Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dear Mom,

May 11, 2008-

Happy Mothers Day!

I love you Mom, I am thinking about you from half a world away. Words can not describe everything you have done for me. I miss you and I am so thankful for your guidance and wisdom. I don't know how I would have made it this far without you. Thank you for loving me, teaching, and keeping me safe. You have given me the best gift God created, your love. This semester has had plenty of stressful times and I am so happy that you were only a phone call away telling me that everything would be alright. I love you Mommy.

I might not have been #2 in my class (like you) but hey I graduated! You and Daddy were there cheering me on.

Soccer, Ballet, Basketball, Director, school volunteer, PTA, church camp, you are the everything mom!

A night volunteering for Valley Preforming Arts.

Thank you for letting Katherine and I play with your hair!

Even though you were the last one to show up and pick us up from dance class or school, and you are the slowest person to walk through a museum because you have to read everything, and every flower you pass you have to identify it makes me love you even more!

"My, child listen to your mothers advice.
Her teachings will be like flowers in your hair
or a necklace around your neck." proverbs 1:8

Happy Mother's Day Mommy!
Love, Brittapie

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Portugal probably has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen! Mexico, Oregon, California, Alaska, even Greece Might not compare! It was absolutely amazing.

This beach was right outside our hotel, the weather was fantastic, and our hotel rooms all had balconies looking out on the ocean, (and a pool on top of the hotel)!
I went on a walk along the cliff tops with my friend Kiah...
wild flowers grew all along the tops of the cliffs, we saw locals cliff jumping even..
Kiah and I found this private beach on our walk, we spent a good 5 hours swimming in the water and tanning :)
We took a boat tour through the caves that are along the cliffs, it was fantastic.
Raquel, Kiah and I standing on the edge of the world.. Before Columbus set sail around these cliffs, this was thought to be the end of the world (with good reason the cliffs were about 300 feet above sea level!)

These particular cliffs were gigantic!

we watched the sunset over the water..

The end of the world.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My First Feria

Only in Sevilla can you take part in Feria.
It is a festival that is celebrated at the beginning of Spring. It originated as a cattle fair where country farmers would come to the outskirts of Sevilla and sell horses and cattle. Today it is an excuse to dress up, dance, sing, and eat.

Schools are closed, buses are rerouted toward the Feria grounds, everything (including supermarkets and restaurants) closes at 3pm. Hotel and food prices rocket and you can't even find a bed in a hostel! Sevilla is packed with people from all over the world. This picture is of me standing in front of the Golden Arches, the entrance to Feria.

Feria looks much like a state fair. There are tents that line the perfectly Roman grid layout, the names of the streets are names of famous Matadors. However, The tents are personal tents owned by wealthy families who provide food (slices of ham most of the time) and Manzanilla (traditional Feria drink.. white wine with sprite). The families hire security guards (the man in the black suit) at the entrance so that only invited guests of the family may enter. (The little girl in the red dress is tired and laying her head on the table.)

The streets are packed with people wearing their traditional clothes. Women in flamenco dresses and men in suits (It is very formal). Walking down the street you can see the line of tent upon tent and hear the music of men and women singing while watching their children dance the flamenco.

The larger tents are public tents for the political parties. The communist party even had a beautiful tent!

Even the little ones were dressed traditionally. Most of the little girls wear matching dresses with their mothers (for every day of the week a different dress!)

Every fair has rides! The flamenco dresses don't get in the way of having fun, these girls are standing in line for The Viking ship. :D

Only in Spain would you see a Bull on the carousel!

I am about to get on the ride, The Booster. I don't know what is more scary, how high above the ground you are while flipping (tallest ride) or that this ride is built in Spain and it looks like it might fall apart! It was totally worth it though!

They left out the O... It's supposed to say Booster ha. This ride basically goes around in circles like a windmill and on the ends you and three other people are spinning!

Overall my first Feria experience was amazing!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

10 mile Hike

"We have to climb that!" alas it was wonderful to be off the bus and be in the beautiful mountains of Extremadura. Our goal was to reach the small town of Guadalupe, nestled in the mountains. Guadalupe is known for its Monastery (which in part, has been renovated into a hotel- where we had reservations)

We departed from a small town outside of Caceres where we bought water and lunch to carry with us on our trek.

A small group of my hiking companions, (about 1 mile in)

We walked along this lake for a few miles (not too difficult it was a road)

Looks a little like Alaska... (How I miss home)

Kaylan and I stop for a quick shot of the landscape.

Single file walking up this "mountain" when all of a sudden we heard running...

About 100 goats crossed our path and stopped and watched us. I was ready to run if they started to charge, they weren't big but too many to be comfortable. We found out later that they roam the mountainside (they're owned by a farmer in the area).

We stopped on this ridge to eat our lunch.

The downward trail...

I made it! Sitting on the steps of the Monastery.


April 4, 2008- After the city of Merida we traveled to Trujillo a small town built around a fortress on top of a hill.
If I visit Spain again I would love to come back to this town. The Hotel we stayed in was amazing it was built as the palace of Trujillo but renovated into a four star hotel. Very luxurious and modern.

The fortress was great, you could see for miles on top of the walls.

Kaylan, Raquel, Sam and I all standing under a "horseshoe arch." We could almost hear our History of Spanish Art professor quoting the Muslim influence recognized by the horseshoeness. ;)

A view from the walls of the fortress..

Back at the hotel.

For dinner we were on our own, we decided to have a picnic out in the courtyard of our hotel. Save a little money with our 5euro grocery store goods.

Our dinner, fit for Kings in our lovely Palace! Lets see: H2O, bread, ham, turkey (first time I have had turkey since Alaska! Everything is with Ham), olives, lettuce, and even Mustard! (Spaniards don't use condiments on their sandwiches)

After our amazing Bocadillos (Sandwiches) we sat out in the courtyard discussing politics, underwater facts, and Alaska (interesting subjects). "The state really gives you FREE money"-Thanks to the Simpson Movie that is one of the most common.

Monday, April 7, 2008


April 4, 2008 API took us on our last excursion to the providence Extremadura, Northwest of Andalusia.
Merida was the first city we toured. This city was originally settled by the Romans when they conquered Spain (it took the Romans 200 years). Above are the Ruins of the Teatro (theatre) in Merida.

This Teatro is still being used today, twice a year they preform plays here the acoustics are still amazing.

This is the amphitheatre, where the city of Merida held their games (Gladiators).

It is under construction the weather has taken it's toll.