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7 posts from October 2011


Lighthouse Porto Pi with CIEE Palma in the Mediterranean class, by Andrea Morgan, March 14 (Sp 11)

Andrea 1

Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011 Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

Today for class Palma in the Mediterranean, we went to el Faro de Porto Pí, which is the third oldest lighthouse in the world (!) It was built in the late 1200s. It was pretty cool, and we climbed up to the top (seriously like a million stairs) and had a spectacular view of the city and the sea. It was really nice out today, and the breeze from the water was so refreshing and beautiful. My professor said ¨"Esto es el vivo ejemplo del Mediterraneo." Which basically means "this is the epitome of the Mediterranean.

All that said, I´ve seen better haha. Split Rock in Duluth is much more picturesque, and I think I liked it better. Those of you who´ve been to the one in Duluth can compare the pictures, but I think you´ll agree. So I guess that´s one for Minnesota :)

After the lighthouse, we returned to the city and a few of us met up with some friends from Vanderbilt, Hannah and Lynne, and we went to Ca´n Joan de Saigo, a historic restaurant near my house, for ice cream. Very nice. I then returned home for dinner with Rosario.

Faro4 Faro3
I was skyping with Alex yesterday, and I was just thinking that I´m starting to feel homesick for the first time since leaving the US. I completely love Palma and Spain, but I definitely miss Gustavus. I´m just glad that I definitely have things to be excited for when I come back. (like living in an apartment with one of my best friends!)

my coffee ice cream sideways



Language Commitment with CIEE Palma de Mallorca, Spain


Name: Antonia Ferriol

Resident Director

CIEE Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Something we take very seriously in CIEE Palma de Mallorca is speaking Spanish all the time. All our students sign a Language Commitment in which they compromise to speak in Spanish all the time even among themselves. I have to say that this year the fall group is very serious about using Spanish, and we want to take this opportunity to congratulate them for their compromise. Some students have already one and even two language partners to practice more Spanish outside the classroom.




Día de las Islas Baleares, by Andrea Morgan, March 1 (spring 2011)

Andrea 1

Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011 Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College

Today was the huge festival of Día de les Illes Balears. Honestly, I have no idea what it´s for or why they celebrate it, but it was pretty cool. There is no equivalent holiday in the US, although it was very reminiscent of the International Bazaar at the MN State Fair for those of you who´ve been there (although it was obviously much more authentic, and better, that´s what it reminded me of).




There were miles of little markets with crafts and other interesting things to buy, as well as TONS of food. Huge bricks of cheese, tables and tables of pastries, candies, and my favorite, buckets of Mediterranean olives. Yum. There were performances of traditional Mallorquín dance and music, as well as a lot of fun medieval themed booths and stuff to do.





spice market


add caption


Queso (2)

queso man

Olivas (3)
Baile tradicional

this was at the end of the market. Music was playing, and all these people were dancing in sync! so cool


bagpipe players in the street

there are more pictures to come, I have to get some from some other people (of the belly dancers and some other sweet stuff as well!


CIEE Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Fall 2011

2010Name: Antonia Ferriol

Resident Director

CIEE Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Looking back to the past weeks, our week of orientation was very smooth and informative. We got to know each other and enjoyed a wonderful weather while wandering around the city of Palma. CIEE Palma de Mallorca students moved on the second day with their “familia española” and started to eat “a la española”. The intensive Spanish week was also a good way to start using Spanish in real life but at the academic level as well. And two weeks later, students started their regular university courses with other Spanish students. Bellow is a picture of the group on the first day in Palma.


On the second night after arriving into Palma de Mallorca, the city celebrated the Night of the Art. In this day all the museums and art galleries keep their doors open. People like to dress fancy for the occasion, and there is music in the streets to listen while walking from one into another museum. Of course, students participated in this event, and were accompanied by David, our Guardian Angel and student helper.


Above and bellow, pictures of the first day when students meet their homestays. 


During the 2nd week in Palma, students took intensive Spanish and participated in the several events organized for international students by the university. This is a great opportunity to meet other students coming from all over Europe, and around the world. Tapas night and taking a 1912 train to the village of Soller were the most popular activities. This is a picture of the group on campus.


Two students are doing an internship this semester. Zoe is working in the marketing department of Hotel Beds, a medium size tour operator agency. And Caeli is taking the challenge to teach English in the elementary school of San Vicente de Paul.


On the third week, students started regular university classes. A week after, I met with each student individually to make sure they had understood the assignments, they had talked to the professor during his office hours, and to find out if they need tutoring or any type of help to succeed in the class. Students are now enrolled in classes taught in Spanish such as: Introduction to Financial Markets, Anthropology, Cultural Encounters in Spain, Spanish Language, Strategies for Communication, Hispanic American Literature; and the four CIEE courses: Spanish for Students of Business and Tourism; Advanced Spanish Writing and Stylistics; Tourism, Economics and the Environment; and Spanish Cinema and Literature.


This is the first year we offer the CIEE course Introduction to Everyday Catalan. This past Tuesday, students visited a Mallorcan family and learnt with them words related to family relations. They also ate the most typical Mallorcan pastry “Ensaïmada”. Students were very participative! Bellow is a picture of the group, GA and staff.


Students said that the activity they have liked the most so far is biking along the coast of Palma and spending the rest of the day at the beach. It was a lot of fun and it helped us to get to know each other in a more informal way. Our film club showed its first movie Al Otro lado de la cama. One of the activities which is becoming very popular is going out for tapas on Tuesdays. And finally, we have traveled to Madrid for three days and visited museums, the city and the Royal Palace; of course, we also tried chocolate con churros, the famous calamari sandwich, and went shopping to the outside market El Rastro.



How a Donkey Can Ruin Yor Day, by Andrea Morgan, March 1 (Spring 2011)

Andrea 1Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011 Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College


As I have already explained, this weekend was extremely long, due to the Día de les Illes Balears tomorrow. Being that we had so much free time, a few of us decided to go up to the north of Mallorca and visit Alcudia. It´s supposed to be a beautiful beach and has a medieval market on Sundays. Unfortunately for us, the bus schedule in Palma is a little less than reliable, and we ended up missing the only bus to Alcudia by about 30 seconds. Great. We weren´t too upset though, because we know that there are never ending beautiful places to visit on Mallorca, and just decided to look for somewhere to go whose bus hadn´t left yet. We saw on the train schedule that there was a train to Manacor. I had heard of Manacour because they´re famous for their pearls, but that´s about it. Another girl I was with said that Manacor was where the ´dragon caves´are and that it´s a big shopping center and that it´s supposed to be really great. So, we bought our train tickets and set off to Manacor. (All of our first train ride!) I was very excited.

Train ride

train ride

All was going great on the train, we were enjoying the view and having a good time. OK embarassing story time. I made the very foolish mistake of drinking a 2L bottle of water before getting on the train. No problem, trains have bathrooms right? Nope. This train ride isn´t very long, but nevertheless the situation was becoming increasingly perilous. One of the girls I was with suggested using the water bottle. I absolutely refused! First of all, how would it work? Then she takes out a swiss army knife and hacks the top of it off so it could be used as a porta potty.

I´m not proud of what happened next, but as I said, the situation was dire. I took the bottle to the back of the train and had one of my friends stand guard. Not my proudest moment.

 Shortly after, we had another wrench thrown into our trip. The train stopped at a station that was labeled ´Sineu´ It was stopped for a while longer than it normally was, but we didn´t think anything of it. Then the train (driver?conductor? I´m not sure what you call him) guy came and told us we had to get off and go take the bus. Hmmm. We bought train tickets, why is he telling us we need to go get on a bus? Apparently a train ahead of us had hit a donkey and they had to clean up the tracks! A donkey. I don´t know how often stuff like that happens, but it seems that our group is just very unlucky in public transport. So, yet again, there we were at a bus stop in the cold rain, with no idea how long we would be waiting.

Donkey 1
first course of a fabulous spread for only €8

It turned out to not be that long, and we made it to Manacor just fine, but it was a bit of a let down. I´m not sure if it´s because it was Sunday and everything was closed, or because it was cold and rainy, and we couldn´t go see the dragon caves, but it just wasn´t that great. All in all though, we got some pretty good stories out of it, and it was a good day :)


Valldemossa, by Andrea Morgan, Feb 26 (Spring 2011)

Andrea 1

Name: Andea Morgan

Semester: Spring 2011 Liberal Arts

School: Gustavus Adolfus College


As I mentioned before, this weekend is very long, due to the ¨Día de los Islas Baleares¨ holiday on Tuesday. I was bummed that I didn´t realize this in time to get out to Barcelona, but decided to make the most of it by seeing a bit more of Mallorca! Yesterday, two girls from my program and I went to Valldemossa (again. last time we were there for about an hour, which was NOT enough time to see everything!). It was absolutely beautiful, the girls and I were just in awe the entire time, taking pictures of everything.

Valldemossa a A little background. Valldemossa is a little pueblo about a half hour outside of Palma by bus. It´s in the mountains, but there´s also a valle with houses and farms and orange groves situated throughout.  

Valldemossa b






Now, the reason that Valldemossa is a sight worth seeing (besides the obvious fact that it is beautiful) is because it´s the city that has the monestary and chatterhouse where Chopin wrote some of his most famous pieces. He and his girlfriend (they were never married, scandalous!) George Sand lived in Mallorca in Valldemossa for about a year. She wrote her novel A Winter in Mallorca, while he composed nocturnes.


Anyway, long explanation shortened, it´s the monestary, palace, cathedral, and gardens, which are all in a large compound ¨La Cartuja¨. We paid €6 to get in and we got to see a piano concert, as well as go through the palace, cathedral, monestary, gardens and everything else! It was amazing. The concert was private just for us, which was awesome, and the buildings, all of which were hundreds of years old, were beautiful. And if that weren´t enough, the views from each place were unbelievably gorgeous. 


Valldemossa c

Ahh it was such a great day! Beautiful sites, music, and goregeous weather! Ok, tons of pictures to follow, just becasue I loved this place so much :)






Valldemossa d

Valldemossa e

Chopin's piano


Valldemossa f

Valldemossa h
Valldemossa g


My grandfather's avion, CIEE Palma de Mallorca, summer 2011, by Patrick Bonner

Patrick bonner

Name: Patrick Bonner

Semester: Summer 2011

School: University of Tampa

When I received the acceptance e-mail for a seven week trip to study in Mallorca, I knew that it would consist of many adventures; however, one in particular I will never forget.  After telling my mom I’d made my final decision to go to this beautiful island off the coast of Spain, she told me a powerful story about our family.  My grandfather, her father, was a pilot in the US Air Force, and when my mother was six years old, he was stationed in Germany with her and her immediate family.  Her family planned to be stationed in Erding, Germany for three years. Things, however, did not go according to plan.  On June 25, 1960, my grandfather was involved in a plane crash in the mountains of Mallorca. My grandfather, alongside one other American pilot, was training German pilots how to fly a new model of US military fighter jet.   Each American pilot had a German pilot onboard.  As the aircrafts made their approach over the mountains to land, the two planes collided into the rocky mountainside. Wreckage spread for miles. The initial crash report said that dense fog had inundated the mountains to the point of little to no visibility at the time the planes were attempting to land. My mom’s family was left with little information about the incident and was unable to hold a funeral for six months because of the difficulty of finding his body to ship back to the US.


Fast forward 51 years to my study abroad experience in Spain.  With my grandfather’s story in mind, I asked every Majorcan I could if they knew any details about the accident.  During my first month in Mallorca, I was only hitting dead ends. A few people remembered hearing about the crash when they were children but didn’t know the exact location.  My teacher Magdalena tried to help me find information and even went out of her way to look for documents at a library containing the history of all the plane crashes in Mallorca. Again, it was a dead end, and the section for 1960 was blank.  After all my efforts, my teacher’s efforts, and my host padre’s efforts, I still had no promising leads.  Magdalena said her best guess was the village of Soller because of the vast mountain ranges there, but this was still just a guess.  I was lucky enough to have my older sister visit me for a week in Mallorca at the beginning of July. On her last day, we went on an excursion to Soller with the CIEE group.  We were still unsure if this was really the place where my grandfather died, but we were determined to see it through. We left for Soller that morning by train and rode about an hour through the countryside. When we arrived, my teachers began to show us the city and told us that the plan was to return to Palma at 2:30.  By 2:30, we still hadn’t come any closer to finding information about the crash. We decided to stay after the scheduled time and continue searching for answers.  We were told the government ajuntament building would have documents with the answers we needed, but when we arrived, it had closed for the day.  A bit discouraged, we stopped to rest and regroup outside of a small café called Bar Nadal.  After sitting for a few minutes, I went inside and asked the girl working behind the bar, Andrea, if she knew the story of the crash. She spoke little to no English, but I knew she understood what I was trying to tell her. That’s when she told me to hold on.  She went and got her father, the café’s owner, who was the first person I talked to that truly knew everything.  After explaining why we were there, he walked both me and my sister out into the street, pointed to a mountain in the distance with telephone towers on top and said that the crash site was there. I was beside myself. For the first time, we realized how close we were. The problem, he said, was that the crash site was on private property enclosed by large gates that could only be opened with a key.  We immediately asked if it was possible to get there and how we could go about getting the key.  The owner of the bar knew the property owner and called him twice.  No answer. After multiple failed attempts to reach him, my sister and I sat back down to regroup. An older man in his mid fifties named Juan who’d been chain smoking outside the whole time told us that when he was 8 years old, he went on a field trip with his class to the crash site and thought he remembered how to get there.   He said he’d be happy to take us, but his car wouldn’t be able to make it up the mountain. The face of the mountain was steep, and we needed the right car to make it to the top.  Meanwhile, I tried calling the property owner again. We decided to try him on our phone, hoping he’d answer an international call out of pure curiosity. After 6 long rings, he answered. I tried to get a few sentences out, but I quickly realized I need to hand the phone to someone who could better explain our situation in Spanish. I handed my phone to Juan, and the two men had a long conversation in Majorcian that we could hardly understand. 


After getting off the phone, it was obvious that Juan did not have good news.  He told us that it would be impossible to get the keys that night. At that point, it was already 6 o’clock, and in addition to all the other factors against us, we were now fighting daylight. Andrea, the girl who’d helped us originally, said I could go with her on Sunday to the site. As much as I appreciated the offer, I knew it wouldn’t have been the same without my sister.  Plus, going on this journey together meant the world to us both. We sat outside in silence as we waited for the next train back to Palma. I remember watching as another one of the owner’s daughters came to the bar with her two infant children. They were playing outside, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the things the babies were doing despite the deep disappointment my sister and I felt.  Andrea stayed positive the entire time. She explained our situation to her older sister, and that’s when she said that when she got off work, she might be able to use her sister’s car to take us to the site.


Shortly thereafter, my sister said she was going to take a picture of the mountain the restaurant owner had shown us. It was the best she thought we’d be able to do at that point. She walked out into the street with her camera.  While she was taking photos, I saw a man walk up to Andrea’s older sister and hand her a key, smile, nod and walk away without exchanging words.  I knew immediately that it was the key we had been waiting for. I couldn’t believe it would get me and my sister to the place I had pictured in my head so many times.  However, we still had to wait for Andrea to get off work so she, Juan, and her boyfriend Pedro, a mechanic born and raised in Soller, could take us up the mountain.


Andrea’s older sister was gracious enough to let us use her car for the journey, and Juan drove because he was the only person who knew the site’s exact whereabouts.  The mountain was steep and curvy. Halfway up, Andrea got so sick from the turns that we had to stop the car and take a break. We drove up the one-lane road for about an hour; Juan furiously chain smoked as we all tried to learn more about each other.  Finally, we reached the gates. After going through them, the road became very narrow and rocky with no shoulder preventing the car from falling off the mountainside.  We drove about another hour and finally reached the top of the mountain. We parked the car and got out. There was a woman standing outside the building at the top. She was holding a puppy and looking over the mountains. Juan explained the situation to her, and she quickly showed us a piece of the plane near the building she worked in.  Then, she pointed us in the direction of more wreckage.  At the top there was one house with telephone towers and satellite dishes surrounding it. The largest satellite dish was broken and every few minutes the bent metal would make a loud, creaky noise.  As I paced around, it felt like I was in god’s kingdom. The view was unbelievable. The jagged mountains sat to my left and right, and in between them was the village of Soller. The houses and buildings looked like tiny Monopoly pieces from where we stood. Because we were on the highest mountain in the range, clouds were passing through our bodies every few minutes.  It was the cleanest air I have ever breathed.  We walked a little further only seeing small pieces of mangled metal until Juan led us to one of the plane’s wings. It was unbelievable to see such a huge piece of metal set on the rock face of this mountain. The wing was still surprisingly intact considering it had been exposed to the elements for over 50 years. We all looked at the wing for a while and Pedro helped us rip pieces off we could take back.  We took pictures of our findings and got photos with Andrea, Juan, and Pedro who we later deemed our ‘Spanish angels.’  After about 10 minutes of walking around in silence, I began to tell Andrea how grateful I was for her help. That’s when she told me and my sister that her grandfather died before she was born, so she understood why it was so important to us to find this place. She started to cry, and I was again touched by her kindness.  While looking around the site, we experienced the dense fog that came without warning. These conditions were likely similar to those the day my grandfather crashed.  I felt scared for how he must have felt with the heavy fog and limited visibility from his plane.  Maybe it was my grandfather’s way of letting us know he was there with us.

            Still in disbelief that we had found the plane and overcome by the beauty of the view, we sat on the rocks and talked about how incredible the moment was for all of us.  I was so happy to have met these kind people and experience this adventure with my sister.  When I talked to my mom about what happened she cried, but it was clear that she cried tears of joy.  She said that we had accomplished a dream of hers, and she no longer felt the need to visit the place her father had died 51 years earlier because we had seen it for her.  I will never forget her telling me that she was happy her father died in a place with such kind, generous people like Andrea, Juan and Pedro.  The amount of coincidences involved will never cease to amaze me.  My initial decision to study in Mallorca, the fact that my sister chose to come visit during the time of the group’s field trip to Soller, the people we met in the bar and Juan’s knowledge of the site’s location are just a few of the factors that are increasingly hard to explain. I have experienced luck, chance and coincidence, but this experience was so far beyond all of these forces that I have no word to explain its depth or magnificence. My time in Mallorca and this adventure with my sister will surely be engraved in my memory forever.