09 April 2017

Europe March 2017

Just a few weeks ago, I got to go abroad for an incredible visit to Europe. I got to see my sister, who is studying abroad in Spain, visit my host family from last year, and hang out with my aunt and mom. SYA France celebrated it's fiftieth anniversary, and I got to be a part of it. I met so many incredible people in those few days, and it made me really excited to see what my classmates do as they get older. I forgot my camera at home so I was only able to snap photos on my phone. Here are a few of them, hope you enjoy.

We arrived in Madrid a bit early, so we went out to find  some lunch. This 'mercado' is like a farmers market set up, but inside, with mini gourmet restaurants for each stall. 
I'm going to brag... I found a super super cool hotel in Madrid, on Gran Via, for a reasonable price. The fact that it matches my aesthetic perfectly (and included snacks) only helps.
The roof top terrace and restaurant and pool at 'Dear Hotel' was so stunning that my mom and I decided to stick around for dinner... And breakfast...
For our one morning in Madrid, we decided to go see El Palacio Real, partially because it was one of the only places open. How's this for a (thanksgiving?) dinner table?!?
The castle was full of stunning pieces, from a variety of monarchs. 
After the speed visit to Madrid, we went to Zaragoza to see my sister Carmen. Her host dad was awesome and played tour guide - he took us to a castle called the Aljaferia. 
It was originally for the Moorish kings ( see above) so the center of the castle has heavy Arabic/Islamic influences. However, as time went on different kings just kept adding on. Here, a fairly typical European (Christian) monarch's style can be seen in the ceiling decoration. 
Another big attraction in Zaragoza is El Pilar, a cathedral built around a pillar that Mary apparently told one of the apostles to build. 
After visiting Zaragoza, we took the train to Barcelona. From there I flew to Geneva to visit my cousin. 
She took me to an incredible open air, Thursday evening, cheese market, where we ate excellent cheese with excellent bread in the square. 
Friday night, there was a reception at the City Hall for SYA alums (celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the program) and their host families, as well as old teachers and just about anyone involved in the school. Here is my mother with her host parents, so many years after she stayed with them. Hopefully, I'll have a similar picture one day as well.
Saturday night, there was a reception and program at the Opera house in Rennes. My mother, aunt, their host parents and my host parents were all there with me and a few hundred other SYA people.
Sunday was my mother's host father's birthday celebration. My mother, aunt, and I got to celebrate with the Fady family - the parents, children and grandchildren.

Monday night, I got to eat dinner in one of my favorite tiny restaurants in Paris, Pirouette. 
My mom had an absolutely terrible time getting into Paris, so we ordered off the menu for her. She arrived just as they were just serving the appetizers.  

SYA organized a tour of the Maison de Verre, a very cool house tucked away in a courtyard off of the street. 

Tuesday night, The American Embassy in Paris hosted a reception for SYA in the Ambassador's official residence. 
Absolutely stunning. The huge back yard in the middle of Paris, complete with a Calder mobile. The inside of the house was beautiful as well.

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