Module 3 Reflection: Stay Tuned

EdTech 504: Module 3 Reflection

I am an educator who actively looks for things that can be used in the classroom. It might be a learning theory, a teaching strategy, or a show and tell exemplar. I am an educator who is always leveraging my learning in order to engage and improve student learning. Now I am not going to lie to you and say that the things I have found and utilized in the classroom have worked each and every time. With that said, I am going to tell you point blank that I am okay with that—I can embrace failure and move on. Over time, I have learned to embrace the ups and downs, as well as the successes and failures as they occur because I believe it makes me a better educator. At this point in my career, I am more worried about growing stale or being out of touch with reality, so actively looking for things to use in the classroom has become very important to me.  I want to be on top of my game – my students’ ability (if not desire) to learn depends on it! Experimentation, implementation, and post mortems (or reassessment, if you prefer) are a way of life for me.  This “learning” module has reinforced this methodology.

Let’s start by examining a learning theory (or two). Two things have stuck with me over the last two weeks: 1) Communities of Practice [COPs], and 2) Connectivism.  Obviously the course readings pointed me in this direction. Until this semester, I had no idea what COPs was yet these communities have figured prominently in my life—especially professionally. Over a two year period I worked closely with three other English teachers. We did not teach in the same school (we were in the same school division though) nor did we know each other, but our common interest in English Language Arts brought us together. We referred to ourselves as a cohort back then. We met online (thanks to our division email and an ELA forum in First Class); we exchanged ideas, assignments, and practices or strategies. We became better teachers because of this connection. We were a community of practice. Even in present day I see COPs in action as I work my way through the MET program. However, what I am really considering right now is how to incorporate a student based COPs in my classroom or in my school. If this approach works for teachers couldn’t it work for students? I think some students naturally create such a community. I see this with my “noon hour” gamers.  Yet I wonder how this might work in an ELA classroom or with our peer tutoring program (that currently involves three different schools). Frankly I haven’t gotten beyond the “I wonder” stage but I am working through the process and hope to bring this “thing” to my own classroom soon! Stay tuned.

Although COPs has invaded my brain so has connectivism—actually I think this theory is taking over! I became hooked on this theory early this semester when I was working on a Diigo bookmarking assignment (in Ed Tech 543). The more I read the more I wanted to know. Ironically, this course pulled me in deeper with our annotated bibliography assignment. I took this opportunity to explore and examine the theory in more detail. And now I can honestly say, I am might be a connectivist. Like Siemens, I think technology is shaping how we live, learn, and communicate (… and teach). I cannot imagine my teaching or learning life without technology. Furthermore, I can’t imagine a world that is not connected or networked. My former cohort, now COPs, also seems to support the fact that this theory is a real learning theory. Without technology that community wouldn’t have existed. We needed the Internet. We needed the First Class platform in order to connect, collaborate and learn. Imagine if we would have had Twitter or Diigo or Scoop.It or Google docs (Drive) then? More importantly, I am beginning to see how this thing might work (or is already working) in the classroom. Last year another teacher and I had our students use their smartphones or tablets (and some apps of course) to create visual and textual poems. These poems were posted on our class blog. Students shared their views on the poems and provided feedback to each other. Could that thing be an early cousin to connectivism? Possibly? However, now that I know what the theory entails and I consciously apply it to a learning situation would I not become a true connectivist? And would my students not benefit from such a conscious act? I think so. Again, I suggest you stay tuned.

Last, but not least, I feel I must also include a teaching strategy and a show and tell exemplar. Last week our instructor used the jigsaw method so that my peers and I could collaboratively “process” and share chapter summaries based on our course text. Basically this method divvies up the workload and, to a certain extent, the learning because each person (or group) is responsible for a topic and must become an expert (or experts) on the provided topic. Once they are “experts”, the students share their expertise (or their finished product) so others can benefit from it. This strategy is not new to me. I have used it with my students in the past (eg.  a webquest on Shakespeare’s life and times). I must admit I don’t overuse this strategy. I might use it once a term (with each class). It’s not that students don’t like it – it’s just that I have learned that things like this are more effective if they are used sparingly! Its merits are not lost on me, and it is a tool I have added to my teacher toolbox (I think my cohort, I mean my COPs, used something like this but we called it a “place mat” activity). Another tool I like to incorporate is a show and tell exemplar. Ironically as a teacher librarian I have had to teach students how to create an annotated bibliography, but I have never truly developed a “real” life example before! Now that I have completed one for this course I know first-hand what my students have to go through in order to construct one. Empathy is important to teaching, and I think having this thing under my hat will improve the teaching and the learning process for me and my students. As I said before … stay tuned. 

The last two weeks have reinforced my need to actively look for things that can be used in the classroom. Whether it is a learning theory, a teaching strategy, or a show and tell exemplar I know I can leverage my learning in order to improve student learning. 

As the Tide Turns

I know you aren’t going to believe us when we tell you that we needed a vacation from our vacation, but it’s true! In order to get a little R & R we had to visit the beach twice. Being on the road for six or seven months is great but the constant moving from one place to the next, and visiting one great city after another, makes a couple of travelers a little grumpy. We definitely needed a time out … And we thought–let’s try the beach resorts in Portugal. Most Canadians think of Mexico or Cuba when it comes to a beach holiday–perhaps they should reconsider and put Portugal on their list. We visited two different resort towns. Figueira da Foz and Lagos (Algarve region). Both were a little on the sleepy side as most tourists stop by in summer–not February and March–but we liked the fact that we almost had these two places to ourselves. Luckily the weather was fantastic. Believe it or not, I actually got a tan. I am the whitest white person I know … and I actually got a tan. What makes this even better is that I didn’t have to lay on the sand long to accomplish it. No sun burn either. After spending 6 weeks in Portugal,  I am trying to convince Wade that this is where we should retire! So in 9 years … look for us in Portugal. You would come and visit, right?

Our first beach town …  was Figueira da Foz. This little beauty was a complete surprise. We didn’t do a lot of homework on this one. We chose it because it was close to Coimbra. (It’s  approximately 40 km from the city.) Most travelers come to Figueira to see its casino–not us though. We didn’t even know it existed. We came for the beach, and we weren’t disappointed.

At the far end of the Figueria beach there are a lot of rocks along the shore. We loved watching the waves clamber over the rocks.

Wade and I practically had the beach to ourselves in Figueira. We did a lot of "wave watching".

While walking along the shoreline we came across these interesting flowers. We love how vibrant the purple is here. Simply gorgeous.

Seeing these images makes me homesick for Figueira! Ironically many tourists come to this resort town because of its casino. We didn't know anything about the casino until our cab driver told us ... and we were leaving the town. We didn't feel bad though. The beach was enough for us. There are great walkways along the beach. We found a wonderful cafe that we visited every day!

We enjoyed gorgeous sunsets every night. Even though we were here in February the weather was incredible! Normally it's +14 - 15 in January and February; when we were here it was +18 - 20 Celsius.

I couldn't resist taking this picture. I was just playing around with the camera and the light. It turned out quite well considering I had to take the picture one handed.

The Portuguese name for the dish is Arroz de Marisco. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty. We should have taken a before and after picture of our table! This particular dish had clams, mussels, squid, shrimp, crab ... Delicious!

This panorama only captures a quarter of the beach (if that) in Figueira. What a wonderful place to wander ...

Our second vacation from our vacation was Lagos. It is a little resort town found in the Algarve region. With it’s wonderful old town and quick access to the beaches it is a popular spot for rest and relaxation. Lagos is unique because of the sea stacks or cliffs that dot the coastline. These wonderful beauties actually keep the wind at bay when you are sunbathing. When the tide is out you can walk around or under the sea stack arches. Be careful though–the tides can sneak up on you!

Another shot of the intriguing sea stacks! The sand is great here. The locals really look after the town beach.

What makes Lagos' beaches unique are these wonderful sea-stacks. They also provide shelter from the wind.

It's hard to believe that this building is where the first African slaves were imported and sold. Today this building is an art gallery. Strange but true. On a lighter note, don't you just love how the locals just pop down to the beach for a little nap in the sun?!

The Lagos Customshouse from another angle. If you examine the background carefully, you can see the beach that runs opposite the town beach. I think you know which beach we preferred.

The last time Wade was here the waves were crashing up and over the sea wall. On this day the water was much tamer. Many locals and visitors take sailing lessons here. We loved watching a parade of little white sails pass us by on Saturday afternoons.

9 years away from retirement, you say … I don’t know if we can wait that long. Not when there are worlds like this just waiting for us …

The Love Child

If Paris and Chicago had a love child, it would be Porto. Parts of the city are as elegant and sophisticated as a Parisian woman, while other parts are as rough and ready as a Chicago longshoreman.  Porto is a city that works hard, and plays harder. The city’s theatre lives in the streets not in the palaces. The bohemians are tolerated of course, but the city’s eye rarely strays from the river which is its “meat and potatoes”. Yet at day’s end, there is always time for a song and a glass of port.

Lisbon may have more tourists, but if you want to experience the real Portugal you must visit Porto. Bring an open mind and you’ll see beyond the city’s stormy, brawling exterior to its inner majesty.

P.S. If you do make it to Porto eat a hearty Francesinha (a warm sandwich that originated in Porto); and when the meal is done, toast the city with a glass of port. Remember to leave a little room for some pastel de nata too!

To us, this figure and ones like it capture the enduring spirit of Porto's citizens. (Several statues seemed to be plagued by an overwhelming burden, yet they bear the weight and refuse to surrender.)

Unlike it's pretty sister, Lisbon, Porto rolls up its sleeves and works! This commercial street is only quiet on Sundays, during the rest of the week it is buzzing with energy.

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In the early 1900s the city of Porto purchased streetcar kits from Philadelphia. By 1929 the city needed more cars so they built their version of the original Brill streetcar. These cars are still in operation today. I love streetcars! They are perfect for narrow and steep streets -- not that Wade wanted to ride in one! "You cannot build buns of steel if you take the tram!" Quote, unquote. =

The Porto Riverfront is so unique that it has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The area's colourful buildings and medieval streets create a wonderful ambiance. Some travelers comment on her fading beauty suggesting that she is past her prime, but to us she is the "Cher" of cities.

Porto's Dom Luis I is an important "bridge" that brings Porto (riverfront) and Gaia (the left bank) together. This connector allows access to the Port Lodges like Sandeman, Ramos Pintos, and Taylor.

These boats (barcos rabelos) used to sail up and down the Douro River delivering port wine throughout the city. Port is a fortified wine that is sweet and is often served as a dessert wine. It's usually red but there are white varieties as well. Some people suggest Port and Brandy are the same thing, but the Portuguese would disagree. And rightly so!

The Church of Saint Francis is found in the heart of the old city. It offers great views of the city's rooftops. Also, it is home to Porto's catacombs, which you can visit. Some of the crypts are numbered and still have Oporto family names printed on them.

The lion (which represents the British and the Portuguese) is dominating the eagle (which represents Napoleon and his French troops). Even today the Portuguese and the British have close ties. Many British citizens holiday or live in Portugal.

The city isn't just known for its port wine. It is also known for its distinctive blue and white tiles known as azulejos. The church's façade is a fine example of patterned azulejos tiles. (The tiles may utilize other colours such as green, red and yellow but the blue and white tiles adorn most exteriors.)

If you visit Porto, the São Bento Station (Train) is a must see. The beautiful azulejos / tile murals are amazing. This photo captures daily life as it once was in Portugal.

This is another azulejos mural from the São Bento Station. This one highlights an historic battle. Throughout the city you can find many of these wonderful murals.

Forget Starbucks! This gorgeous art nouveau café should be your first stop in Porto. When it opened in 1921 it was meant for society's most elite members but few visited it. After the name was changed from Café Elite to Café Majestic it became popular with intellectuals, bohemians and the wealthy. Many heated debates were held here while her visitors drank tea or ate ice cream. Today the debates continue over coffee / tea and pastries.

"I am ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille." (No matter where we were, gulls could be found close by. Usually they'd keep a safe distance though, but this fellow liked the attention.)

Spring was definitely in the air. These unusual flowers caught our attention because the tree did not have any leaves whatsoever. (P.S. These are not almond trees; does anyone recognize the species?)

A Francesinha is a hearty sandwich (with egg, cheese and meat) that originated in Porto. It is served warm. It also has a distinctive sauce (which can be a little spicy) that is drizzled over the sandwich. Yum.

I left my heart in Lisboa

I am sure you’ve heard the song “I left my heart in Lisboa” before. It is Tony Bennett’s signature song. I bet you could even sing some of the lines without the help of a songbook. C’mon let’s sing a verse or two together …

“I left my heart in Lisboa
High on a hill, it calls to me. 
To be where little cable cars 
Climb halfway to the stars! 
The morning fog may chill the air 
I don’t care! 

My love waits there in Lisboa 
Above the blue and windy sea 
When I come home to you, Lisboa, 
Your golden sun will shine for me!”

Your melodic voices are impressive,  and you never missed a line! Wow! I’m blown away. I bet you also know this song is accurate in its description of Lisboa too. It mentions a hill, cable cars, fog, and sun. Like San Francisco, Lisboa is known for its steep rolling hills, eclectic architecture, and famous landmarks. Yet there are subtle differences. While San Francisco is known for its sour dough and hippies, Lisboa is known for its tarts and hippies. While San Francisco is wine country, Lisboa is castle country. C’mon let the pictures lead the way. After viewing them, I am sure you will lose your heart in Lisboa too.

One of Lisboa’s most famous neighborhoods is Belem. This neighborhood is home to many great sites.

The Jerónimos Monastery is known for two things: it's unique Manueline-style architecture and Vasco da Gama's tomb. (He was the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India.)

You definitely want to pop in for a visit. The cloister is a photographer's paradise. The unique late Gothic architecture, along with the gargoyles and the white stone against the blue sky, is stunning.

The Discoveries Monument, built along side the Tagus River, honors Portugal's famous explorers and its great Age of Discovery.

The monument features both patrons and explorers associated with Portugal's Age of Discovery. Shown here are Henry the Navigator and King Alfonso V, patrons of Portuguese exploration. Vasco da Gama comes right after the king ... if you look closely at the picture of the complete monument (above) you should be able to spot him.

Now some of you are wondering where the castles are …

This Moorish castle is perched on top of the steepest hill in Lisbon, and presides over the city like a fortified guardian. It is one of the city's most popular tourist sites. After the gorgeous city views, the best part of visiting the castle involves climbing its walls!

From St. George's most popular viewpoint you can see for miles. Lisboa is very picturesque and, as you can see, many photographers stand here in order to capture the city's gorgeous landmarks.

Chiado is another popular neighborhood, which is found in the upper city. For fun take the Eiffelesque Santa Justa Elevator up to the Carmo Museum, later dine at the Cervejaria da Trindade, a former monastery that has been turn into a beer hall and seafood restaurant. Yum.

In 1755 the church was almost completely destroyed by a earthquake. Today it is a museum but a good portion of the church's structure is still intact. It's roof is long gone but for some strange reason it makes this site even more beautiful!

After visiting the Chiado neighborhood, visit the Oriente. It is home to Lisbon’s World Exposition site. (If you look closely you should be able to find a Canadian flag!)

1998 Lisbon World Exposition

In 1998 Lisbon hosted a World Expo. The end result of this expo is a new and modern neighborhood! There is a shopping mall (you can see it's unique roof in the background), an aquarium, quirky art, a gorgeous views of Lisbon's suspension bridge and river walk.

Lisboa’s great location allows for great day trips … hop a train and visit castle country by stopping at Sintra first.

This Moorish Castle is huge, and it took us most of the morning to climb all the walls! You have to be in good shape because like most of Portugal the hills are steep. Also if you are afraid of heights this isn't for you.

Can you see how far this castle goes? We made it from one end to another! There are great views so the climb was worth it. You can even see the Palácio Nacional da Pena from here. It's our next stop too.

What makes the Pena National Palace unique you ask? Why its bold colouring of course!

Look way up!

Of course like the other cities we have visited I have to end the post with some street art … can you see how this is different from the other street art we have posted?

We came across this on our way to our favorite museum (The Gulbenkian)!

Both Tony and I left our hearts in Lisboa, did you?

Kickin’ it Old School

What is LaserLeap technology you ask?

Well … it is a project that young researchers are working on right now. It’s goal is to deliver medicine without using a syringe. This cutting edge project is well underway at the University of Coimbra (Portugal).

Coimbra is famous for one thing–more or less– and that is the Universidade de Coimbra. The locals simply refer to it as Velha Universidade or the Old University. It is the oldest academic institution in the Portuguese speaking world. It was established in the late 13 century, thereby making it one of the oldest universities in Europe as well. The campus is located on the highest point of the upper town, where the royal palace once stood. The university is the citizens’ pride and joy, and from its vantage point it stands as a perennial guardian for the entire city.

Coimbra has wonderful river views. The most popular one is of the river and University Hill (in the background). The highest point on the hill is where the university is situated. We walked along the river every day. The weather was incredible. +18 in February!

At the top of the picture is the Tower da Cabra; it is found on the university grounds. After we climbed to the top of University Hill and visited the campus, we had a lovely meal at the Italia Restaurant (bottom right hand corner). The restaurant has great river views too.

Crowning the top of the city is the university and its square. The original campus, along with the Tower da Cabra , is one of the most photographed places in Coimbra. The students refer to the tower as The Goat. Could it have this odd nickname because its bells constantly "remind" students that classes are about to start?

This panorama captures the university's original campus including the bell tower and what remains of the former royal palace. To the left, you will find the entrance to the Joanina Library. The library is incredibly ornate. Of course we couldn't take pictures. The guard was ever present! Ironically the library also houses the university's old jail. If students did something illegal they would be kept there until their trial or until they sobered up!

This is one of the city views from the university balcony (found at the back of the former royal palace). We love this picture because someone painted a message on the side of one the buildings below. Perhaps it was painted by a disgruntled student or two?

Of course there is more to see than the university itself. If you have the time, you should wander the city’s streets too. You never know what you will see … wear comfortable shoes though … the city streets are steep. As Wade says, you will earn “buns of steel” after roaming Coimbra’s streets for a couple of days . Of course Einstein loved wandering the streets because he rode in my pocket most of the way.

This is one of Coimbra's main squares. Largo da Portagem literally means "place of the gateway" and many assume it means that is the gateway to the city. If you walk by the statue and up the slight incline you will discover Coimbra's commercial or shopping street. In the past the lower city was the commercial district too.

It's fun to wander the city. So "get lost" -- let the city carry you away.

The Tricana of Coimbra literally means "wife of Coimbra". She is an important symbol in the city. In the past women like her would bring water or other goods, like eggs or bread, in her earthen ware jar from the lower city to the upper city. She provided an essential service to its citizens. The statue is placed in a spot where a typical wife of the city could rest before continuing her journey up the steep streets (under the Almedina Arc and up).

University students parade through the streets in celebration of Mardi Gras. We aren't sure what the animal skull represents! Many school groups, from kindergarten to university, dressed up. We saw turtles, lady bugs, teddy bears, crows, butterflies and ... the list goes on ...

Like Spain, Portugal has some very interesting graffiti. We took this picture while waiting for the train to take us to Figueira da Foz. There is more to it--this mural covered a very long wall--but I like Mr. Fox! Don't you?

Spellbound in Seville

Seville puts you under her spell rather easily. She does this so subtly you do not even know where or when she won you over. You simply surrender to her charms willingly, and go from there. Perhaps this experience can best be described as “duende”. It’s a Spanish word that is hard to define as it has more than one meaning. Some Flamenco singers claim to sing with duende, and in modern terms that is often defined as “singing with soul or extreme passion”. Another meaning for duende is that it is the mystical power an artist possesses, and the artist uses this power to enchant or enthrall the audience. In a sense the artist casts a spell on us, and we willingly surrender to the moment whether it is joyful or sorrowful. We feel what the singer feels–the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly. This is Seville.

The people of Seville embrace duende–they live in the moment, good or bad, and accept all that life offers. And when you are there, you follow their lead. You live in the moment too. Perhaps that is why you feel free to wander from one place to the next. You do not know what you will find; you just know that you will find something.

Let’s see what we found …

The palace is a great example of Spain's ever changing past. It evolved as Spain evolved. Once it was home to Muslim kings then it was home to the Spanish kings. In the 1300s the palace was totally rebuilt using the mudejar style--a fusion of both Islamic and Christian art-- and at that moment the past and the present became one.

The marriage of Islamic and Christian art can be seen in this photo. Can you figure out which is which? P.S. You might remember seeing this style in Cordoba and Granada too.

Also known as the Courtyard of the Maidens. This is one of the Alcazar's most visited areas.

The cathedral is one of the most visited places in Seville. It is the third largest cathedral in Europe. We love the exterior-- the next picture might help explain why.

We love gargoyles and this cathedral has some unique specimens! The expression on its face really draws you in doesn't it?

This tomb was another unique find in the Seville Cathedral. Christopher Columbus' remains are said to be housed here. Because his remains were moved (or may be not) from Santo Domingo to Havana then back to Seville there has been much debate over whether or not these really are his remains.

This is known as the "gold" tower because it once housed precious metals during Seville's heydays. It was also a prison. Originally the Moors built it as a military tower or watchtower. It had a sister tower but it was lost to an earthquake.

Seville's bullring is the oldest one in Spain. It was built in the 1700s but changed as Spain changed. Even if you are not a fan of bullfights, you can still admire the beauty of the building itself-- the golden sand, the rustic red ring, and the vibrant blue sky are a visually stunning combination!

The panoramic view of the bullring definitely emphasizes its size as well as its beauty. What's interesting is that all profits from the bullfights go to charity. In the past, bull meat was given to the poor. Most Sevillians are proud of this heritage and become frustrated when asked to defend the practice.

This wonderful site was built for the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition or Expo '29. The wonderful tile work makes it popular with locals and tourists alike.

If you look closely, you can see a group of junior high school students sitting near the fountain. You can rent a boat and paddle the site's canal or you can wander from bridge to bridge or alcove to alcove. Each province in Spain decorated an alcove and bench in picturesque tiles.

The new market, found in Plaza de la Encarnacíon, was unveiled in 2010. The base comes complete with gourmet food shops, indoor meat and vegetable markets, and what not. You can walk up to the second story and stroll. It is truly unique! We had our first churros (Spanish donuts that you dip in a thick hot chocolate) in that square! Yum!

A Flamenco singer experiencing or exuding "duende"! We attended a Flamenco show at La Taberna. It was incredible. The musicians, singers and dancers pour their hearts and souls into their performances. (We don't have a picture from the show because you are not allowed to take photos.)

The Treasure of the Sierra Nevada

The Alhambra is a beautiful treasure nestled between the Sierra Nevada range and the city of Granada (Andalusia, Spain). The UNESCO World Heritage Committee agreed and added the site to it’s list in 1984. However, this amazing treasure was almost lost forever after the site had been abandoned in the 1700s– then Washington Irving visited the site in 1828 and published his book Tales of the Alhambra four years later. After reading his book many Westerners flocked to the site. Ironically Irving felt his writing failed to capture its true worth. (“How unworthy is my scribbling of the place.”) The imaginations of many other artists were shaped by the site as well. MC Escher visited in 1922 and the tessellations in the Muslim tiles inspired many of his woodcuts and lithographs.

The Alhambra also encouraged us to waken the inner artist. (Annoyingly enough, other “wakened” artists kept getting in the way!) Like Irving however, we do not feel we have captured it’s true essence either.

The Alhambra, along with the Alcazaba mountain behind it, is one of the most photographed sites in Spain.

We love how the "Torre de Comares" is reflected in the blue pool along with the palace. Water was important to the Muslims and there are several fountains in this complex so an elaborate canal system had to be built to ensure water was plentiful.

Normally you would see more of the fountain (it has 12 lions) but it was under construction when we were here. Workers were restoring some of the lions (hence the odd shot). We were glad it was being restored, but it was disappointing too because we couldn't really enjoy our favorite patio.

This beautiful patio is found in The Generalife. This part of the site actually contains several patios and gardens, each one with it's own unique look and feel.

This is an unusual shot of the Spanish palace. It was shot this way to highlight the beautiful blue sky (and cut out the other visitors who kept wandering in front of the lens). Durr.

Everyone who visits the Alhambra wants to take artsy pictures from the windows!

From this Alhambra viewpoint you can see for miles. Below "the red fortress" lies the city of Granada.

Although many people come to Granada to see “the red fortress” we recommend that you wander the city. It’s beautiful in it’s own right. You never know what treasures you might find …

The street that follows the Darro River is very picturesque. It is found at the base of the Alhambra site.

No matter what ails you, there's a remedy here! Of course if you prefer a good cup of tea or something to flavour your favorite dishes, this is also the place for you.

Granada is also known for its modern art. We love to stroll the city looking for "new" graffiti.

After the Alhambra this is the most visited site in Granada. The beautiful white interior and extremely high ceiling make it visually stunning. (P.S. You aren't supposed to take pictures of the interior so don't tell on us!).

This neighborhood is found on the hill opposite the Alhambra. We climbed the hill to get to the viewpoint at Mirador de San Nicholas. This climb is a great way to see traditional Spanish houses; eventually you will also have a fabulous view of the Alhambra, the Sierra Nevada range, and the city of Granada. Wade says "by climbing insanely steep hills like these, you will achieve buns of steel." I say "what good are buns of steel if everything else still jiggles."