Day 10: Embracing Our Migrant Roots

Day 10 in Spain was one of the most anticipated yet for the Honors DOC. In the morning, we prepared to say our goodbyes to the picturesque mountain town of Grazalema, and began the all-too-familiar routine of packing our worldly possessions into overstuffed suitcases once again. After a mercifully downhill trek out of the hotel, we loaded up our trusty tour bus and began to descend the winding roads out of the hills, this time without incident. The long bus ride let us catch up on our reading and our sleep, while watching the landscape outside change from jagged, forested peaks to lush, rolling hills, eventually flattening out into endless crop fields as we neared our next destination, Sevilla.

Once in the city, we admired the unique architecture, a fusion of Islamic and Christian styles, and ornate styling of the buildings, as well as the first real palm trees we had seen since arriving in Spain. As we approached the hotel, the streets became too winding and narrow for our tour bus to navigate, so to make up for our easy morning, we ended up dragging our luggage for what felt like much more than the one kilometer to Hotel Sevilla, under the bright sun and blooming jacaranda trees.

Despite arriving at the peak of the midday heat, we decided to forgo the customary, and wise, siesta and instead headed out into town in search of sustenance. After wandering through two of the many plazas scattered throughout the city, we feasted on pizza and ice cream, and settled down for a few sketches of the beautiful bustling city.

Back at the hotel, we could hardly focus on class, for today was the much-awaited Flamenco Day. We discussed flamenco’s Gypsy origins as a style of singing and how it has become a major part of Andalusia’s cultural heritage, and made a note to look out for the soulful vocals and intricate guitar riffs at the performance we were to attend later in the night. After class, we tucked in our shirts, donned our red lipstick, and headed to the intimate Auditorio Alvarez Quintero for some Andalusian entertainment.

The flamenco performance was more amazing than any of us could have expected. The powerful voice of the singer, impeccable strumming of the guitarist, and superhuman speed of the dancer’s feet hypnotized the crowd as all three clapped and stomped in perfectly timed rhythm. We sat close enough to the stage to see the sweat on the dancer’s face as she spun, tapped, and snapped faster and faster, all while expertly controlling a four-foot train on her ruffled dress. We could see the brow of the vocalist wrinkling with emotion, and the hands of the guitarist turning to a blur as he furiously strummed. I was so enraptured that I had barely noticed when the hour had passed, and the audience’s wild cheers tempted the performers back for a brief but joyful encore. The thrilling performance over, we left the venue to a beautiful night in Sevilla, excited for the adventures to come.

Rose Caplan – Environmental Science