Sevilla Cathedral

Sevilla Cathedral

Good morning! We packed up out of the hostel and left our stuff there and went to meet up with some other SAS colleagues who were in town. We all went out for breakfast at a local cafe and of course got a bottle of sparkling!

We then headed back to the Cathedral since we couldn’t get inside yesterday. It was beautiful! Inside is also where Christopher Columbias’ remains are. We also did the walk to the top of the tower for great views of the whole city. It was strange because instead of stairs they had ramps that were like a square all the way up. I wondered why and never got an answer. Maybe so horses could go up?

View from the top

View from the top

We then went out for a late lunch and had delicious tapas and wine and even met up with another SAS group.

Finally it was time to head to our bus and to Cadiz where the ship was. We grabbed our stuff back at the hostel and took the 7pm bus. We arrived in Cadiz and wandered the old city area near our ship and ended up running into more colleagues and have more tapas. Spain definitely treated me right!

IMG_3484Today we got up and headed to breakfast down the road from our hostel. It was right beneath a waffle like structure that after looking up on Foursquare I realized we could go to the top. It was really neat and had this whole set of pathways on top. Also 360 degree view of the city.

From the top we could see the main cathedral and decided to head there next. Unfortunately it was closed to tourists due to a service going on inside. We wandered around the outside and looked at all the ornate doors. Looking at the info panels, I learned it was the 3rd largest cathedral in the world. Wow!

Next we walked towards the bull ring and stopped for a snack and a beer along the river. It was a nice view and relaxing. We made it to the bull ring and you knew their was a big match later. All of the venders were starting to get set up and people were picking up their tickets. We did see the parade of horses that would be used in the ring later.

We walked back to our hostel to grab the tickets since I didn’t think to bring them when we left earlier in the day. Plus it was nice to refresh ourselves and prepare for the bullfight.

We headed back and only need to follow the throngs of people dressed to the nines. I mean these people were dressed like they were going to the Kentucky derby – women in fashionable dresses with hats and men decked out in expensive suits and Armani jeans. I luckily thought to wear a dress, but it was no were in this league.

I stocked up on water and snacks as I had heard that you are not suppose to leave your seat during each round of bullfighting. I’m glad I did too, when we finally made it to our seats they were the ones 30 seats in on a row and there was only 1 way in. It was so narrow it was difficult to not fall on people in either direction. Wow. Once in we didn’t move either, lol.



So what did the bullfight consist of? Well there were 6 bulls, and 3 matadors, so each of them got 2 bulls. Each bullfight goes through the same sequence timed by trumpets. First the matador and his team come out and wave their capes to get the bull to charge and test the bull. Then a guy on a horse that is blind folded and padded comes out and tries to get the bull to charge. When it charges the guy sticks the bull on the back of the neck with a short blade on a lance. This is the first time the bull bleeds. Depending on how well the guy on the horse is doing he will get the bull to charge 2-3 times before being trumpeted off.

Next the matadors team distracts the bull with their capes and then other guys will run at the bull one at the time with 2 barbed sticks with the goal of getting them to stick in the bulls neck muscle. This happens 3 times so there should be 6 sticks in the bull by the end.

Finally its time for the matador to have his run at the bull. Everyone else leaves the ring and the matador with his red cape this time has the bull charge at him. The goal is to do as many passes as close to the bull in a row. The crowd really loved that, with many “ohh, OHHH” as the passes grew in number. When there have been enough passes, or it is not going well and the bull will not cooperate it is time for the matador to get the real sword and finish the bull. The matador does a running charge at the bull and plunges the sward deep inside the bull. If he does it right the bull will start to falter and be dead in 2 minutes. If not he might need another sword or one of the helpers will come in and with a quick stab to the head, kill the bull.



After the bull is dead a group of horses pulls it around the ring and the whole crowd cheers. And then the routine starts all over again. It might sound gruesome above but it was truly a spectacle to watch. The matador is at risk of being gored the whole time and does this beautiful dance with the bull. We had one awesome bullfighter who really showed off his skills and it was just amazing to see him work and show off. The whole crowd waved white handkerchiefs at him showing their appreciation (of course I was unprepared and didn’t have one). Overall I thought the bullfight was awesome and I would see one again.

We went out for tapas after the bullfight and then back to the hostel where we met up a colleague, Jessica who had just gotten in from Portugal.



Another beautiful rainy day. Left the ship and immediately got caught in a downpour and my jeans got soaked, fun! I wandered around Lisbon in the morning since we had a bus to catch to Sevilla, Spain at 1:45. The bus was long – 7 hours, but it was a decent ride with nice scenery of scrub landscape.

It was John his son Jake and me. We wanted to go to Sevilla to see the last bullfight of the season. We got there around 9:30pm and made our way to the hostel. I find a nice one downtown over looking a little square. We dropped off our stuff and headed out for tapas. In Spain, people don’t head out for dinner till 9pm so we were right on time. We had some awesome tapas and wine and rolled back to the hostel.

IMG_3466Today was also my good friends, Scott and Myndi’s wedding. I was so sad to miss it. Luckily I got wifi and was able to see some of the photos that people were posting on Facebook. John and I sent them this photo, cheersing them


So last night was horrible. I’m on starboard side of the ship, and it was a rough journey towards Portugal. We were going through a storm so our stablizers were out. These are fins that stick out from the side of the ship into the ocean to help keep the ship from rocking so much. On the starboard side, it needs to be oiled bad and makes it sound like a really loud dying whale. I tried to go to bed at 10:30 since I had to be up early for the field lab and even with ear plugs and big headphones over my ears it was soo loud. I couldn’t sleep at all. Finally at 11:30 I couldn’t stand it any more and got up and asked the pursers desk what the hell the noise was. I was informed about the stablizers and that the motion sickness meds they give out for free might help me sleep. I did a couple laps around the ship to see what was up and then took a couple of the pills and tried to go back to sleep. No luck!! Finally at 2:30am they gave up on the stablizers (guess the waves have to be going a certain way for them to work) and pulled them in, so I was finally able to sleep. I’m not looking forward to more rough weather and the stablizers. Again only on starboard side, port side its well oiled and makes no noise (grrr)

IMG_3408So we had out Geography of Wine field lab heading to 2 wineries and a cheese farm. We traveled about 1 hour south east of Lisbon to a small wine region. First stop was Jose Maria da Fonseca and their aging room. Of course it was absolutely pouring since we road in with the storm. This place was really cool and had some cool large wooden barrels for aging. The wine was really good too. Good times!

Next was a cheese farm where the students got to get hands on and mold cheese. We then tried the cheese and it was delicious, I ended up buying some to bring back to the ship.

We then stopped briefly at a tile factory where they follow the old traditions of making tiles and painting them.

Finally we went to Bacalhoa another winery. We got to see their production facility where they first take the grapes and destem them, and start fermenting to make the wine. We also got to taste Alicante Bouchet that hasn’t been picked yet from the vine.

Their winery was crazy. I guess its own by a super rich guy who loves art and collecting it. He had a whole African art display inside the aging warehouse and crazy statues outside including one of Abe Lincoln.

Their wines were very good as well and they even served us some of the local cheese to try with the wine. Yum! I bought a couple of bottles that I enjoyed and then we headed back to the ship.

I rested and then met up with a group that was heading out with our interport lecturer for dinner. We had some tasty tapas and wine. I headed back tot he ship early since I didn’t get too much sleep last night.

Usual stuff on board these days. Getting my workout on, fun class stuff (not), figure out how to buy bullfight tickets for Spain, reserve hotel and bus tickets, etc. Nothing too exciting.