Art Museums in Madrid – by McQFord aka Connor McKeon ’13 and Katy Stableford ’13

We arrived back in San Francisco, safe and sound, late in the afternoon on Monday. One last adventure to recap — the museums in Madrid.

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Upon arrival in Madrid we spent not a moment sitting down. We dedicated a majority of our first day to exploring the works both classical and modern at the two most famous museums in Spain, The Prada and The Reina Sofia. Our guide Frederico, lead us between the two and was delightfully energetic, using his great sense of humor and knowledge to keep our undivided attention at all times. Naturally, the Prada being the first visited of the two was much more classically themed. Artists included El Greco, Francisco Goya, and Diego Velasquez. As we viewed the pieces chronologically it became clear that as Goya grew older, he became more senile and began to lose his grip on reality. In his later years he had become so involved in his work that he painted everything he saw in his dreams and felt, which gave rise to modern art as we know it. Moving on to the Prada, our group took a first hand look at the paintings of Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. One of the main themes displayed was the concept of surrealism which was forged from the rising popularity of the film industry. The first grouping of paintings we viewed was a set of the early works of Salvador Dali that consistently featured his sister. And as we progressed, it was seen that his paintings became more unreal. The last piece we viewed as a group was Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica,” a portrayal of the Spanish government’s defiling of the Basque people in 1937. Francisco Franco had hired German bomber pilots to eliminate the culture in Northern Spain through the murder of their woman and children. Picasso uses four woman being tormented with the eye of God watching from above to expose the cruelty of this attack. It is considered to be the the greatest piece of modern art from the 20th century. It was very coo.

-Connor McKeon ’13 and Katy Stableford ’13

Highlights from Granada

There has been such a whirlwind of interesting and exciting activities that fill up each of our days. Here’s a look at what we did in Granada . . .

In the period leading up to 1492, Spain was divided into various kingdoms; the Christians lived in the north, while the Muslims ruled the southern two-thirds of Spain. Then in 1492, the Chirstians living in the north culminated the “Reconquista”, in which they finally drove the Islamic empire out of southern Spain. Being in Granada, a southern city of great historical importance to the Muslim Moors, we saw various examples of Islamic architecture and other influences evident throughout the city. To be able to learn more about Muslim Spain, we took a trip to the Alhambra, an old palace in the Islamic Empire. The Alhambra was an enormous structure for its time, full of expansive gardens and calligraphy-covered walls. But what was most interesting throughout the palace were the fountains. The palace had water flowing throughout it and not one courtyard was left without some sort of running water. It was a great historical example of how much the Muslims real valued water. After visiting the Alhambra, I came away with a better knowledge of Spain’s history than I had before.

Connor Abbott ’14

After a fantastic dinner at La Cueva in Granada, we were off to see a professional flamenco show! At the school we visited in Sevilla, two students gave us a little taste of what flamenco dance was really like. I got to talk to one of the student dancers after the performance and she told me that she had been flamenco dancing since she was a little girl. But the professional show was breath taking. I had been talking about it nonstop as soon as I found out we were going to see one, I was so excited. Once we got there, there was live music that included drums, a flute, a guitar and of course, a man singing in Spanish. The lyrics to the song he was singing were Arabic based so what he was singing sounded like the Arabic language. The show started off with the music playing and then a woman came out and started dancing. In flamenco dancing, there is a lot of clapping and mainly movements with the hands and feet.There were three female dancers and one male. One of the women who came out used a lot of hip movement in her dancing which reminded me of Polynesian dance. What I really enjoyed was how each movement that the dancers made was different and I was always left wanting to see more. It was such an exciting night and one of the highlights of my whole trip! 🙂

Salina Kamara ’14

This post is making it to the internet airwaves as we are wrapping up our time in Madrid. We’ll post a recap of Madrid once we are home.

A most extraordinary day at Sacred Heart in Sevilla

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Our visit to Colegio Maria del Valle in Sevilla has been the highlight of the trip so far. Simon, Ashley and Elio’s write about the day below. See the photos and watch our very own Michael Keehan perform for everyone.

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Yesterday we got on our bus and drove to Colegio Maria del Valle. We were taken to the theater and split up into smaller groups to be taken on tours around the school by students. After the tour we went to classes where we could meet our new Spanish friends and practice our spanish speaking skills. Class was followed by a long break, which gave us more time to socialize. During the break there were many activities to do such as soccer, baseball, volleyball, music, dancing, basketball, and just hanging out. Tables covered in food were then layed out for us to have for lunch. The food was new to us and very delicious. After our lunch we climbed back onto the bus and headed to the hotel to unwind and enjoy some free time in the downtown of Sevilla. All of us made sure to clean up during our break because we had to get ready to be picked up by the families of the Spanish students we had met earlier as we were going to their homes for dinner. We were split into partners and paired with a Spanish family. My partner was Robeil and our family took us to there house and fed us very well. We watched soccer with them during our dinner and used our Spanish to explain who we are and what our lives are like in America. Our friend had two sisters that are both in college. They were very excited to meet us and asked us a ton of questions. The family took Robeil and I on a tour of the city because they felt we hadn’t seen enough of Sevilla. They took us to a hill where we could see all of Sevilla. It was an amazing vista. They brought us back to the house because the night was coming to an end. We exchanged gifts and talked a little more before leaving. I found out that both of the sisters knew my older brother and his friends because they were both at the school when my brother’s class from Stuart Hall came on the same trip. She was already friends with him on Facebook. The mother of the family and our friend drove us back to the school. At the school we all said our goodbyes to all of our newly found friends. We climbed onto the bus once more and waved to our Spanish friends from the windows as we drove off. I personally had a great day and was happy that I really got the chance to use the Spanish skills I have been working on for years. We all made new friends that we will remember for a very long time. This was certainly the best way to end our stay in the beautiful town of Sevilla.

Simon Ray Goldsmith – ’13

As we entered Colegio Maria del Valle we were warmly greeted by the students and a beautiful tile portrait of Madeline Sophie . The atmosphere was both warm and inviting; the students spoke both Spanish and English, we sang with them, and watched a presentation about the history of the town. During the welcoming two students preformed a flamenco dance for us. Throughout the day, I was entranced by the culture and I was able to use my Spanish skills to communicate with the spanish students. After we were split up into groups, we went on a tour of their beautiful campus. Walking through their wondrous halls gave me a true sense of attending the school. For lunch we had tapas and cake for dessert. Visiting Colegio de Maria del Valle was a very enriching and rewarding experience.

Ashley Latham – ’14

Yesterday, after an early morning wake up call and a hearty breakfast, we all packed on a bus and drove to Colegio Maria del Valle. This is our sister school in Sevilla, Spain. We were greeted warmly immediately, As we walked through the front doors to the auditorium, music was blaring and all of the students were clapping and cheering in anticipation of our arrival. When we sat down in the back of the room, the cheering ceased and some of the student body introduced us. We watched a powerpoint presentation about the city of Sevilla and we we’re all astounded by the beauty of the city. Two of the girls from the school then performed a traditional spanish flamenco dance. We split into small groups and went on a tour of the school. My group was paired with a few girls and a boy named Nico, who I thought was going to speak very limited English. As it turns out, he spoke very fluent English and had a Scottish accent that, “wasn’t as heavy as groundskeeper Willy, but was still an accent.” During the tour, we we’re bombarded by kids from the school, constantly coming up to us and saying hello. We then went to classes of about twenty students studying English and had a conversation with them about us and our life in America. They were all incredibly excited when they heard I owned a car. After a little more conversation, we broke from the formal classrooms and went outside to hang out. The weather and the complex were incredibly nice. A couple of my friends and I played an impromptu soccer game with some of the Spanish kids and, amazingly enough, we won! After playing soccer for a while, Connor, Andrew, and I went off to talk with the boys and girls who attended the school. They were all incredibly warm and friendly and I now understand why foreigners love Spain. We all gathered again and went to play baseball and take pictures. I have never taken so many pictures in my entire life. At night, Nico and I were paired with a Spanish family who took us around Sevilla. We spent a lot of time in the Centro Commercial, looking through all the shops. Afterwards, we went back to their house and met their family. The family invited their neighbors, who we had met previously, and had dinner. The food the mother made was delicious. We had all kinds of traditional Spanish food. We then exchanged gifts with their family and watched Nacho Libre in Spanish. We said our goodbyes to their family and drove back to the school. We got back on the bus and all of the people were waiving goodbye from the sidewalks. We arrived back at the hotel and crashed for the night. Meeting the kids at the school in Sevilla was an amazing experience and I’m sure that everyone on the trip would agree about the experience.

Elio Casinelli – ’14

Wrap-up from France and we’ve arrived in Spain – Peter Melling ’12

Our 4 days in France are at an end. While I look forward to arriving in Spain, there are many things that I will miss about Paris and Amiens. I thoroughly enjoyed the walking tour of Paris that Christophe directed, which covered many landmarks (the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame cathedral, and the river Seine) over the course of a day. I also quite liked our interactions with the Amiens students, from talking to them in the classrooms, to eating with them at the family restaurant. The scenery in France was stunning, as well as the architecture in the cities, at times similar to San Francisco, and at others completely alien. People in France were incredibly hospitable to our group, and we reciprocated those sentiments to the fullest. While we may have seemed like “fish out of water” in France, we loved every minute of the experience. Now, we are off to Spain!

Video from the day at Lycee Prive Sacre-Coeur


We arrived in Sevilla tonight. More tomorrow . . .

Our Day in Amiens

Today we spent the day at Lycee Sacre Coeur, the first Sacred Heart school of the network. When we got there, we learned about the history of the campus, and we’re taken on a tour by a student. We also ate lunch with the French students and participated in their classes. Although it was hard to communicate with everyone at the school, it was an amazing experience. We were also able to play ping pong on campus with the students. Having the opportunity to see another Sacred Heart School was a great opportunity and I cannot wait to visit the school in Seville.

-Caroline Coulter ’14

Tonight I had dinner with some of the students from Lycee Sacre Coeur. Not only were the meals delicious but the students were so friendly and outgoing. We were both so eager to get to know each other. Emilie was the restaurant owner’s daughter and I had the wonderful chance to sit next to her and talk about the things she loved to do. I found out that she loves to take pictures and her mother actually has some of her photographs up in the restaurant. I wish we had more time to get to know one another and I will never forget the new friends I made.

-Janet Kim ’14

Our First Great Day by Thomas Egan ’14

Our first day in Paris began with a walk through a beautiful Sunday open air market, and then to the Le Marais neighborhood. This neighborhood was inhabited by the Jewish people, however and during the World War II many of these Jews were unfortunately sent to concentration camps. After reflecting on this tragedy and it’s heroes, we continued our walk through the cold wind to the River Siene for a boat tour. We were informed that the river is located next to many great monuments in the city, including a hospital from the 7th century. We then made our way to the Notre Dame cathedral and spent some quiet time exploring. Lunch and a little bit of free time took place in The Latin Quarter before we made our way to the Eiffel Tower. We rode up the elevators to a breathtaking view of Paris. After marveling at the view and taking in the glory of the moment, we quickly made our way to the hotel via the Metro to get out of the freezing wind.

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