We got a chance to visit Italica, the first Roman city built outside of Italy. It was founded in 206 BC by Publius Cornelius Scipio during the Second Carthaginian War. It is about a 30 minute drive outside of Seville.
Eventually Italica became a resort city of sorts where the Roman upper crust maintained estates. What constitutes the upper crust has to be taken with a grain of salt though. The water was so foul that they mostly drank wine. All in all not a terrible idea, come to think of it.
For entertainment, the Romans built (actually their slaves built) an arena, similar to, but smaller in scale than Coliseum in Rome. The “entertainment” was similar though. Gladiators fought each other in the Arena. They also had fights between gladiators and bulls. (Lions were reserved for the Coliseum in Rome). Unlike modern times, the bulls tended to win these contests. However, the Romans were thoughtful enough to carve out a section of the arena where gladiators could pray before a fight.
Below are some photos taken during our guided tour of Italica, including ones taken in the Arena. One bit of Trivia about Italica—large sections of “Game of Thrones” were filmed there.
We have been living in Spain for about 2 weeks now, and we have developed our sea legs, so to speak. It’s been a busy few days. On Thursday we had a culture presentation on Spanish foods; on Friday it was Spanish cooking lessons (see the video below). Later on Friday we went to a Spanish ballet that included all sorts of music and dance, including flamenco dancing and music, complete with castanets.
Today, Saturday we took the train out to Cordoba, a truly beautiful city. That trip included a trip to the “Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba”. Formerly built as an Islamic Mosque when the Moors conquered sections of Andalusia, it is also known as the Mezquita and as the Great Mosque of Cordoba.
Later it was converted to a Catholic Cathedral when Andalusia was recaptured by Christians. It was then named the Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption. Lots of the architecture of Andalusia reflects the long periods during which the province was under Christian or Muslim rule. Some photos from our trips are below.
The weekend arrived, marking the start of our second week in Spain. Since we didn’t have any classes, we took a train ride of about an hour out to Jerez de La Frontera. Jerez is the famous for its Sherry as well as its flamenco dancers and musicians. The flamenco shows tend to start late—some start in the early morning hours—so we didn’t make any of them this time around.
We did get some photos of what turned out to be a charming and beautiful town. A few are below.
We made it and we are now settling in to our flat in Seville, where we will spend the next 6 weeks. We are in a (Spanish) language immersion program. Mary Anne is in the advanced class. Needless to say I am not. I am in the class with the other hopeless specimens.
But all is not lost. I learned how to order both red and white wine (vino tinto y vino blanco). So far so good.
Our 2 bedroom flat is in the old town section and is quite comfortable. That said there is a soccer match between Glasgow and Frankfurt scheduled for tonight and the place is teeming with fans. We are hoping to avoid a round of football hooliganism. We’ll see.
The city is very charming. I included a few photos taken in the neighborhood where we are staying. More on the way as we get settled in and get more familiar with the city.
We are finally getting back on the road. We recently gave Road Scholar a test spin with a trip to New Mexico. Our group leader, Scott Aarestad, whose photo is included below, did a great job of showing our group around—with the sites ranging from places in the city of Albuquerque to Taos to Los Alamos to hikes in Bandelier Monument. Bandelier is closed for the time being due to the horrific forest fires that are now raging in New Mexico.
Anyway, a couple of photos from our trip, including one of our terrific group leader are below. We will post more photos in the coming weeks. In the meantime we are leaving this afternoon for an extended trip to Seville, Spain. After we settle in, expect photos and comments on that trip.