“The most beautiful city ever”

As promised, here is a picture from Córdoba. This is one of its most famous patios.

We were not allowed to take pictures of the spectacular noctural visit of the Mezquita, therefore you will have to get the details from your sons and daughters, or come back to see it for yourself!
On Saturday morning the group headed to charming city of Seville. Several students said that it was the most beautiful city they had ever seen! We first visited the Alcázar, the oldest palace in Europe still used as an occasional royal residence. Though it was built by Christian kings, the Alcázar preserved the Arab architecture popular in Spain throughout the Middle Ages, which is characterized by a beautiful succession of fountains, arches, intricate wall carvings and bordered by lush gardens. More recently the Alcázar has been used as the palace of Dorne in the famous HBO series Game of Thrones (Juego de tronos).
Then we walked right next door and visited the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, famous for its unique architecture. It is also believed that Christopher Colombus is buried here. His tomb is carried by four larger than life statues.

The attached tower, called the Giralda, has ramps instead of stairs leading up to its bell tower so that it could be climbed on horseback. Everyone climbed to the top to take aerial pictures of Seville and to get a bird’s eye view of the Patio de narajas (Patio of Oranges) in the center of the cathedral.
Afterwards we had lunch at a delicious Italian restaurant. Then the students had free time to shop, soak up the culture, or go back to the hotel to relax in the pool. After dinner we went on a boat ride down the Guadalquivir River. We saw the Torre del Oro (the Tower of Gold that held the treasures Columbus brought back from the New World), the Cathedral and all the buildings from the World’s Fair. Needless to say, we had a blast!

Today after breakfast and checking out of the hotel, we went on walking tour of the Barrio de Santa Cruz, a district of narrow and winding pedestrian streets and quiet, hidden plazas dating back hundreds of years to Middle Ages, when Arabs, Jews, and Christians coexisted harmoniously in Spain. Our tour guide explained important sites, streets, statues and monuments. After lunch we took the bus and headed back home. Yes, we now call our homestay locations “home!” It’s hard to believe that we are already entering our last week here!