España vs. Me: Round One

España has displaced my mind from my life and has put it inside of my history books and National Geographic Magazine issues that I praised as a child.

Throughout my first week in Spain, I was shown that no matter how ‘small’ she may be compared to the states or other European countries, the people and history of the Iberia Peninsula have stolen the empty spaces of my mind and have replaced them with all of her glories and wonders. Madrid became the city of maze-like buildings that trapped me, only to show me the history inside of each maze turn. Interestingly, the street names in Spain are placed on the sides of buildings, so I found myself looking up a lot and missing the sights of the streets below.

A memorial text for Cervantes, reading: To Don Miguel de Cervantes, on the fourth century of the publication of the first part of Don Quijote.
One of my favorite streets to get lost on: Calle de Cervantes

The first night I spent in Madrid left me puzzled and restless because I knew that I could not possibly learn a culture by its language or history alone.

As the night went on, my mind began to rest and the morning of our trip to Segovia awakened the adventure I did not think I could have on a study abroad trip.

One of my life-altering fears shattered: Heights

It is amazing to have encountered one of the most magnificent structures from the Roman times that is still standing and still being used today. I have spent years in history classes, reading and studying the use the Roman Aqueducts, but I have never imagined how intense their presence may be until I saw them for myself.

My first impression of the Aqueduct of Segovia: How is history alive in front of me?

Since they were built without any mortar, the thirty-six semi-circular arches blew me away. Ironically, I was almost afraid to climb the stairs and see the view from the top of them, but thankfully the history behind the entire structure gave me the confidence to take the climb.

My history book selfie.

The Plaza de España is one of my favorite outdoor descriptions of history that I have experienced thus far on our trip (besides the Mezquita and the beautiful town of Frigiliana). The plaza is in the Parque de Maria Luisa in Seville, Spain. It was built for an exposition is 1929 and is an example of Regionalism Architecture, meaning that it mixes elements of the Renaissance and the Moorish revival styles of Spanish architecture. Essentially, it’s a Neo- Mudéjar style.

View of the Plaza from the far right.

The half-circle complex contains four bridges representing the four kingdoms of Spain. Inside the semi-circle are tiled alcoves that represent each province of Spain. Out of the forty-eight alcoves, everyone has a relevant tableau and map that gives a representation of the history of that said province. This in an amazing and beautiful piece of tiled architecture because it not only gives a historical aspect of each province and the four kingdoms, but of how the culture and people reflect on each other.

Grace Englehart is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Creative Writing and Spanish. Grace is spending the summer term abroad with the faculty-led UMKC Spanish Program in Granada, Spain.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

El Paseo por Andalucía ;)

Andalucía es una de las más grandes comunidades autónomas en el país entero, con una cultura muy distinta y su propio acento. España fue un país de guerra entre los católicos y los moros por siglos y Andalucía fue el centro de estas batallas porque fue el central área entre Europa y Africa norteña. En los días de hoy, todavía se existen dos pequeñas colonias españolas en Marruecos, Ceuta y Melilla. Andalucía me emocionaba porque he querido visitar Sevilla por mucho tiempo y por fin, tenía la casualidad. ¡Vamos a mirar!

Andalusia is one of the biggest autonomous communities in the whole country, with a very distinct culture and its own accent. Spain was a country of war between the Catholics and the Moors for centuries and Andalusia was the center of these battles because it is the central area between Europe and northern Africa. In today’s days, there are still two small Spanish colonies in Morocco, Ceuta & Melilla. Andalusia was exciting me because I have wanted to visit Seville for a while and at last, I had the chance. Let’s take a look!

Plaza de España

En Andalucía, la primera ciudad que visitamos fue Sevilla. ¡Que alegría que íbamos a visitar la ciudad hermana de mi ciudad, KCMO! Por supuesto, me aseguré ponerme una camiseta sin mangas de KCMO. En Sevilla, primero visitamos la Plaza de América, con los jardines y las fuentes. El siguiente lugar que vistamos fue la Plaza de España. Un gran área con un altar de cada provincia de España. ¡Que bonita era la Plaza! No sólo yo tuve memorias de KCMO y la plaza allá, sino encontré un altar de Alicante también –  mi primer amor español.

Plaza de América

In Andalusia, the first city that was visited was Seville. What joy I had that we were going to visit the sister city of KCMO! Of course, I made sure to wear a KCMO tank top. In Seville, first we visited the Plaza of America, with the gardens and the fountains. The next place that was visited was the Plaza of Spain. A great area with a shrine for each province of Spain. How beautiful was the Plaza! Not only did I have memories of KCMO and the plaza there, but I found an altar to Alicante too – my first Spanish love.

la Catedral de Córdoba

Después de ver las vistas en Sevilla, nos fuimos para Córdoba. En esta ciudad, vi la catedral cordobesa, un edificio de mucho lujo y una historia muy compleja. Al igual que en Andalucía en general, esta ciudad se cambió del control de los moros al control de los católicos unas veces – estos cambios se reflejan de los estilos de la catedral. Hay una parte de un estilo muy árabe, con los arcos entre las columnas, cual funcionaba como una mezquita en una época. Esta parte entonces se conectó con una parte muy lujosa, de un estilo muy europeo. En esta parte, había muchas reliquias muy lujosas de plata y de oro. Era una estructura fascinanate.

Los arcos de la catedral cordobesa
Las reliquias lujosas cordobesas de la catedral

After seeing the sights in Seville, we left for Cordoba (sometimes written Cordova). In this city, we saw the cathedral of Cordoba, a building with so many luxuries and a very complicated history. As in Andalusia in general, this city was changed from the control of the Moors to the control of the Catholics a few times – these changes are reflected in the styles of the cathedral. There is a part with a very Moorish style, with the arches between the columns, which was functioning as a mosque at a time. This part was then connected with a very luxurious part, of a very European style. In this part, there were many very luxurious artifacts of silver and of gold. It was a fascinating building.


Después de ver Córdoba, nos fuimos para la costa. Nosotros entonces vimos unas ciudades por la costa sureña de España – Andalucía ocupa casi toda la costa sureña ibérica, otra de la costa portuguesa y la costa de Murcia. Llegamos a la ciudad de Torremolinos primero – donde nos quedamos por tres días. Torremolinos me hizo pensar en Florida, me pareció como el estado, con las playas y estaba muy cerca del mar. Por el segundo día, vimos tres más ciudades andaluzas – Málaga, Frigiliana, y Almuñécar. Frigiliana es una ciudad del estilo muy clásicamente mediterráneo – casas blancas por la colinas.


After seeing Cordoba, we left for the coast We then saw some cities along the coast of southern Spain – Andalusia occupies almost the whole southern Iberian coast, other than the Portuguese coast and the coast of Murcia. We arrived to the city of Torremolinos first – where we stayed for 3 days. Torremolinos made me think about Florida, it seemed to me like the state. For the second day, we saw three more Andalusian cities – Málaga, Frigiliana, y Almuñécar. Frigiliana was a city with a very classically Mediterranean style, white houses through the hills.

El tiempo que ha pasado fue maravilloso. Apenas puedo esperar pasar más aquí.

The time that has passed was wonderful. I can barely wait to spend more here.


Chico Veinticinco










Natagnél Frisella is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, studying Spanish Language & Literature. Natagnél is traveling through Spain this summer 2017, concluding with the UMKC Spanish Program based at the University of Granada in Southern Spain.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.