de Carvajal
• Plaza Santa Maria
• Fundación Mercedes Calles Carlos Ballestero
• Iglesia de San Francisco Javier (San Francisco Javier Church)
• Centro de divulgación (revelation) SEMANA SANTA( Holy Week) de Cáceres


• Teatro y Anfiteatro Romanos (Roman Theather and Amphitheater)
• Museo de Arte Romano (Roman Art Museum)

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I wrote my last entry. Sorry about that, but finally I’m done with all the midterms and papers for now.

As you can see, this day gotta be the second day of our cultural trip. We visited two cities, Cáceres and Mérida. They are not big but they both are World Heritage Cities.
Caceres has a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance architecture. Thirty towers from the Muslim period still stand in Cacres, of which the Torre del Bujaco is the most famous. Our tour started at Plaza Mayor. Back in the old days, the Plaza Mayor now didn’t exist it was the market outside the city. We stood under Arco de la Estrella (Star’s Arch) which was the city gate. On top of the gate is the city escudo, the star meant to protect people come back home safely. If you look into the picture you can find that the gate is oblique. Arco de la Estrella was built in the 18th century over a 15th century construction. It is oblique so that it is easy for carriages to enter in the city and turn left. Then we arrived at Plaza Santa Maria, the main square or plaza of the city. Here we saw Palacio Episcopal, which was built in 1261, the mid-point arch was added to the façade in 1587. Then we went into another palace, which is called Palacio de Carvajal. The façade of this palace doesn’t have anything, very simple. And the windows are very small too. This palace is a typical old roman house; it has patio, garden and well in the middle. It is about 500 years old. Continued walking we arrived at a house-museum, which belonged to Ms. Mercedes Calles Martín Pedrilla, but now it, belongs to Mercedes Calles-Carlos Ballestero foundation. They said that Ms. Mercedes Calles Martín Pedrilla bought this house but she had never lived there. She was a world traveler and she liked to collect things from different countries so this house is the museum that keeps all her collections. Not far from the house is San Francisco Javier Church, built in 18th century. It was a Jesuit church for 12 years, and now it’s just a church but it’s not for any religion anymore. The Holy Week revelation center is located in the crypt of San Francisco Javier Church. Cáceres is an old city, and our tour was very informational. We had to take notes because we would have an exam after this 9-day trip on all the cities we visited.

Torre del Bujaco

Plaza Mayor, but it was under construction

Star's Arch

San Francisco Javier Church

Doña Mercedes Calles Martín Pedrilla (that could be future me, another world traveler)

Centro de Divulgación SEMANA SANTA de Cáceres

After Cáceres we headed to Mérida that is just 2 hours away. Mérida is famous for it’s Roman Theater and Amphitheater. We have talked about Roman Art in my art class, so I was excited to see the architecture. They were built by Greek, when the Romans took over the city they also used them. I was just amazed by these masterpieces that built by people from thousands of year ago. The Roman Theater was constructed in the years 16 and 15 BC. It is really big, Raeanne and Kelsey actually went on the “stage” and sang for us. The Amphitheater was built in 25BC, it was where the gladiators fight with the animals. The theater and amphitheater are connected to each other. The movie Gladiator was actually shot here. Then we went to the Roman Art Museum. There are way too many sculptures. One about the Roman sculpture is that the head and body are not connected. Well the reason that they had the sculpture is that they needed to know who their leaders were. Of course 16BC did not have cameras, so they just changed the head when the leaders changed instead of changing the whole body. See, that made their life a lot easier. There is also a lot of Mosaic in this museum.
There is a lot a lot to say if I want to get deep into Mérida, it just has so much cultural background. But I’m going to stop here, I will leave the rest for you to explore. ☺ ☺

Roman Theater

Raeanne and Kelsey's performance haha


Roman Sculpture

By the way, I uploaded all my pictures I just haven’t added any captions yet.

Posted by pennyxinru 16:27 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

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