Our coursebook – Language Leader, Upper Intermediate by Ian Lebeau and Gareth Rees, Pearson Longman – offers an interesting reading on trips under the form of “Travel Blog”. I suggested to the students of the 2nd Linguistic Lyceum, to write a post for our Blog on trips they have undertaken. The very first one to reach my mailbox is by Belen De Bacco, an excellent example of an entry for a “Travel Blog”. She gives interesting information on the sites she visited to the point that we wish we could go there soon.
Since she talks of bullfighting, I would also like to remind my students to read the impressive The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, novel written in 1926 about a group of American and British expats who traveled from Paris to the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona to watch the famous “running of the bulls” [believe it or not, many of my university mates – although warmly advised otherwise – took part in it!], and the bullfights. It is a book that allows you to get into contact with the innermost spirit of the Spaniards, and since Spanish is on our school curriculum, I dearly advise my students to put this book on their summer reading list.
© Anny Ballardini
Málaga, Granada and Ronda (Andalusia, Spain)
The first day we arrived at the airport of Málaga in the morning. Our hotel, Alameda Principal, was on the main street. In the afternoon we visited the city center and the harbor. Málaga is in the south of Spain and it is a combination of land and sea. It is situated on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean sea. It is the second most inhabited city of Andalusia, one of the oldest European cities. Málaga will be the 2016 European Capital of Culture. It has an average annual temperature of around 20°C and 300 days of sunshine a year.
We walked down the shopping street, Calle de los Larios, and to the main square, Plaza de la Constitución. Then we visited the heart of the city: the cathedral. in its Baroque and Renaissance style, La Manquita (in English “The One-Armed Lady”), because first it was a mosque and then, when it changed into a church, they couldn’t finish the bell tower.
We didn’t have time but it would have been very interesting to visit the bishopric museum. It is very interesting from an architectonic point of view, and it contains many objects related to the Catholic religion in Málaga and Andalusia.
We went to Plaza de la Merced to see the house in which Pablo Picasso was born. He was a famous painter, the creator of the Cubist movement. His house has four floors and it is a typical Spanish house of the bourgeoisie of the XIX century. There are many photos, documents, and personal objects of the Picasso family. We also saw the museum of Picasso with many of his paintings in 11 rooms.
We took a walk through the city by night. It is a lively city at night and calm during the day. We saw from the outside the Roman theatre, beautifully lighted.
The second day we walked through Alcazaba, the residence and the control tower of the Arab sovereigns. We could understand the way they lived and their traditions. Architecturally, it is very well built, carefully planned down to the smallest details. From the top of the Alcazaba we could have a beautiful view of the city.
Near the Alcazaba, there is the Plaza de Toros. We didn’t see it from the inside because we saw it in the city of Sevilla the year before and they all look similar. If you have time you have to see it because it is the most traditional center of Spain. They often have also in the inside the bullfighting museum that explains the history of the Corridas and the Toreros .
Then we went to see a little but very curious museum called Museo de Artes Populares (Museum of Popular Arts). It is the fundamental reference point in Málaga in order to understand the typical day-to-day life, the city, and its people at the end of the 19th century. It shows handmade polychrome clay figures, animal-drawn carriages, skilled trades of the blacksmith, baker, fisherman and printer. It also shows how wine and oil were prepared and how countryside life unrolled through farming equipment, folklore and popular religion.
The third day we went to visit the city of Granada, another city in Andalusia. We went through the city center and the small traditional ancient Spanish streets. We walked through the highest point of the city, the Arco de Elvira (Arc Elvira) and we visited the famous Alhambra and the Generalife. From 1984, it was elected to be under the UNESCO World Heritage. It is a construction for protection and vigilance. It takes at least 3 hours to visit it all, so if you want to see it you have to book a ticket to enter and calculate the time you want to spend there. The view is absolutely stunning, especially from the highest towers. It is divided into six main parts. The Alcazaba is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra and the military area of the fence. Another part is formed by the Palacios Nazaríes (Nazaries Palace) with three palaces built in three different periods (Palacio de Mexuar, de Comares, de los Leones). The Partal is an area that groups the porch of the palaces, the gardens, the Palace of Yusuf III, the Rauda and the walks. The Generalife has the lower gardens, the palace of Generalife and the upper gardens, built to be the recreational area for the sovereigns. The Escalera del Agua (Water Ladder) has canals from which the Acoquia Real water flows. The Silla del Moro (Moro Chair) was a construction for the surveillance and the protection of the Generalife and the orchard for the distribution of the Acoquia Real water.
The fourth and last day we went to visit another city on the countryside, very particular for its location: Ronda. Also here there is a Plaza de Toros and a bullfighting museum.
There are three main bridges but the most important is the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), the tallest – 120 meters, and it was built with the most modern technologies of the century. It towers the high cliffs, called in Spanish El Tajo for the number of murders that happened here. The view from here is spectacular.
A lot of writers and poets came here and described the place in their books or poems, for example Ernest Hemingway, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and the Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges .
We saw a very interesting museum about the Bandoleros (Bandits), they came here in Ronda when the authorities in bigger cities looked for them, because this was an isolated place and difficult to reach. A museum in Ronda is dedicated to them to explain the phenomenon of the bandolerismo. Its peak was in the XVIII century. The museum has more than 1.390 objects: documents, books, clothing, prints, comic books, lithographs, official seals, photos, oils, and films. The contrast between the upper and the popular social classes were very marked by corruption which triggered men to go against established order. These men were called the Bandoleros, who have been seen by Spanish history as generous human beings. One of the most famous is Diego Corriente (1757-1781), called the “Bandido Generoso” (“Generous Bandit”). He was an example of a romantic and kind bandolero. He never killed a man, just stole the money from the upper classes and gave it to those who ranked among the poorest social Spanish classes. He operated in Andalusia, especially in Sevilla, where he was executed.
Last night we went to a famous and typical restaurants, Bodega Bar El Pimpi. Exhibited are the autographs and the inscriptions of famous people, like Antonio Banderas and the daughter of Pablo Picasso, Paloma Picasso. Here we had fried fish and tapas, little portions of all kinds of food. It was delicious.
© Belen De Bacco