Spain

Spain’s Blurred Cultural Divides (or how Newt Gingrich can’t even get xenophobia right)

The Alhambra, from Mirador San Nicolás

The Alhambra of Granada: Muslim Nasrid Fortress; Holy Roman Emperor Charles V's palace; Catholic churches and ex-mosques in view. Photo taken outside the Saint Nicholas church in the Albayzin "Muslim quarter" of the city.

Newt Gingrich states,

“The proposed “Cordoba House” overlooking the World Trade Center site – where a group of jihadists killed over 3000 Americans and destroyed one of our most famous landmarks – is a test of the timidity, passivity and historic ignorance of American elites.  For example, most of them don’t understand that “Cordoba House” is a deliberately insulting term.  It refers to Cordoba, Spain – the capital of Muslim conquerors who symbolized their victory over the Christian Spaniards by transforming a church there into the world’s third-largest mosque complex.” [Emphasis mine.]

I’ll overlook Gingrich’s gross overstatement of the historical facts (this excellent post by a medieval historian refutes his statements in detail) and get to the more glaring irony in his statement. Say hello to the “world’s third-largest mosque complex,” that symbolic victory over Christian Spain (which before the conquest was neither unified in religion nor statehood):

Yep, that just makes ya tremble in fear of Islamist conquerors, doesn’t it? Newt Gingrich uses Córdoba as an example of the Muslim destruction of Western or Christian culture, yet the very building in question stands today not as a mosque, but a cathedral. (Ironically, the world’s third-largest Christian complex lies a couple of hours’ drive away in Seville – a mosque converted into a cathedral after the Catholics conquered the Muslim-ruled Al-Andalus.) Continue reading

2009 Travel Log

I just finished my last trip of the year. I just realized how much time this year I’ve spent sitting on some form of transportation, and there’s been a ton. Here’s every trip I’ve taken, ordered by transit method:

Air:
Denver-Philadelphia
Philadelphia-Madrid
Granada-Liverpool
Liverpool-Amsterdam
Amsterdam-Barcelona
Barcelona-Granada
Madrid-Dusseldorf
Dusseldorf-Prague
Prague-Frankfurt
Frankfurt-Madrid
Madrid-Dublin
Dublin-Chicago
Chicago-Denver
Denver-Cleveland
Cleveland-Harrisburg
Harrisburg-Cleveland
Cleveland-Denver

Bus:
Madrid-Toledo
Toledo-Granada
Granada-Sevilla
Sevilla-Córdoba-Granada
Granada-Rónda-Málaga
Málaga-Granada
Granada-Morocco-Granada (60+hours on the bus in a week)
Granada-La Taha, Alpujarras
Granada-Madrid
Prague-Terezín-Prague
Madrid-Granada
Valencia-Barcelona
Barcelona-Madrid

Ferry:
Spain-Morocco and back

Train:
Granada-Valencia

Metropolitan transit:
Madrid
Granada
Liverpool
Amsterdam
Prague
Valencia
Barcelona (way too many hours in the metro with 150 lbs+ of bags)
Dublin
Fort Collins
Denver

I definitely got around, but I’m looking forward to a more… Stationary 2010.

A NOTICE

I hereby declare the following things “played out” and thus disallowed from now forthwith:

  1. The “jumping-in-midair” photo pose
  2. Writing tweets about your breakfast
  3. Lisping the “c” in “Barcelona” or the “s” in “España”
  4. The Facebook status “(your name) is.”
  5. “Broseph”

That is all.

Study Abroad Slideshow

Remember when a family member would come home from some exotic location, strap you down to the sofa, and force you to endure a 2-hour unedited slideshow of their entire trip? Well it’s time to relive those memories all over again!

…except that you aren’t being held captive.

…and I chose about 100 photos from a few thousand.

I threw together the best of my photos  and videos across all 5+ months in Europe. I suggest clicking through the link below the embedded video to watch it in fullscreen HD on Vimeo (assuming Flash doesn’t puke all over your computer, which it does even on good systems.)

Study Abroad Granada 2009 from Zeke Weeks on Vimeo.

So there ya go! You can thank me later for embracing technology instead of holding you against your will.