All posts by Laura V.

La plaza de toro.

On today our first full day in sevilla, we started the morning in the
cathedral. It is beautiful and as it hold the Guinness book of world
records for the largest church by volume, it was huge! More of the
cathedral later however.
One of the things I wanted to do here was visit the bullfighting ring, odd
I know as a vegetarian and animal lover, but I felt that I needed to hear
the history and understand it more before I chose to be against it. At the
bullfighting arena, there is a museum and a guided tour you can take for 7
euro, and interested in learning more, Big John, Mary (John’s parents),
Alan (John’s puedo-uncle), John and I, went for it.
The arena was built in the mid 1700s and is large and slightly decorated,
but mostly utilitarian. However, it is well maintained and painted white
with a pretty golden color. I enjoyed seeing the matador costumes up close
and can’t get over how detailed and ornate the embroidery and jewels are.

The history of bullfighting believe it or not didn’t start with bulls! They
started as military training games where men on horses would try to get
their lance through a hanging ring. Some general/capitan/Sargent/military
leader, raised cows and introduced them to be a moving target in the games
instead of the stationary ring. Now I was sad to learn that the bulls are
always killed, even if they kill the matador, another fighter steps in the
ring to kill the bull, so it never has a chance at survival. However, there
is a time limit of 20 minutes to the fight, and while that is good bit of
time its not as long as i thought the bull would have to suffer. Also, the
bulls in the past were given to charity and after the games the dead bulls
would feed the town. Even today the dead bulls are given to a butcher to
sell for the meat.
My verdict, I don’t want to see a game, but its a pat of Spanish culture and I am glad I learned more.

Trains (Or How We Almost Didn’t Ride On The Train)

The first part of this post is for John and I’s nephew, so bare with me. Also, fyi, this post was put on the blot a few days after it was written.

Colt, we wanted to show you th type of train Auntie Lou, Uncle John, Grandma and Grandpa rode on yesterday. It was a high speed train that goes really fast, over 200 km/h !! It was very different from Thomas and his friends (or here they would refer to him as Tomaso!).


Now for the good part…

Yesterday we got up after sleeping in a bit to make our 10:15am trains to Parma. The first one, a high speed train to Bologna, was uneventful, although by the toke we bought our tickets there we not 4 seats together so we ended up in different cars. However, the train (like most in Italy we are told), got to Bologna a little late. Now, I knew from looking at approximate times online before we left for our trip that we should have only about 25 minutes to change trains, however our second train was a regional train. The tickets for those trains don’t assign seats or even say the time it leaves on them, so until I found a departure board I wouldn’t know what time and place our next train was.

So the fun began with getting off the train in Bologna. The trains at the station only stop for about 2 minutes to let people off and on, and us not knowing what station is next until we get there then grabbing our bags and getting of need about 3 minutes. Needless to say it was a little stressful to make sure we were all off before the train pulled away again. Then I immediately set off to find the departure board for the time of our next train. We couldn’t find it on the first board, so I continued farther. On the way John dissapeared into the restroom while I went far ahead to find the next board. I again didn’t see any trains for Parma. I found an employee to ask and she said the train we needed was labeled for Piacenza, and we needed to hurry to platform 1. I glanced back at the hoard to see that the train leaved at 12:28, and by my watch it was 12:24!! Luckily, John made it out of the bathroom just as I realized this and told everyone to run for the platform.

Now Bologna isn’t a big city but it’s not exactly little either, so platform one was up a set of stairs, across a terminal, up an escalator, down a hall, then we had to stop to read signs for which way to the right platform, then down some stairs and a hallway to the end (of course it was the platform farthest away!) then up a couple stairs and onto the train. We ran on about 12:29, only for me to see that we were on a very first crowded first class train and we needed second class. Now, if I hadn’t been rushed and out of breath, I would have realized that we would have been able to eventually push through to crowd and go up a few cars on the train. However, in the moment it just seemed easier to get off again and move to another.

“We’re on the wrong car!” I yelled turning around and running off the train and along the platform for another car. Now, I also need to say that John and I can run pretty easily with our bags when needed. We each have a big backpacks and smaller bag that fits on our shoulder. My parents however, they have rolley suitcases and shoulder bags plus another little bag each, so when it comes to running they can’t really keep up or go as quick as they’d like.

I saw a second class car, pointed it out, John ran ahead and got on. I ran and hopped on, just as a loud alarm went off and the doors of the car began to close. “Come on, come on” I yelled jumping in front of the doors as Dad threw the rolley bags onto the train and they hopped on. Whew! We had made it. We started towards our seats and the train pulled away from the station, we were off to Parma for more adventures.

My turn

John has been doing all the posting, so I figured it was time for me to jump in (sorry for no photos, its a bit difficult to attach it seems and I haven’t learned how yet.)
Last time we came to Italy, I didn’t have any trouble with jetlag and this time its been a bit more rough. Today (our second morning) I finally feel like myself! Which I hope is the sign of a great day to come. Our plan is to do the Capitoline museum, forum, a couple churches and finish with a night time tour of the Colosseum! I am really looking forward to that tour, it doesn’t start until 9pm and I think its gonna be awesome to see the Colosseum and it’s dungeons in the moonlight! More to come about all that tomorrow of course.
Last night we did one of my favorite sights, the Trevi Fountian (which isn’t saying much since every sight is one of my favorites!). I saw the Trevi both during the day and and night last trip, and I thought it was so much more beautiful at night. This trip, I still agree! That fountain is just gorgeous, the size and craftsmanship, gently lit so you can see the shimmering of the water, it’s just awesome. Well, we’re off for another exciting day…

Ancient Statues

Among the things we did today (which were numerous), we visited the Capitoline Museum in Rome. There are some beautiful works of art there, and the most ancient statues I have ever seen in one museum. We came across two statues that were our favorite. What do you all think?