Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Celebrating Columbus Day weekend with Columbus!

For Columbus Day weekend we decided, what better way to celebrate than to go visit where Columbus lived for awhile and see replicas of his boats (the nina, pinta and santa maria).  Two hours away from us is a town called La Rabida, Spain, it is right on the portugal/spain border and there is a monastery there and this is where Columbus stayed between 1491-1492 waiting for financial backing from the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, for his voyage to the New World.  What I didn't realize is that he brought his son, Diego, with him, who I think was around16 or so, and they lived here at the monastery coming up with their plans to sail.  

I have to admit, I was fascinated.  I remember learning all about Columbus and everyone knows, "in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue," but to actually see where he lived, walk where he walked, and planned and see the boats he went on--it was unreal to see such history.  Anyways, here are some pictures from our trip!
Posing with the Columbus statue

They had all these really cool paintings depicting Columbus' life and voyage

More cool artwork--it was like art and a sculpture--looks better in person

The monastery was heavily influenced by the moorish architecture

The room of the monks-where they ate and prayed and Columbus also did.

Original papers with Columbus' signature--FASCINATING! 
 From the monastery we went down to the wharf to see replicas of the three ships.  I was SHOCKED at how small they were--I cannot imagine crossing the ocean on those tiny little ships!  On the other side of the ships, they had a replica village of what Columbus discovered.  Apparently, Columbus discovered naked men and women and parrots in huts--that was what America was depicted as.  We got a good laugh out of that!
Is that Columbus--no just Ethan! 

Inside one of the ships

Playing with the turtles

Discovering America!

Kids and I with the three ships behind us!

Giant King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella

Ouch!  Kailey is getting her hand eaten!!

What can I say, we had an amazing time and we are so fortunate to see where so many historical events took place--hopefully the kids will remember all these places we are taking them, if not we are taking LOTS of pictures!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rock of Gibraltar!

A couple of weeks ago, we went and visited the Gibraltar--what a fascinating place.  Gibraltar is located about 2 hours south of us in Spain, but is a british territory and really is like it's own little country.  It is right at the tip of Spain and from the giant rock of Gibraltar you can see to Africa--it is only like 9 miles or something like that away.  So to cross into Gibraltar you have to go through customs--we had to take our passports and once you pass through customs, it is like being in England--everyone speaks English, they use the british pound, you see a lot of british things--I loved it!!  Gibraltar is most well-known for being a military stronghold and that is why Britain occupies it.  It is right on the entrance to the Mediterranean and contains extensive military strongholds and miles of caves. We had a wonderful time exploring Gibraltar--it is such an area rich in history and culture--we LOVED it!!  Here are some pictures from our trip:

In some of the caverns--they were MASSIVE and went on forever!

In this cavern they built an auditorium and use it for concerts, ballets, etc.  I think it would be so fun to go to a performance in a cave!

On top of the rock of gibraltar they have these monkeys that run wild--the kids LOVED it!

The old guy was our guide--his family was one of the first to Gibraltar and they have never left.  He was so interesting!

They monkeys are very familiar with him, so they were always climbing all over him.

Monkey climbing on top of our guide van!


Looking down from on top.

Me and my new monkey friend

Monkey trying to get in the van--he was holding on like this while we were driving.

It was cloudy the day we went, but that shape in the background is Africa--you are so close to it!

Looking down--you can see an airstrip--Gibraltar has its own airport and beyond that airstrip is Spain--crazy!

In the caves

The kids LOVED the cannons

In the cave looking at what it was like during the war.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Feria de Caballos

One of the things Spain is famous for is its horse shows.  It is not like typical horse shows where the horses jump and do things like that.  Here they teach the horses to dance and walk sideways, etc.  We went to a horse show a couple of weeks ago and it was interesting.  The following pictures below are a girl flamenco dancing with the horse--it was rather interesting.

 This girl came out and had the horse get on the ground, walk sideways, etc.  The kids had fun watching the "caballos" and it was interesting to watch!