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Iceland 2015 - Day 2 - part ii

Helga then shared some more of her country's history with us while we were on the bus.  The country was first settled in 874 with the first inhabitants coming from Norway - about 400 settlers, mostly men and some women.  They claimed their land by lighting bonfires (or dragging a cow) across an area within a 24 hour period.  Chieftains (we get the irony here) controlled land areas along the coast.  There were about 40 of them.  In 930, they decided they needed one law and they studied Norwegian governance to develop their own rules of law.

Two weeks each summer, all Chieftains with two advisors each, attended a summit to review, discuss, change and add laws.  This meeting point was selected with intent - and we got to enjoy a great visit to this area.  Spectacular photos!

In 1262, the area became part of Norway, and then, years later, part of Denmark, until becoming an independent country in 1944.  The former old meeting point of the Chieftains is a UNESCO Heritage site.

We saw the 'black line' cut the landscape - which actually is the point where the two continental plates met to form Iceland- the EUR-Asian plate and the North American plate.  Very cool to hear and see.

Earlier in the day, Professor Tyrrell took the bus microphone and shared with the group for a few minutes.  She had attended Stonehill for a year in the 1960s before transferring.  Only to return to teach Biology in 1973.  She credits remaining in touch with Fr. Francis Hurley, CSC (who taught so many Biology students over the years) as instrumental in her return to Stonehill.  Prof. Tyrrell spent the majority of her teaching career in the original science building but loves the new Shields Science Center on campus.  She has taught many courses over the years - many in Botany, Ecology and Marine Biology.  She also mentioned a few of the plants/flowers she has spied in Iceland so far.

We returned to the hotel in time for Happy Hour at the Beer Garden.  Some plan to attend Mass at Christ the King parish downtown. Emily and Robyn just departed for a horseback riding excursion - with promises of some amazing photos!

And, as we prepare for 'dinner on our own,' we are crossing our fingers for a successful Northern Lights excursion tonight!


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Barcelona - Dos

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First our morning started with an alarm - or a lack of one; as Mary Jane and Pat's room never received a wakeup call.  So everyone else was on the bus ready to go when they finally got a knock on the door.  What troopers they were, though!  In 15 minutes they were on the bus with everyone and not long after they were able to laugh at the 'chaos' of it all.

Our local guide Isabel was just delightful - and clearly has a love for her city.  She tells us that filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is from here as we begin our walk.

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Esther wo…

Granada - Dos

We next drove to downtown Granada where we checked into our hotel and had some free time.  Several of us met up with some special guests later while others explored the city on their own and enjoyed some of its finer offerings.

Our special guests were from the University of Granada's GRIIS Program - the one Stonehill has a partnership with for our students to spend a semester.  Amalia and Teresa work for GRIIS and they coordinated a lovely walk down the Avenido de Constitucion with Jessica '14 and Elyse '14 as well as Sara '12 (who has returned to Granada for a year after graduation to get post-graduate work done).  All five of them were welcoming and informative.  We saw some of the university and heard some history of the city, and some current facts as well:  300,000 people live in the city but 100,000 are students!!  This was apparent as the whole city has a college-town feel to it.

Check out more about the program:  GRIIS Program

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