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Barcelona Overnight Trip to Sevilla

Last month the Barcelona CEA students went on an overnight trip to Sevilla as part of the CEA excursions during Fall 08. We departed on Thursday 13th Nov from Barcelona Sants station on an overnight train. The students slept in cabins of 4 beds, (2 bunkbeds). The train ride was smoothly and some slept better than others. We arrived nice an early to Sevilla at 9.30am, checked in at the Hotel Giralda and then had some free time for breakfast and freshen up. We met back at the lobby of the hotel at 2pm with 2 tour guides to have the walking tour of Sevilla. From the hotel we went to visit los Reales Alcázares, a Moorish Royal Palace, mainly in Mudéjar style, but also in Renaissance. Its gardens are a blend of Moorish, Andalusian and Christian traditions. One of the main attraction of the Reales Alcázares is the Patio de las Doncellas, which means "The Courtyard of the Maidens." The name refers to the legend that the Moors demanded 100 virgins every year as tribute from Christian kingdoms in Iberia. The story of the tribute may have been used as a myth to bolster the Reconquista, but it may have had some truth to it in the abuse of Christian women by powerful Moors. Another important section of the Reales Alcazares are Los Baños de Doña María de Padilla "The Baths of Lady María de Padilla" are rainwater tanks beneath the Patio del Crucero. The tanks are named after María de Padilla, the mistress of Pedro the Cruel. Supposedly, Pedro fell for María and had her husband killed. María resisted his advances and poured boiling oil over her face to disfigure herself to stop Pedro's pursuit. She became a nun and moved to a convent afterwards. She is regarded as a symbol of purity in the culture of Seville. After the visit of the Reales Alcazares we had a stroll in el Barrio de Santa Cruz, Sevilla’s medieval Jewish quarter, east of the Cathedral and the Alcázares, is today a tangle of winding streets and lovely plazas, with numerous souvenir shops and popular places to stay, eat and drink. Once the walking tour had finished, the students had free time to explore around Sevilla. We met back at the hotel in the evening to have dinner all together. The following day the students had free time all day. Some of the students visited the Cathedral, rented some bikes.
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