Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Spain Pictures!

Sorry there are so many of them, but it was a long trip with lots of sights. Enjoy!

Eid 2009 - Espana!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Spain trip

Hi everyone, I know it's been far to long since I updated the blog... but we've been busy!  I started my new job about 2 months ago and have been trying hard to get everything figured out and organized in the labs. I'm enjoying working and it's interesting to work in such a different place where things are not as easy as they are in the States.  It can be frustrating, but will be totally worth it once everything is organized.  I'm really getting in on the ground level here as the labs are going to expand by about 5 times over the next couple of years.

On to our recent adventures.  We just got back last night from a trip to Espana!  It was a blast... running around southern Spain and eating more food than I knew I could handle.  I haven't had a chance to process all the pictures we took (400-500) but once I do, I'll be sure to post them.  I'm also going to post pictures we've taken over the last couple of months since I last updated the blog.

We flew into Madrid November 25th early in the morning and hopped on the train to Toledo right away.  We spent 2 days there and got our bearings being in another country.  Our first impression was how different it was from Doha!  There were clouds, cold, rain, and (shocker!) hills!  We were both very sore after walking for 2 days in Toledo because of the hills.  Like I said before, we pretty much ate our way through Spain, enjoying tapas, wine, beer, and jamon (Spanish version of prosciutto).  Unfortunately, I started to come down with a cold that hung around most of the trip, so we didn't see quite as much as we probably could have since we ended up utilizing the siesta to try and feel better.  Luckily it worked and by about half way through the trip, I was feeling better.  Rachel however caught my cold and is only just now starting to feel better.  We enjoyed our first Thanksgiving together in a different country without our families, which was strange but exciting at the same time.  We had dinner at a very nice restaurant near the church where we ate dried venison, quail, and cod.  Maybe the first pilgrims at something similar, but it probably wasn't as tasty as ours was!

After Toledo we took the train to Granada, a completely different city that Toledo.  Where Toledo felt like a small old town, Granada was a bustling new age hippie town with interesting back street tea rooms and lively bars.  Again we enjoyed tapas and wine.  We also went to the Alhambra, the last great Moorish fortress in Spain which was lost by the Moors in 1492 to Isabel and Ferdinand.  It's also where Columbus convinced the King and Queen to back his trip to the New World.  It was very eerie to stand in the same place that Columbus did so many years ago.  The entire place was alive with history and it was very cool to be there.

From Granada we traveled to Sevilla.  Sevilla was probably our favorite city as the town was so much not only for the sites we saw but the food and people!  We really enjoyed our selves in Sevilla, finally getting into the Spanish way of a late morning snack, mid afternoon lunch and siesta and a late night dinner.  We went to the Bullfighting museum which was extremely interesting.  It may be a brutal "sport" but the Spanish really revere the bull and don't relish in the pain of the bull, but it's courage and fight.  We spent lots of time wandering the streets and visiting some of the other sites, the Cathedral was extremely beautiful and enormous!  It is listed as the largest Church in the world since Saint Peters and Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil are Basilicas.  In any case, it's big.

Cordoba was up after Sevilla.  It was really nice to spend time in Cordoba even though there isn't much to do there besides see the Mezquita, the large former mosque with a cathedral built in it.  It was nice to have some relaxing time together with Rachel and not feel rushed.  Again we enjoyed wandering around town, especially the old Jewish quarter which was a maze of small streets with lots of tacky shops interspersed with home town artisan shops.

Finally we arrived in Madrid.  The big city has done a lot to revive it's small historic core.  They have pedestrianized many of the streets in the historic district, bringing out lots more people.  It was a busy two days as we toured the modern art museum, Prado Art Museum, and the Royal Palace all in about a day and a half.  Lots of walking but lots of beautiful art to be seen.

Well that's it for the brief overview of our trip.  I plan on putting good descriptions on the pictures to supplement this post, but that will have to wait until I get the pictures uploaded!

So I've been bad...

...about keeping this blog up to date... I've got some posts coming I swear! I'll also have a bunch of pictures to post from the last month and our trip to Spain that we just returned from.

Also, we'll be back in the States December 17th! If you're in the Chapel Hill-Durham-Raleigh area around then let me know!