Proctor en Segovia: Barcelona Beckons and Carnaval Captivates

Posted by Ryan Graumann


In this post, Proctor en Segovia Winter 2015 travels to Barcelona, experiences Carnaval week in Segovia, and welcomes several families for Spain “family weekend”!

Proctor en Segovia visits Gaudi’s Sagrada FamiliaMore than 130 years after construction began, Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia is still unfinished, but this only adds to its allure. It is perhaps the quintessential example of Catalan Modernisme architecture and a modern symbol of the city of Barcelona.
Beautiful Barcelona. It is the most impressive city in Spain. We went to the Sagrada Familia cathedral. The cathedral is very big and it has been under construction for more than a hundred years. I was shocked by how European people build the churches and cathedrals. I heard they spend hundreds of years building churches and cathedrals but I did not realize that they still have tons of passion about these architectures in twenty-first century. They still need about thirteen years to finish this cathedral. I feel the dignified power from the cathedral because of the size. Inside of the cathedral can be described as perfect work. Everything is made with effort. And we got a chance to see the top of the cathedral where we saw the entire Barcelona city and the ocean. With the sunshine, the view was extraordinary.

~ Teddy Shi 

Proctor en Segovia visits Gaudi’s Sagrada FamiliaPhoto credit: Gracie Hovem
Proctor en Segovia visits Gaudi’s Sagrada FamiliaStunning views of the city (and the Mediterranean) from the top of the Sagrada Familia. Photo credit: Gracie Hovem
Proctor en Segovia visits La Boqueria market on Las RamblasOne of the absolute pleasures of studying and traveling in Spain is the opportunity to experience outdoor market days and indoor covered markets. Barcelona’s La Boqueria is certainly among Spain’s finest.
Proctor en Segovia visits La Boqueria market on Las RamblasPurchasing fresh fruit smoothies!
Proctor en Segovia experiences Barcelona’s Gothic quarter
Walking though Barcelona’s Gothic quarter often provides unexpected entertainment.
Proctor en Segovia experiences Barcelona’s Gothic quarter
While the ambience in the Plaça de San Felipe Neri felt quite festive on this Friday at the beginning of Carnaval week, the walls of the Renaissance style square told a different story. At the end of the Spanish Civil War Nationalist airplanes dropped bombs here, killing over 40 people, many of them children, because of the proximity of a Catholic school that still exists today.

Proctor en Segovia travels to BarcelonaBarcelona’s waterfront with a statue of Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Columbus) in the distance.
Proctor en Segovia travels to Barcelona
Photo credit: Gracie Hovem
Proctor en Segovia travels to Barcelona
Photo credit: Gracie Hovem
Proctor en Segovia travels to Barcelona
Barcelona’s harbor. Photo credit: Gracie Hovem
Carnaval week in Segovia
Surprise visitors from the North Pole during a Monday evening history class (Carnaval week in Segovia!)
Carnaval week in SegoviaThe following evening students dressed up and watched the festivities from the school balconies.

This February 15th began a series of fiestas and traditions for the splendidly flamboyant holiday, Carnaval. This term, our group was able to partake in this unique Spanish extravaganza. For three days, Segovians paraded through the streets, passing the Aqueduct and eventually arriving to the Plaza Mayor.

Our school has a balcony view stretching from the Gothic Cathedral to Calle Real on the other end of the Plaza. The group raced to the school’s grand seating in order to behold the view of the fully costumed marching children (a couple of us getting caught in the parade ourselves). The first parade contained kids organized by costumes with other children from their neighborhood. We watched as they marched, decked out in pirate gear, wizard apparel, Flamencan styles, or even snow-themed costumes. The second parade consisted of most of the same themed dressing but instead, the adults took part in the parade to the Plaza Mayor. In the Plaza, a number of Chefs stirred cups of hot chocolate and garlic soup for the awaiting and freezing Segovians. The gazebo of the Plaza was lit with a multitude of colors including those of the costumes of the band inside. Once the plaza had filled, we joined the friends and families surrounding the gazebo, for the fiesta in the center.

Once again for the second parade, we reconvened at the balconies and waited anxiously to see what it would bring. Some of us wore wigs, masks and face-paint to fit the essence of Carnaval (including Ryan). The parade started off with large, illuminated, inflated horses, which danced to the sound of classical music. Following them were wizards, penguins, matadors, soldiers, and more. Finally, for Ash Wednesday, Carnaval had to come to an end. The farewell parade included the burning of the sardine. Each group carried a hand made “sardine” to toss in a bonfire waiting in the Plaza. One by one, each themed group brought their sardine to the fiery wood while a brass horned band played.

~ Charlotte Hadley

Carnaval week in Segovia

Carnaval week in Segovia
Carnaval week in SegoviaOn the evening of Ash Wednesday, students witnessed the “entierro de la sardina” (“burial of the sardine”) procession and ceremony in Segovia’s Plaza Mayor.  Images of sardines are burned, symbolizing the burial of the past and regeneration, rebirth and hope for the future.
Carnaval week in Segovia

This week in Segovia was said to be parent’s weekend. Luckily my mom was able to make it down! She arrived on Thursday and stayed until Tuesday. It was great to be able to see her again and show off my knowledge with Spanish and my way around Segovia. I took her to my favorite cafe and translated between her and my host mother. One of my favorite days while she visited was when we were fortunate enough to join other Segovians in helping out at a charity event. Our job was to make “bocadillos” which are sandwiches with baguettes, so that the organization could then sell them to university students for their charity. The name of the charity was “Las Manos Unidos,” and the point was to give money to poverty stricken countries. The main goal is to not to directly give money to these people but to help oversee projects taken place in countries that need it. For example, this money was going towards building wells in several countries in Africa for clean, safe drinking water.

We had an assembly line with people cutting baguettes, putting toppings in them, and then wrapping. I wrapped all of the sandwiches and sent them off. The amount of bread we had was unbelievable. Massive amounts of it kept finding its way onto the table, and the supply didn’t seem to diminish. At the end it looked like we had wrapped thousands of sandwiches.

I really enjoyed doing this because my mom was able to see one of the small things that make this experience in Spain so special. I was able to practice Spanish, and see how important charity is to people in Segovia. My mom and I had a great time truly immersing ourselves in the culture, and I loved being able to show her a normal day of my life in Spain.

~ Greer Brodie-Hall

Proctor en Segovia family weekendGreer and her mother Paige walking on the outskirts of the old quarter!
This past weekend my family came to visit Segovia. I was very excited to show them everything that I had learned, and most importantly, to introduce them to my host family. I had originally thought that it would be difficult for my parents to communicate with my host family, but that quickly was disproven. We went to lunch at a very traditional restaurant, where we had the classic cochinillo, a roasted suckling pig. Thankfully my host father Cecilo used to work at this restaurant and was able to get us a table there. We conversed and ate for a few hours until we were all stuffed. My parents and host family got along amazingly, and they were able to bridge the language barrier with ease.

~ Mitch Blasio

Proctor en Segovia family weekendMitch and his parents on Passeig de Gracia in Barcelona. 

 Proctor en Segovia student sketches
Charlotte’s wonderful sketches for her Introduction to Spanish Culture Through Literature and Film class final project!
Check Out More Photos on Flickr!


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