Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Art, Beer, Pancakes, and Skyscrapers

        During the past week, we went on 3 school trips, one to the Mahou beer factory, one to the Prado and Reina Sofia, and one to the city of Cuenca. Wow! Plus, we squeezed in Thanksgiving where we cooked brinner (breakfast for dinner) for our host family and made rice krispy treats with our friend Rali. It was a busy and fun week!
 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.  


  1. When you saw Picasso's Guernica in person I wondered if the museum related the story of the famous encounter on opening night of the Paris show.

    The Spainish Civil War occured in the years between W.W. I and W.W. II. After the NAZI's came to power in Germany in 1933 Hitler threw his support behind Franco's Fascists. As the civil war dragged on the Luffwaffe (German air force) and Mussolini's Italian Air Force carpet bombed the town of Guenica in the heart of Basque country--a stronghold of the anti-Fascist/Franco forces.
    Picasso's work premiered at the Paris Exhibition of 1937. The great artist was in attendance as were high ranking NAZI officers.
    In 1937 Picasso was still relatively unknown outside the art collecting world so he was able to walk around the exhibition with relative anonymity.
    At one point Picasso found himself standing in front of Guernica next to a NAZI officer. The officer, being more educated and sohphisticated than the average NAZI, thought he recognized Picasso. As a way to break the conversational ice, the German officer turned to Picasson and said:
    "Did you do this?"
    Picasso's promptly quiped:
    "No sir, YOU DID THAT!"

  2. The staff of Hoke Library wish to know the chronological order of the photographs. Specifically, did you consume mass quantities of brew at the BEER PLANT and then jump off the wall--OR--did you jump off the wall into a large vat of BEER?

  3. Haha, we didn't know that story! Our professor Carlos told us all about the different symbolic references in the paintings such as the dead dove and the countries looking in from the outside.

    As far as jumping off of the wall...it was super scary! On 2 of the 3 sides the little overlook that we were at, the wall dropped off over a cliff. So, I initially didn't want any part in jumping on a wall. However, the side that we were jumping on wasn't a long drop, so if we fell we would have survived! :)And while we didn't jump into a large vat of beer while we were at the Mahou factory, we did watch a movie inside of one!