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« CIEE ALCALÁ- SUMMER 2013 (SESSION 2): SPANISH FOR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS by Catherine Kuecker (University of Wisconsin Madison) and Nick Heitkamp (Indiana University) | Main | CIEE Alcalá de Henares- LA program- Study abroad newsletter 1- FALL 2013. »

07/25/2013

CIEE ALCALÁ- SUMMER 2013 (SESSION 2): Valencia by Samantha Walker (Carnegie Mellon University)

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So back to the East, to Valencia! With the majority of my time spent on CIEE tours ["not that I don't enjoy seeing the outside of buildings... -Abby] and learning the cultural facts and fantastically old buildings, I got to do and see some really cool things! But really, I did enjoy the tours, especially to the Museum de las Fallas, a tradition of making huge wooden/other material masses (like parade floats) and ultimately all but one piece stays in the museum, to welcome the springtime.
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The first night, me, Katie -my roomie-, Lisa and Kristen made sure to enjoy the traditional foodstuff of Valencia, Paella (without seafood for me), Agua de Valencia (mix of orange juice and white wine, I believe?) and Horchata de Chufa. We also wandered the night streets getting slightly lost but ultimately getting to know the area better, which helped a bunch for the next two days.
And then what all of us were waiting for on the second day: THE BEACH. Ahh, yes. The wonders of the Mediterranean on la Playa de Malvarrosa. But yes, it was great to plunge into the waves, tan in the sand, and even play ball in the water with a more than kind Spanish family. 
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Later, getting lost served us well once again on Saturday night: We found a mini-performance of a string quartet and then found a huge crowd of people around traditional Valencian dancers.The best part was that ~ordinary citizens~ began joining in as well. It was also nice to recognize the last song as the traditional song of Valencia, one that Fausto, our ever wonderful tour guide sang to us on the bus ride there.
Luckily, we ended up on the right track to the election of las falleras, kind of like a beauty pageant where women, and even a section for young girls, from all over Valencia strut their stuff in elaborate, gorgeous gowns to represent the community in March during las Fallas. All the women and the gowns and downright detail were stunning! And ~watch out~, the next day we had a mini-tour where Fausto explained more about how the dresses are made, the hairstyles are done, etc. He also mentioned that the woman there, hosting the mini-museum of falla dresses, was actually the designer of them all and was very humbled at his accolades of the styles and hard work put into them.
Due to supreme beach exhaust (and not to mention burrrrrneeeeedddddd skin), only me and Lisa went out at midnight to see the fireworks on the Playa de las Arenas. It was a pretty long show, about 15 minutes, and it was nice to take in the cool beach breeze. After the show, we took advantage of sand that didn't burn layers off our feet!
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More than just a visit to the community in which my Spanish father was raised in, all-in-all, this was a supreme adventure and a great way to start wrapping up my time here in Spain with my Session Two friends and most importantly, the directors here, Cristina, Eero and Fausto. I'm gonna miss you guys so much!
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