Monday, June 22, 2009

¡Hola de Espana!

Things have been busy here during our first week in Spain, to the point where we could barely find time to use an internet café during business hours! We are now in Granada, where our hostel has wireless internet, so we have finally found a few spare moments to update you on our progress.

To back track a bit, we (Megan and Davin) met the group on Wednesday on a pleasantly overcast day (which disguised just how hot and sunny Spain can be during the summer). We immediately set about getting the group oriented to Madrid, and for the next two days we explored as much of it as we could. We visited the Parque de Buen Retiro, where we had a fun and fruitful orientation in the midst of a screaming pack of schoolchildren playing a Spanish version of Red Rover and another group engaged in a waterfight that we were secretly envious of! Later that day we checked out the Museo de Reina Sofia, where we saw some of the masters of modern art like Dali and Picasso, and where everyone the chance to see one of the world’s great artistic masterpieces, La Guernica.

Afterwards the students got to practice their night photography skills in the nearby square and at the Atocha train station. Many of them were able to get some pretty amazing photos of the lights of the traffic in front of the fountain at the center of the roundabout. It was a full first full day!

Since then, we have had the opportunity to see the Museo del Prado -- one of the world’s great art museums-- with our wonderful guide Ana, who was able to share the hidden marvels of various artistic masterpieces and the techniques that artists used to show depth and point of view. She even showed us how to look at Velazquez’s Las Meninas through a mirror in order to see how the artist viewed the painting during its creation. Afterwards we split into groups, and some of us visited the royal palace while others checked out one of soccer’s sacred grounds, el Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, home of Real Madrid, the self-proclaimed greatest team of the 20th Century! Still others took in a photo exhibit of Dorothea Lange and Annie Leibowitz.

After our first days in Madrid we took a day trip to Toledo and then headed off via train to southern Spain (Andalucía) and the city of Granada, where we are now. Yesterday, we met up with Tino Soriano, the National Geographic photographer and expert who will be with us for much of our stay in Granada. After we introduced ourselves to Tino, we started right in on our photography lessons.

That's all for now!

Hasta pronto,

Davin, Megan, and NGSE Spain Memorial High