Our first trip took us to the Mahou factory, obligatory for my Business Spanish class. Only about 20 minutes from the school, it was a short trip. We toured the factory, which included a visit to their NASA-like headquarters and a Disney worthy recreation of an old stable where they explained the making of cerveza. We walked through the bottling plant with huge conveyor belts and swirling systems, and then finished at the bar. It was filled with tapas of all kinds and we were all invited to try the free beer. Sibley and I opted for the smaller glasses, meant for tasting, and then we split a Shandy Mixta (which is basically soda). I didn’t like the beer at all, but Sibley thought it was alright. The atmosphere was fun and the tapas were delicious.
The next day we went to the Museo del Prado and Museo de la Reina Sofia, both in Madrid. It was a long day, with LOTS of art, but was still really neat. Antonio, my art professor, gave us a guided tour of the Prado, complete with a little microphone that played into these telephone-looking devices so that we could be quite in the museum. However, we were still shushed when Antonio told a joke and caused us all to laugh. The Reina Sofia, home of the Guernica, was a completely different style than the Prado, with art that was more modern and abstract. We were given free rein to explore but were still given guided introductions to a few key figures such as the photographer Robert Capa.
Then there was Thanksgiving, stuck right in the middle of our adventures. We decided to make pancakes, a UCF specialty of ours. Before we started though, we called up our family back in Florida and Skyped with them on the computer. This year, our grandmother’s house was filled with 28 people! It was bigger than ever before, and we missed it! Still, we got round after round of people waving hello to us on the computer.
Finally, the week ended with Cuenca. It is a beautiful medieval city built on an island between two rivers, making it easily defended against the Moors. The problem, though, was that then they couldn’t expand. So, they began building 14th century skyscrapers, expanding upwards. Our trip started with a steep uphill climb and then a scary walk across a 20th century bridge. We then toured the Cathedral, which was decorated with beautiful stained glass, barroque chapels, and a Neo-gothic facade. Our school guided tour then finished with the Abstract Art Museum, exhibiting works of Fernando Zóbel and Eusebio Sempere. After exploring of the city and tasting some local pastries, we walked back to the bus and headed home to Alcalá, ready for a relaxing weekend.