When I first applied to Proctor en Segovia, I did not realize that Segovia was just one small part of a much greater experience. It was not until I actually arrived in Spain that I became aware of the journey I was about to embark on. I came to the realization that Proctor en Segovia is just the title of the program, and it acts as a large doorway. Once you step through it, and look past the title, there is a lot more to it. And when I say this, I am referring to the excursions. Each individual excursion acts as its own small doorway, and behind each door is a new experience. When you walk through each doorway, into a different region, you are introduced to the cultures and the ways of life in that region. Some of the most memorable metaphorical doorways for me were Galicia and La Rioja. These two regions had some of the most noticeable and memorable differences.The first major doorway that we came to was when we traveled to Galicia, specifically Santiago de Compostela. Galicia is the most northwestern region of Spain, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, which was where we were headed, and Santiago de Compostela was just the beginning.
Admiring the doorway to the 14th century Palacio de Don Pedro I representing the height of Spanish mudejar decorative art and architecture.
The Mudejar style draws on the Islamic art and architecture traditions of al-Anadalus (territory of the Iberian peninsula controlled by Islamic groups), sometimes combined with Christian Gothic. The architects and artisans on mudejar projects were often Muslim and Christian.
Arabesque tile work inside the Alcázar.
Now let us step through the doorway onto the Camino de Santiago, which is an experience in and of itself. As I hiked the Camino, it gave me time to think. My thoughts simply came and went subconsciously. However, I can recall some thoughts, and these thoughts were triggered by the other trekkers I encountered while hiking the Camino. Every person who chooses to take part in a journey along the Camino de Santiago has a reason, whether it be personal, spiritual, religious or many others. Knowing this, every person I saw left me thinking, wondering, what their reason could possibly be. I wondered about their backstory, where they came from, and where their journey leads next.
The palace and garden complex is a rare “fusion” of different styles from the original Almohad palace to Christian mudejar and even Baroque and Neoclassical.
My time spent on the Camino allowed me to realize that hiking is not necessarily just a form of exercise, it is whatever you want it to be. And for me, it was both a mental and physical journey. Before we began the nearly 70 kilometer hike, I was unsure of my abilities to complete each day’s hike in a timely manner due to past experiences when I was in much worse physical condition. However, on this trip along the Camino, I realized that my physical condition has greatly improved since those experiences. This was not the only discovery I made, though. I also became aware of the fact that my mentality had a great effect on my success as well. With the combination of my improved physical condition and a good mentality, I had no problem completing my journey from Santiago de Compostela to Muxía. That said, this doorway that led me to the Camino de Santiago, was just one of many more to come during my time in Spain.
Just outside of the Alcázar is Sevilla’s massive Gothic cathedral.
Again we find ourselves looking up.
Another doorway which we entered led to La Rioja. La Rioja was a very different experience from the Camino. There was no hiking, no wondering why people were there, and no huge epiphanies. Instead it was a doorway to a different culture, a culture in which their pride comes from their wine. One of the most amazing things in La Rioja was its incredible landscape. When you look out over the vast land that is La Rioja, you see small buildings surrounded by vineyard after vineyard. These vineyards, lined with thousands if not millions of grape vines, are the culture of La Rioja. Many people live and make their money off of their vineyards. This amazed me because I never thought about the fact that something as simple or as small as a grape, could bring such pride to a region.
Sevilla’s Guadalquivir river an essential artery of commerce since the founding of Roman Hispalis.
“When one door closes another door opens.” This saying sums up Proctor en Segovia perfectly. As the trip comes to an end, the door of Proctor en Segovia closes behind me. However, as the quote says, this opens yet another door. This new door gives me the chance to return home and share my experiences with people who may not have the same opportunity that I was fortunate enough to have, and, I hope this door will remain open for the rest of my life.
~ Oren Buchler
We drove down the Guadalquivir and along the coast to the Atlantic port city of Cádiz.
Founded by the Phoenicians, it is possibly the oldest city in Western Europe!
Wispy winds are not apparent
Perfect weather all week
Weather near 100 degrees
In the best way possible
How can we see Africa
If we are in Spain
The lights in Morocco shine bright
While we are in Europe.
~ Nick Hubbard
My new other home
I have my own bed
An archaic like dome
Segovia is always in my head
The aqueduct is its shrine
Segovia passes the test of time
Perfect like la Granja's shrubs
Gema cooks amazing food
15 minutes to the school
No Spaniards seem to be rude
To not love Segovia is a fool
To Segovia I will return
Memories here will never burn
~ Nick Hubbard
A long time friend of Proctor en Segovia says “hola” to the fall group!
Hasta luego. ¡Adios!
We are grateful to Ethney for her time and for sharing her video editing talent! And to Scott for tagging and uploading our photos to Flickr!
~ Proctor en Segovia Fall 2016