Chistes de España


Now that the serious, visual documentation of 10 days in Spain have been written and released, it's time to reflect on all the quirks - because not every moment is picture perfect, I know. 

Having taken over 2,000 photos, spent more time in museums than in our lecture back in Boston, and eaten my weight in jamón iberíco, it was pretty easy to start noticing common trends, and quirks among all of us 11 HAA students. 

My fascination with Kaitlin's bun

Isabella's crucial ability to pass out on every bus ride

Julia's affinity for siestas

The emergence of Ongerd from tunnels, caves, and late night dinners

Abby bringing the joy to our days through her laughter and dancing

Me really ~finding myself~

Kaitlin and Isabella finding any and all seating opportunities 

Me putting my wingspan to the test

Abby & Spencer's cuddly love affair (with cameos from Yael & Ingrid)

Me desperately trying to strut in homage to the Cheetah Girls 

The influx of Infantas around the city 

A couple who happened to be matching 

A collection of cool, mirror selfies (because those are coming back, right?)

The back of people's heads being ridiculous

And whatever else is happening in these (feat. a meme I made because it's 2017):

So cheers to our quirks and to the incredible people in this department, and two more years of us being artsy goofballs together. 

Xx, Maia 

(Mad)rid about Spain


In an attempt to visually serve justice to the remainder of this trip while also realizing that image fatigue is a thing, and not all of you might find each different side street photo as much as individual treasures as I do, here goes the cliff notes version of days 5 through 10:

To wrap up our portion in Madrid, we snuck into the Reina Sofia an hour before opening to receive a private lecture by our Professors in front of Guernica, all by ourselves. And once that clock hit 9am, boy were we flooded with traffic. This was probably the point of the trip when I realized how fortunate we were to be traveling with such brilliant people and doing such VIP things. This thought was confirmed when one of my classmates whispered in awe, "Wow, I can't wait to come back in see this." (probably in regards to one of our Mosque-roof-access excursions), to which a professor responded, "You're probably never seeing this again." And rightly so. 


These views were spectacular, and made even more so because of their rare, almost unicorn like, status. We were probably never going to see Spain like this again, so what'd I do? Split my time between soaking it in and photographing it, for institutional memory of course. 

Post Morning At the Museum (think Ben Stiller level, but AM), we ventured to El Escorial where someone tried to sneak into the Courtyard with us, but our super cool security guard was not having it. 

But that wasn't the only Palace we saw. Once we hit Sevilla, we frolicked in the gardens of La Casa de Pilatos, and took a quiet, dusk tour around the Alcázar. 

The next morning, we took to the sky with several aerial views of the city - think tons (and I mean tons) of stairs (yep, I may or may not have slipped in one of the winding corridors in the dark) & altitudes so high there may or may not have been a nosebleed... friends run to the tour guide for help, true friends know that that's taken care of so they take pictures instead:

For one of the only moments we had a free hour to unwind, we hit the pool. And by that I mean napped poolside and fawned over the beauty of it all. 

Suffice it to say, I absolutely loved my trip to Spain. I realize any return adventures will never be the same, but I am so fortunate to have had my first Spanish experience be filled with such fun, surprise, and learning. 

Sevilla later.

Xx, Maia 

Madrid Day 5:

  • Reina Sofia

  • Escorial


Burgos Day 6:

  • Burgos Cathedral

  • Monastery of Santa Maria la Real de las Huelgas

  • IPHA Cartuja Monastery


Córdoba Day 7:

  • Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba

  • Synagogue

  • Hospital Cardenal Salazar


Sevilla Day 8:

  • Casa de Pilatos, Duke of Alcalá’s Palace

  • Hospital de la Caridad

  • Seville Cathedral

  • Old Cathusian Monastery, Isla de la Cartuja

  • Instituto Andaluz del Patrimonio Histórico in Carthusian Monastery

  • Alcázar


Sevilla Day 9:

  • Museum of Fine Arts

  • Iglesia de San Salvador and vaults

  • Seville Cathedral Vaults

Familiar Barcelona & (Too)ledo Many Shenanigans


Days two through four of this trip were split between surveying the rest of Barcelona (a hefty task for a day), commuting to Madrid, and taking time to explore Toledo. 

Though I've never been to Barcelona, or Spain in general for that matter, I'm partially titling this post "familiar" because, well, it was. Kinda. 

First off, I was greeted bright and early on Day two by a familiar face: Harvard pal, Cesar, who has been on a study abroad in Barcelona all semester (read: sad!). He showed me his university and we had the chance to catch up over bocadillos - which I would soon come to be addicted to, and also probably eat my weight's worth. 

Post breakfast, us HAAers went to the Museu Nacional d’art de Catalunya, and truly felt one with the art...

Our next stop was also familiar, in the sense that I had learned a lot about this architect and his work back in high school: Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe - specifically his Barcelona Pavilion. A simple beauty replete with rich juxtapositions of crisp marble, lush velvet, and pristine glass - all contributing to, one might say, the liminal nature of the space. 

We then spent quite some time at the Picasso Museum (no pictures permitted, so you'll just have to take my word for it) before heading to the Gothic Quarter, dining, and packing up for an early trip to Madrid the following morning.

Day three marked the day we will never forget. The day we spent seven hours in the Prado. Seven. Hours. It's the Prado, we know. It was great, no complaints there. But we hadn't quite adjusted to the drastically different dining situation, and hungry doesn't make for the best visual digestion. I will say that seeing Las Meninas in person was quite a Transformative Experience (thanks Harvard, thanks Dean Khurana), and it was quite comical to find little Infantas scattered around Madrid from there on out. 

Day four, we all zonked out on the bus en route to Toledo, but perked up once we were there - or at least I did. I absolutely loved it! From the sexy sidestreets to the sprawling view, frolicking in the flowers in between, Toledo had to be one of my favorite spots. 

There, we saw the Cathedral of Toledo, Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz, Santo Tormé, Santa Maria La Blanca, and El Tránsito - not without our fair share of shenanigans and group photos of course. 

But, in all seriousness, the architectural views were pretty spectacular. From lush landscapes to crisp corners, each stop was full of awe and information streaming directly from our professors. 

So here's to looking up at ceilings like these, and looking forward to more Spain posts - oh yes, there's more. 

Xx, Maia

Barcelona Day 2:

  • Museu Nacional d’art de Catalunya

  • Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe Foundation, Barcelona Pavilion

  • Picasso Museum

  • Gothic Quarter: Cathedral, Las Ramblas


Madrid Day 3:

  • Descalzas Reales Convent

  • Prado Museum


Toledo Day 4:

  • Toledo Cathedral

  • Mezquita del Cristo de la Luz

  • Santo Tormé

  • Santa Maria La Blanca

  • El Tránsito


A Spanish Revival & Gaudí's Barcelona


Though Spanish Revival is a beast of it's own, I'm poaching its credible title to announce this Mod & Bean comeback - one of perhaps epic proportions (I'm talking travel photos galore). Though not as much pomp but definitely a lot of circumstance prevented me from keeping up a few weeks worth of Mod Mondays, much like Gossip Girl, I'm back and better than ever - sans the digital tormenting, of course.

I present to you the first of several installations reporting on the art, the architecture, and the adventures of 10 days in Spain, generously afforded by the History of Art & Architecture Department at Harvard for the sophomore concentrators.

Adventures included days spent at the Prado and Reina Sofia (before and after public hours, wow!), trips to every grand Cathedral, Mosque, and Synagogue imaginable to celebrate Spain's convivencia, and scaling these skyscrapers for behind the scenes aerial views of Spain.

For ease of photo upload and narrative arch, I have broken down this trip regionally, focusing on the major cities of Barcelona, Madrid, and Sevilla as the anchors of the posts. Each post will deliver sites and stories from that spot, including the itineraries of those days at the end for more specific citations. Today's post? A review of Gaudí's Barcelona - a visionary known for his gargantuan and fantastical structures that manage to consume you and transport you into another universe. Though we viewed images of his work throughout the whole semester in class, nothing could compare to the overwhelming nature of approaching one of these curvilinear structures and instantly feeling like both an alien and an ant inside. I'm not saying that the sleep deprivation from the day's travel helped to make these buildings trippier, but I'm also not not saying it. 

Fresh off the plane we slipped into Casa Milá, passing my personal favorite, House of Bones (Casa Batlló) on the way. At each stop, we usually had some peer presentations, so don't just think we're nerds who carry books to every site we saw, we had to do that ;) 

For Casa Milá, roof access was available to all those curious - and what a curious sight indeed:

From a peak we went to a valley, Parque Güell  to be exact, where I marveled at the colorful nature of humans when you zoom out and see them as "sprinkles on the ice cream of life" (to quote my insta caption that day). 

To finish this bit of exploration, we ended with the un-finished Sagrada Familia: a Cathedral of colossal stature.

As we all looked up, and spent the week doing so, you can look forward to plenty more jaw-dropping views and typical shenanigans in the days to come. 

Welcome back!

Xx, Maia

Barcelona Day 1:

  • Casa Milá (La Pedrera)
  • Parque Güell 
  • Sagrada Familia