Spring Break: Cultures of the Mediterranean
How does one travel through Spain, France, and Italy in 8 days? I am still not sure. I was one of the five students who embarked on the Cultures of the Mediterranean Spring Break trip. To be included in this trip, students could either take an art class offered by Dr. Sharon Grimes, or the Psychopathology class offered by Dr. Susan Hughey-Rasler. The trip totaled to seven of us including Dr. Grimes as our leader and Mrs. Sally Bolen who accompanied her as an assistant.
Our time was packed with observing cities and their art, trying food, shopping, bus riding, seeing the countryside, and not getting enough sleep. We left Greenville on Friday morning and arrived to our first destination of Barcelona on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, we took a bus tour through the city with a local guide and met the two other groups we would be traveling with. Both groups were high school students from Florida, and our group totaled 25 with our tour guide. The highlight of Barcelona for most was seeing the Sagrada Familia, a church designed by Antoni Gaudí in 1883. The church is still being worked on today and is the number one tourist destination in Spain. Sadly, Barcelona is the only city we got to visit in Spain because of the ground we had to gain in France and Italy.
Monday through Wednesday we spent our time in southern France. Highlights include visiting the medieval walled city and castle of Carcassonne, the Papal Palace in Avignon (used during the schism of the Catholic Church in the 14th century), and the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. Though we spent a lot of time traveling, Wednesday we were given the whole day in Nice, France. We got to walk through a flower market in the morning and stroll by the Mediterranean Sea. I loved getting time to enjoy the city and hang out with newly made friends.
Thursday through Saturday we spent our time in Italy. We visited Pisa, Florence, and Rome. We saw so many amazing works of architecture and sculpture. In Pisa, we of course saw the leaning tower and got typical photos taken in front of it. In Florence, we went to the Academia and saw the breathtaking David by Michelangelo. In Rome we had a marathon of famous sites, from the Vatican Museums to the Coliseum, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. In the Vatican Museums we saw tons of famous works including that of
Raphael, such as The School of Athens, and the paintings in the Sistine Chapel, that brag the work of Michelangelo. Seeing the Sistine Chapel was highlight of the trip for me. Photos and talking was prohibited and so I got to admire the Creation of Adam without any distractions. Right next to the Vatican museums is the St. Peters Basilica, which is the largest church in the world. Here we saw another of Michelangelo’s famous works, the Pieta. I loved seeing this piece as well because I remember seeing a reproduction of the piece at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis on my COR 102 trip.
On our trip, we not only saw lots of amazing art, we experienced three new cultures and languages and made great friendships. I am glad I got to see this art firsthand, and gain some experience in these different cultures. I would encourage anyone who is able to take any trip like this offered in the future.