Spain: A Medieval, Modern, and Moorish Mosaic

May 14 - 27, 2002

Sponsored by Continuing Education at the University of Minnesota Duluth




Travel Tips

Spain in Brief


The program will be primarily in Madrid, and the Andalucian cities of Sevilla and Granada. Click here for day-by-day itinerary.

Robyn Roslak, Associate Professor of Art History at UMD, will lead the trip. Participants who wish to receive academic credit may enroll in Art 4892 or Span 4091. Click here for details and costs of academic credit. Need some suggestions for how and what to pack? How many pesetas to a dollar? What's the weather like in Spain in May? Need to find an online dictionary or translator? Where exactly are these cities located?

Do you need to know a little bit about Spain in general? A few salient geographic and economic facts? Would you like to read a few things before you leave? For a good overview of everything, click here.

The cost of the trip is $3425, including round trip airfare, hotel, some meals, field trips, and more! For complete costs and inclusions, responsibilities, disclaimers, and other fine print, click here.

Most of our activities are designed for you as possible suggestions. We promise that certain features will be included for sure! For instance, everyone will receive a museum pass in Madrid (good for one entrance into each museum). We're planning one visit to each of the most important museums: The Prado (European art from the medieval-modern periods, including extensive collections of the works of Velásquez and Goya), the Thyssen-Bornemisza (masterpieces of 20th century European avant-garde art), and the National Museum and Art Center Reina Sofia (Spanish contemporary art, home of Picasso's renonwed mural painting Guernica).

Other plans for Madrid include excursions throughout the city, as well as assisting you in deciding how you'd like to spend your time! Entrance fees are on your own. Your choices might include
The Royal Tapestry Factory
The Royal Palace
The Retiro Park or other parks
The Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor or other architectural attractions
The Rastro

Or maybe you'd like to take a short field trip to a nearby town. You might choose
Segovia, with its Roman aqueduct
Aranjuez, with its beautiful royal palace and sumptuous gardens
El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen (monument to the fallen of the Spanish civil war)
Chinchón, a picturesque 16th century Castillian town

Travel and entrance fees are on your own.

Or you might choose to make additional trips to the Prado or relax in a charming plaza or go shopping or catch a movie or........

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Our itinerary is designed to be flexible and to allow you to make as many or as few choices as you like. Or to choose some completely different activity. Your tour includes the meals that are listed each day, hotel accommodations, a 10-ride Metro pass in Madrid, a museum pass in Madrid (for the Prado, the Thyssen, and the Reina Sofia), and transporation and full day tour in Toledo. Transportation to and around Andalucia is included as well: delux motorcoach to Cordoba, Sevilla, and Granada. We will have a local guide with us for the tour of the mosque in Cordoba, the Cathedral and Giralda in Sevilla, and the Alhambre and Generlife in Granada. Other activities, entrance fees, and transporation will be on your own.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002
Depart Duluth (or other city) for Madrid
(Meals in flight)

Wednesday, May 15
We arrive in Madrid, where you will be met by your guide and motorcoach. After a brief panoramic tour, we'll check into the Hotel Trafalgar. We'll leisurely explore the neighborhood on foot and by metro, and acclimate ourselves to the sights, sounds, and ambience of Madrid! For those anxious to start their sightseeing, we'll try for a visit to the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), time and energy permitting. About 8:00 PM, the group will gather this evening for a welcome dinner. Turn in early tonight!
(Breakfast in flight and dinner together)

Thursday, May 16
Well undoubtedly get a bit of a late start this morning, and visit the Puerta del Sol (the geographic center of Madrid) and the Plaza Mayor. These are significant parts of old Madrid, laden with shops, interresting architecture, marvelous places to eat, and beautiful places to the relax. In the afternoon, we'll go together to El Prado, Madrid's oldest museum filled with classical masterpieces. Robyn will provide you with some suggestions for making the most of your visit to El Prado. This evening we'll try tapas bars. (Tapas are very small servings of appetizers such as cheese, olives, ham, seafood, nuts, potatoes, or omelet, served with a small glass or sherry or wine. Tapas are generally eaten while standing at a bar, and it's customary to go from taberna to taberna, sampling the house specialities in each locale.)

Friday, May 17
Day-long field trip/locally-guided tour to Toledo, about 45 miles south of Madrid. Ancient capital of Spain and one of the oldest towns in Europe, Toledo was the melting pot of the Arab, Jewish and Christian civilizations during the Middle Ages. You'll see a little bit of everything here! The great painter, El Greco, fused the soul of this city, and many of his works can be seen in the churches and buildings of the town. During our visit, we will admire El Greco's masterpiece, "The Burial of Count Orgaz," preserved in the church of St. Tome. We'll also visit the magnificent Gothic cathedral as well as one of the medieval synagogues in the city.

Saturday, May 18
We'll start the day with our visit to the Thyssen-Bornemizsa musem of 20th century avant-garde art. Robyn will provide guidance for your time in the museum. In the afternoon, we'll take a look at the Puerta de Alcala and at Madrid's largest park, El Retiro, and check out the Botanical Garden. Group members will determine how best to fill their evening hours!

Sunday, May 19
A visit to the Rastro is a must! It's an open air, flea market/bazaar/antique market on Sunday mornings only. But travel lightly and tightly--it's a well-known area for pick pockets. In the afternoon, we'll aim for a trip to the Valley of the Fallen, the monument in the mountains to those who died in the Spanish Civil War. Francisco Franco is buried here as well. We'll have dinner together about 8:00 PM.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Monday, May 20
Our final day in Madrid will begin with a visit to the Reina Sofia, home of Spanish contemporary art, including Picasso's Guernica. Robyn will have suggestions to make your visit to the museum more enjoyable. The afternoon will be free for you to finish your stay in Madrid--do the last mintue shopping, visit your favorite places one more time, take in one more attraction. We'll have dinner together around 8:00 PM.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Tuesday, May 21
Leave Madrid in the morning, stopping in Córdoba to visit the one of the world's most extraordinary buildings, a thousand-year-old mosque (known as "La Mezquita") with a Catholic cathedral built in the middle of it as a legacy of the Reconquest. Robyn and our local guide will explain its historical, artistic and architectural significance. We'll continue from Córdoba to Sevilla. After checking in to the Hotel Don Paco, we'll have dinner together about 8:00 PM.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Wednesday, May 22
In the morning, we'll take a panoramic tour of Sevilla and visit the Cathedral and Giralda Tower. (Sevilla is the historic and economic captial of Andalucía.) In the afternoon, we'll visit the Parque Maria Luisa. Princess Maria Luisa donated part of the ground sof the Palacio to the City of Sevilla for the park in 1893; it was the site of the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition. Worth seeing within the park are the Archeological Museum and the Museum of Folk Art and Costumes. (Both of these close early in the afternoon, so you may need to choose! Even the buildings are wonderful to behold!) Within the park are other noteworthy venues: The Plaza de Espana, in theatre style, embellished with regional scenes painted on ceramic tiles; the Plaza de America, depicting traditional Andalucian folk arts; the Fountain of Lions; the Glorieta de Becquer, with sculpted figures; not to mention the trees, flowers, paths, and inviting byways! Bring your sketch pad or your book or your journal or just relax in the splendor of this glorious park. The evening is on your own.

Either sometime this evening or sometime tomorrow, you'll want to wander around the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the most picturesque part of the city with its enchanting maze of whitewashed streets. The Calle de las Sierpes (Street of the Snakes), just north of the Cathedral, is famous for its stores selling hats, fans, and traditional mantillas alongside clothes and souvenir shops. If you'd like to take home some ceramic tile, Sevilla is the place to get it.

Thursday, May 23
Today we'll visit the Reales Alcazares, the 12th century palaces built by the Moors and modified by 15th and 16th century Spanish kings. Theh palaces are a delightful combination of exquisite mudejar craftasmanship, regal grandeur, and landscaped gardens. You'll want to see the Hall of Ambassadors, the Patio of the Dolls, the Palace of Pedro I, the Patio of the Maidens, and the interesting mix of architecture. Keep your eyes open for ornate azulejos--painted ceramic tiles.

You may wish to explore Santa Cruz (again!) in the early afternoon, followed by a visit to the Plaza de Toros. A tour includes a visit to the immense arena itself, the bullfighting museum of portraits, posters, and costumes, the chapel where matadors pray for success, and the stables where the horse are kept. It's an excellent glimpse into an important cultural institution. We'll determine our evening activities together.

Friday, May 24
Leave Sevilla in the morning, arrive in Granada in the afternoon, where we'll check into the Hotel Guadalupe. We'll plan to check out Granada's Gothic cathedral, where the Catholic Monarchs Fernando and Isabel are buried. We'll also waltz through the Alcaiceria, a reconstruction of a Moorish bazaar. We'll have dinner together about 8:00 PM. Those who are energetic night owls may wish to visit Sacromonte. There are many small tabernas in this neighborhood of Granada where Flamenco shows are held.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Saturday, May 25
In the morning, we'll take a city tour with a local guide, including the Alhambra and Generalife Gardens. The Alhambra is the legendary palace-fortress that dominates the city and was the home to the last Moorish king before the explusion of the Moors in 1492. A walking tour will take you through the rooms of the Sultan's Palace and into the Generalife Gardens, a miracle of Moorish engineering. In the afternoon, you might choose to spend more time in the Alhambra or Generalife, or explore the streets of Granada, or ascend to the Plaza San Nicolas for a panoramic view of Granada and the Alhambre, or shop, or relax in a pleasant plaza, or take a siesta. In the evening, we'll enjoy an illumination panoramic tour and visit to the Albahicin quarter, followed by dinner together about 8:00 PM.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Sunday, May 26
We'll spend the morning in Granada, perhaps visiting El Banuelo (the Arab baths, build in the 11th century) or the Iglesia de Santa Ana (16th century Mudejar style church with it's Plateresque portal). Enroute to Torremolinos, we'll stop off in Mijas, an authentic mountain village, and enjoy our farewell dinner together.
(Breakfast, dinner)

Monday, May 27
Transfer to the Málaga airport for homebound flights.
(Breakfast, meals in flight)

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Your Instructor

Robyn Roslak, Associate Professor of Art History, has taught at UMD since 1987. She has traveled throughout Europe, and has studied Islamic and Moorish art and architecture in the Middle East and Europe, including Spain. Professor Roslak is at work on a book on European landscapes and cityscapes at the turn of the century. She is the recipient of the 2001 Jean Blehart Distinguished Teaching award.












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Academic Credit Option

This program may be taken for undergraduate academic credit at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Tuition costs an additional $164.00 per credit, plus applicable fees; the class will be part of a student's summer semester schedule. Students seeking academic credit will be exptected to do coursework before departing and after returning, in consultation with the instructor. There are two credit options available:

  1. One or two UMD undergraduate semester credits in Art History; the course number is Art 4892 section 821: International Independent Study. Contact Robyn Roslak at 218/726-7920 or email
  2. One, two, or three UMD undergraduate semester credits in Spanish; the course number is Span 4091 section 821: Independent Study. Contact Dr. Richard Seybolt at 218/726-7575 or email

Participants wishing to receive academic credit must register for credit in addition to registering for the trip. Tuition and any applicable fees (depending on the student's total credit load in summer semester) will be billed by Student Accounts Receivable according to their regular billing schedule.

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 Email MeContinuing Education Home Page / UMD Home Page / Travel/Study Page

Pauline Nuhring, Program Associate, UMD Continuing Education
Phone: 218/726-6361 Fax: 218/726-6925

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The contents of the page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.
Last updated 11/28/01