June 3rd, 2018

Today we went to the San Millán de la Cogolla, which are two monasteries in the province of La Rioja. The monasteries are separated into two different monasteries, the Suso and Yuso. The Suso is the upper monastery which was built up in the mountain, and the Yuso was built down the mountain. The Suso came first in the 6th century where Saint Emilianus lived, which was in a cave up in the mountains. He went to the caves for seclusion. In his seclusion, he lived a simple life and kept to his faith.  He died up there with a small following, and he lived to be 101 years old. The Suso continued expansion until the 12th century.  The Yuso was built in the 10th and 11th century. The story behind this was that King Garcia of Nájera wanted the remains of Saint Emilianus, which were in the Suso, moved to Santa Maria La Real of Nájera. To move the remains they tried to use oxen and a cart. The legend goes that the oxen were moving along, and then stopped at the location of the Yuso. No matter what they tried to do the oxen refused to move. They saw this as a sign and built the new monastery there instead. We got a tour of both. We went up to the Suso first and got a short tour up at the monastery. It was quite fascinating to see the tomb of Saint Emilianus.

The tomb of Saint Emilianus
The tomb of Saint Emilianus

The Yuso was interesting also. We got to see 25 hymn books which were stored at the Yuso. The hymn books were very large in size.

Example of Hymn Book from the Yuso at San Millán de la Cogolla
Example of Hymn Book from the Yuso at San Millán de la Cogolla

The Yuso also is the place that has the oldest known written Spanish so far. Overall, both the Suso and Yuso were very interesting to see, and we got to learn about some important Spanish history.

May 29, 2018

On Tuesday, May 29th, we went to a cute little cafe in Madrid for breakfast. Afterwards, we headed to the Museo Arqueologico Nacional which is the Archaeological Museum which has some really cool features. It was a museum for the blind which means that objects were placed along the wall that the visitors could touch. We learned about Bell-beaker pottery which are bell shaped and they show how wealthy someone is because they can have a feast to feed other people. They are found in the Bronze age in 2,000 BCE. They were decorated with geometric shapes and designs. We had a break afterwards and went to lunch and napped for siesta. Afterwards, we went to the Prado where I was assigned 3 works of art to tell the group about, those being: The Spinners or the Fable of Arachne by Diego Rodriguez De Silvay Velazquez (1655-1660), The Embarkation of Saint Paula by Claude Lorrain (1639), and the Self-Portrait by Albrecht Durer (1498). Rachel was assigned: Descent from the Cross by Rogier Van der Weyder (1435), The Holy Trinity by El Greco (1577), and Saturn Devouring His Children by Goya (1819). The museum was extremely interesting and had so many Titians which were called Titziano. There were a ton of people but it was overall, an enjoyable experience. After the Prado closed at 9 PM, we headed to a fancy traditional restaurant where we had ham slices and cheese followed by a chicken and ham paella.