Wednesday, June 15, 2011


As on the Texas Tech campus, we have two summer sessions in Sevilla. For our study abroad engineering students, we organize a weekend excursion for each session and leave a four day weekend between sessions for the students to plan their own trips. The planned excursion for the first summer session was Madrid and we took that trip last weekend. The second session excursion will be to Granada.

Madrid has not been my favorite place in Spain. Sevilla is just a big town, like Lubbock. Madrid is a really big city with just under 6 million people. But what has made it particularly hard for me to be enthusiastic about Madrid is that two years ago, with our first group of engineering students, I was pickpocketed two times in three days on our excursion to Spain. Evidently, I had a big target on my back. This was our first trip back to Madrid since then and I definitely had mixed feelings about it. But, I am happy to report that I had no bad experiences and in fact, actually enjoyed the visit, as did all of the students.

The sights, sounds, AND food are overwhelming and too much to try describe. Instead, I'll just share some photo collections.

Travel from Savilla to Madrid was by a 6 hr bus trip. The buses here are very nice, the scenery was varied and beautiful, and the rest breaks at the "truck stops" are amazing. Here is a photo collection.

On the way to Madrid, we made a short stop in Toledo which has been known since the time of the Romans for the high quality swords and daggers that are produced there. We left Toledo much better armed than when we arrived. Here are some photos from Toledo.

We spent half of a day in the Prado but could easily have spent a week. We were not supposed to take pictures in the museum. I only have this one to give an idea of the space.

The Prado contains 12th through 19th century art. Contemporary art is shown in the Reina Sofia. Some of the work shown there was a little strange (from an engineers point of view). More photos here.

The economy in Spain is in relatively bad shape and there is a lot of discontent with the government leadership. We had seen some political protests in Sevilla and there was a camp of protesters in Madrid. More photos here.

Food is a very important part of life in Spain. The do it very well and it is not terribly expensive. A typical selection from a "Topas" bar is about the price of a good hamburger in Lubbock. And they are unusual - this octopus. More food pictures.

Everywhere you look in Madrid, the architecture is amazing. More pictures.

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