Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Travel Study-Spain

Vol State student Karen Yates just returned from a travel study trip to Spain:

I loved my study abroad learning experience and I am living proof that you can learn and enjoy at any age! Here I am standing in the back of the Royal Palace of La Granja. It is beautifully surrounded by the Guadarrama mountains. This palace was once the royal palace of Philip V. It has splendid baroque architecture as well as magnificent gardens. Additionally, there are hundreds of tapestries to view. The art of tapestry is just remarkable.

This palace is located in Segovia, Spain where my study program took place.

In addition to the numerous cities I visited I had the privilege of seeing numerous museums, some of which held Picasso's, Diego's and El Greco's most famous painting, "The Burial of the Count of Orgaz (1568-1588) which is painted on oil/canvas. It stands 480 x 360 cm and was painted for his own parish, Santa Tome' in Toledo, Spain. The story is that the Count was quite a nobleman during the 14th century. He is buried there. When the parish priests initiated the project to refurbish the Count's burial chapel, they also commissioned El Greco. This painting became El Greco's masterpiece.

Toledo is a very romantic city to visit. Acero steel is manufactured here and any history buff would know this is where the suits of armor where produced. The museums showed how they knights began training as children in their armor. 50 kilos per suit! Plus the horses had to wear armor as well.

I also visited the University of Salamanca, which is the 3rd oldest university in the world and is still operational. They are known for their college of literature.

The Alcazar palace in Segovia, one of the many palaces of interest as well. Here is just one of the palaces that Columbus came to ask for money and ships to sail to Cathay (China), but ended up discovering the America's! It is within walking distance. History is everywhere in Spain. I walked past the Roman Aqueducts (built in the 1st century) everyday on my way to school. They stand 900 and is approximately 2950 feet long. This was made out of granite blocks joined together without mortar! The symmetry is amazing. Ancient Romans were such fabulous engineers. These aqueducts transported water from the Fuente Fria river.

Aside from Spain's history, the landscape is beautiful. It is the chance of a lifetime to study abroad. You only have one life, so make sure you are penning the page to your book everyday as you want it to read.

-Karen Yates

Volunteer State Community College

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