In April of 2009, I traveled along with 27 other students and 4 teachers from Elmont Memorial High School on an eight-hour flight to Madrid, Spain.
The first thing we did when we arrived, was get onto our tour bus and drive about two hours to our hotel, which was in the center of Madrid, Hotel Opera. Starting off our trip in Madrid was great because we were able to explore the Plaza Mayor and La Puerta Del Sol – shopping markets located in the center of Madrid. These seemed to be the most populated centers of the city, bustling with thousands of people daily.
The Reina Sofia was our next stop. This museum is home to many of Picasso’s famous paintings. It was rather exciting to have learned about this famous landmark, and then to go and visit it and experience it was even better.
My favorite city of all was Toledo – the city built within a mountain. It is separated into three sections: Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. This separation can be linked all the way back to the 16th century during the Spanish Reconquista. Toledo consists of the most beautiful view I have ever witnessed. A river that has great waterfalls surrounds the mountain; it’s gorgeous. One of the cathedrals is home to El Greco’s most famous painting “El Orgaz”. Having studied about the painting during my sophomore year, brought more excitement to the fact that I had prior knowledge of one of Spain’s pride and glory; I was honored to have viewed the original masterpiece in person.
In Cordoba there was this Mezquita (a mosque), which contained the most intricate designs. The ceilings were painted with beautiful angels and skies in very unique styles. The designs used for the columns and arches were distinctive to Spanish Jewish, Muslim, and Christian influence. We even walked to the very top of the mezquita- all thirty-two ramps and fifteen extra steps to observe the most beautiful view you could have ever seen.
Our journey ended in Costa del Sol, MÃ¡laga, a city right beside the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea. Shopping along the boardwalk was exhilarating; the boutiques contained the most beautiful jewelry. Traveling to Spain in total was a wonderful experience. I have always dreamed of traveling to Spain, and finally having that opportunity was mind blowing. I’m grateful that I was able to experience the Spanish culture firsthand. Spain is a beautiful country with a great history.
Every city in Spain has a different story to tell through its people, food, and architecture. I have so much more respect for the Spanish people and culture after my trip to Spain.
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