Quynh T. Nga Chung (Elsa): Ida España 2022

Xin chào!

Hello from Vietnam
Photo by Yen Dang // CC by 4.0

Elsa Chung is an international student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is currently a senior pursuing a double-major degree in International Business and Marketing. Coming to the U.S. from the other side of the globe, she was beyond excited, yet nervous, to begin her new journey as a university student four years ago. Years passed, Elsa now finds herself to grow into a much more independent and matured girl, which she is really proud of, after being far away from home. 

Moreover, she is a true advocate of self-love and always seeks to spread positivity. In her free time, you will find her either dancing to K-pop songs or hanging out with friends. On top of that, Elsa’s pleasurable pastime is traveling and exploring as many fascinating sites as possible throughout the nation or across the world. With that being said, you wouldn’t be surprised seeing her taking pictures of every single thing on the go. For her, photos serve to be a precious remembrance of all expeditions. 

Commercial Trade Between US and Spain


The United States of America is widely known for being the “melting pot” of various cross-cultural affiliations due to its huge effect on the immigration system. Immigrants across the globe came to the nation with the visualization of “American dreams” in their heart and mind, hoping to indulge themselves in the thriving essence of the most powerful country.

Among all of the diverse cultural implications, the Spanish invasion and settlement of the US have contributed significantly to the historical, economical, societal, political,.., aspects giving rise to an immense influence upon the initial exploration and establishment. Today, Spanish heritage continues to remain as a strong and dominant legacy in the nation. It’s a matter of fact that the Spanish have left substantial marks on the economic aspect of the United States, especially the early transfer of cattle and livestock.

Agricultural Aspect: Cattle and Livestock Management

 Borja Cardelús, “Manejo del ganado en las marismas“, From the collection of: 
Spanish Legacy in the United States of America

The early Spaniards brought tremendous quantities of cattle, sheep, and horses which later created a basis for American cattle and sheep industries, alongside the horse supplying its own kind of significance in this market. 

At the very end of the Spanish regime, the Americans had successfully obtained acquisition over these hundred of thousands of farm animals. Particularly, Texas became home to the cattle industry, holding nearly 400,000 cattle with an estimated value of $1,500,000. (“Material Heritage – Google Arts & Culture”) This was for the first time in the history that Texas held such affluent wealth, making its cattle industry flourish concurrently with the whole economic, political, and social growth of the State.

 Borja Cardelús, “Vaquero con rebaño de ovejas“, From the collection of: 
Spanish Legacy in the United States of America

 During the 10-year-period between 1846 and 1855, the value of cattle and horses skyrocketed from $2,929,322 to $16,916,833 with an equivalent to 1,603,146 in quantities. Hence, it was reasonable to assume that the market value of cattle and the wealth acquired to the later American were actually inherited from the Spanish settlement and procedure. In reality, the Americans indeed were functioning under the Spanish with all the fixed title, land, limits, and range rights. 

Of all the cattle elements brought by the Spaniards the outstanding component that highly boosted the performance of both the Indian economy and whiteman’s history was the horse- a familiar economic unit that served as a transportation and communication mode, contributing huge profits. This animal then became the fundamental medium of exchange with white traders.

US Trade Patterns with the Spanish Empire 

During the neutrality years of 1793-1808, it was brought to attention that the United States derived its prosperity from the nation’s double role as both supplier and middleman to European nations to cope with the ongoing war and colonies matter. (“Western Colonialism – Spain’s American Empire | Britannica”). To fulfill the demand, an extensive amount of silver and ships from Spanish America were necessary to finance the penetrating trade. 

Johann Moritz Rugendas, Español: El rapto (El Malón),
A mounted Mapuche carrying off a Spanish woman. ”

Numbers and figures emphasized the merit of commodity exchange with the Spanish “Indies”, yielding favorable earnings and profits to the nation. There were numerous economic factors that contributed to the impressive gains during the neutrality periods and following turns to net deficit positions afterward. Some of the determinants were associated with the climatic and geographical conditions, forming the direction and distribution of trade under the spur of profit maximization. 

During the naval warfare happening between the UK and Spain, North American manufacturers charged higher prices when in fact tropical goods that were no longer shipped to Spain turned out to be comparably plentiful. It was already predicted that the Spanish war with England (1812-1815) would drive the import prices much higher than domestic exports. Hence, moderately pleasant trade terms were inadequate to outweigh the structural deficits in the equilibrium of trade volumes.

Nevertheless, the merchandise balances with Spain were in good favor of the US during the years of peace. It was indeed held nearly neutral in the late 1810s. (Esteban, 527) The reason for that was due to the fundamental elements framing the balances of cargo and fixed value per ton. Moreover, it’s important to note that climatic and geographical conditions distinctive to the translation with the Indies enabled proficient use of cargo space within a predominantly bilateral exchange of tropical products between the domestic and foreign manufacturers. 

However, in the case of Spain, North American staples like flour, rice, and codfish were actually produced widely across Europe. Additionally, Spanish wines and spirits did have nearby alternatives in its own country and Mediterranean areas. (“Western Colonialism – Spain’s American Empire | Britannica”) In fact, several ships destined to peninsula harbors unfortunately might return home carrying whole Spanish merchandise although the order was one of multilateral exchange.

 Therefore, captains whose goals were profit-maximization were prudent to discharge goods with the highest prices. In order to gain the finest possible return, the strategy was to gather returned shipments and attempt to sell their ships in considerably reachable markets at the lowest attainable price. The favored position of ships returning back to the U.S ports with Spanish goods loaded would give rise to the positive estimates of export minus imports.

Moreover, to negate conflicting patterns of relative prices, gigantic re-exports of sugar and coffee guaranteed positive joint balances freight and constant value per ton at all times. 

The preceding interpretation has pinpointed a collection of structural patterns in commodity flows and configuration, alongside inferred deviations in relative prices, which helped explain the realized trends in the merchandise balances with both the Indies and Spain, The sequence of current trade values at departure’s ports expressed an explicitly repeating pattern. During war times, a larger corresponding surge in export values made for great surpluses against the Spanish Empire.

As animosity came to an end, trade values declined, leading to the negative balances with the Indies and practically neutral with Spain. Unfortunately, increasing re-exports during hostilities barely bring about positive balances. This was also the same case with the effort of expanding imports to bolster the carrying trade. As a result, a minor correlation between exports and imports values over the cycle would generate nothing but a tautology.

Perhaps the formation of cycles in the trade balance shaped by the divergent rate of change in commodity values is best explained by economic terms. Despite the importance of supply shifts, price and income elasticity of demand have a huge impact on the cycles as well. A successful export happens when consumers are willing to pay reasonable prices to offset the production and delivery costs. 

Especially in the markets of the US and Spain, prices dropped with rising import quantities during warfare whereas climbed over as volumes sank during peacetime. Therefore, both upturns and downturns of trade balances were due to a more foreign elastic demand for US products exports than for its domestic imports. The immediate effect of dropping prices in quantity demanded during wartime was thought to be altered by an indirect impact on incomes. 

Cheaper imports gave rise to increased purchasing power in the Indies provoked greater fluctuations in demand for income-elastic manufacturers equipped across the northern territory than for agricultural essentiality. On the other hand, declining real incomes resulted in demand falling for commodities. 

Even though the influence of price and income both contributed to positive balances against the Indies during warfare, the favorable effect of plunging prices on Spain’s imported goods could have been discouraged by poor purchasing power within the peninsula.

For measuring the standard responsiveness of percentage changes in export quantities respective to price and real income in the Indies, figure 6 displayed the log-linear demand function through several regressions of fixed values on current prices and approximate purchasing power. (Esteban, 531) The coefficients best follow the hypothetical assumption that demand for US exports, especially during wartime, was elastic to changes in prices and fluctuated hand-in-hand with real incomes. Previously anticipated, demand for tropical crops closely followed the rule of price-inelastic to changes in real income. This also applied to key commodities such as sugar and molasses. 

Furthermore, current prices at Cadiz and Malaga (southern Spain) were gathered and interpreted into a weighted index from documents of Corredores de Lonja and other resources. Periodically references were standardized by the calendar rather than by fiscal years starting October 1st, in order to grant time lags between entries of home duties and the merchandise sale in Spain.

As can be seen from the top panel of Figure 6, regularly contrary variations in price and volume reveal the presence of eminently elastic demand for home exports from the US to Spain during 1795-1819 (bottom panel of Table 2).

Considering the import perception, the US market’s demand for Spanish products in that same period was in fact less elastic than anticipated for Spanish demand for exports. Domestic prices and volumes expectedly progressed in opposite directions during the reconciliation of Amiens in the initial years of the Spanish War of Independence and at the climax of the Anglo-American combat (1812-1815)

Surprisingly, at the end of the first naval war (1796-1801), import prices increased slightly than declining with climbing volumes, and oscillated at low levels with descending than ascending import volumes throughout the second war (1804-1808). Because of that, the comparative effect of import and export elasticities on the trade balances cannot be analyzed to an explicit extent. Therefore, additional factors shall be brought into consideration. 

Roughly constant import prices during 1799-1801 were due to great re-exports of Spanish wines and spirits to the Indies. After that, in 1805-1807, declining import quantities were persistent with a plausible swell in direct transaction between the two nations. Although larger demand for elasticities for exports than imports demonstrate most phases in the merchandise balance with Spain, the whole six years of naval warfare seemingly lie on the abundant demand elasticities capture on export position, as well as fundamental attributes of the acceleration and development of the re-export commerce.  

During the early stages of the naval warfare between England and Spain, the US merchants enjoyed high profit levels because of the scarcity of importable goods in contrast to the abundance of exportable goods. However, with the rebound to harmony, a reverse effect was performed upon the competition from Spain followed by Britain. 

José Casado del Alisal: Spanish victory at Bailén (painted in 1864)

Similarly, commerce earnings with Spain flourished in war and dwindled in peace. However, not until the middle years of the Peninsular War of Independence did the non-merchandise sector reach its summit. (Costeloe, 15)

Although shipment costs on longer journeys were supposedly higher, taking into account the carrying expenses, the critical element that yielded higher earnings was apparently the tonnage unit of freight cost. Specifically, the transport rate arrived at its climax amid the peninsula.

Noticeably, during 1808-1813, there seemed to be a rising trend of rates, yet still not much higher compared to the previous decade. Furthermore, a vital impact on earnings during eras of high trade values was credited to insurance premiums on the way to Spain. Nonetheless, these premiums plunged after 1808 and stayed at a relatively low level until 1813. Conversely, there prevailed a surge in export volumes during the three years 1810-1813. It was most likely the result of hunger relief in the settled peninsula. 

Though profits derived from net earnings were not easily determined, evaluation for five major export staples approximately revealed an average annual return on the larger share as part of the total export to Spain. (middle panel). In a nutshell, the non-merchandise section of net earnings from Spain sufficiently enhanced the overall returns when most needed to either fund re-export transactions or resolve deficits.

In general, trading with Spain was beneficial and thought to be an essential remedy amid a high probability that international indebtedness would rise to a default. Realistically, actual benefits were not enough to compensate for potential gains. The lingering effect of carrying trade was significant that acted as boundaries set by periodic restoration in Spanish colonial commerce. 

During the mid-1790s, home exports were in an unfavorable position as a consequence of lagging responses in the food supply. The unhidden reasons were due to long gestation periods and a substantial rise in domestic freight rates. Therefore, commercial trade with the Indies deteriorated because of the high import values per consignment ton. Consequently, there was a cut in surpluses with Spain due to falling transaction courses. Exceptionally, these downfalls worsened during the period of the strengthening of foreign elastic demand for smaller exports, resulting in lower gains on cargo, insurance, and profit. Without an extensive manufacturing headquarter at home, foreign greatest earnings were deemed to come from the sale of cotton grown on previously Spanish lands.


On a final note, the US economy was heavily influenced by the foreign sector, especially while trading with Spain. Major factors that contributed to the local wealth national income were certainly thanks to the high feasibility of exports of agricultural products and the shipbuilding movement. Financial status against the Spanish Empire was more valuable than estimated net commodity flows. Although profits from the Indies eventually became losses after, growing surpluses from Spain during the Peninsular War of Independence secured pleasing net balances with the Empire. 

Taking everything into account, the US’s unfavorable debtor position to the rest of the world wouldn’t have been resolved without positive earnings affiliated with these foreign trades. In particular, high inflows of precious metals with the Spanish Empire have stimulated financing greater levels of imports and re-exports. 

Works Cited

“Material Heritage – Google Arts & Culture.” Google Arts & Culture, Google Arts & Culture, 2013, artsandculture.google.com/story/uQUxRjQQjwAA8A

Esteban, Javier Cuenca. “Trends and Cycles in U.S. Trade with Spain and the Spanish Empire, 1790-1819.” The Journal of Economic History, vol. 44, no. 2, 1984, pp. 521–543, www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/2120728.pdf.

Webster, Richard. “Western Colonialism – Spain’s American Empire | Britannica.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 2022, www.britannica.com/topic/Western-colonialism/Spains-American-empire. 

Yun-Casalilla, Bartolomé. “The American Empire and the Spanish Economy: An Institutional and Regional Perspective.” Revista de Historia Económica / Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History, vol. 16, no. 1, Mar. 1998, pp. 123–156, www.cambridge.org/core/journals/revista-de-historia-economica-journal-of-iberian-and-latin-american-economic-history/article/abs/american-empire-and-the-spanish-economy-an-institutional-and-regional-perspective/7BB53B9368658E5C897A77FE8A6E1593#access-block, 10.1017/s0212610900007072. 

Costeloe, Michael. “Spain and the Latin American Wars of Independence: The Free Trade Controversy, 1810-1820 on JSTOR.” Jstor.org, 2017, www.jstor.org/stable/2513829?seq=1.

Elsa Chung : Vuelta España 2022

To be honest, it took a lot of courage for me to register for this Espana Study Abroad with FIU Honors College. In reality, I received questions like “Aren’t you already studying abroad as an international student in the US?”. Yes, that’s definitely right. So what made me move forward with the decision of participating in another study abroad program? Since it’s the last summer of my undergraduate college life, I want it to be special to the point that when looking back, I will always be reminded of how cool my journey at FIU was, not only covering academic aspects within the campus but also, taking into account all of the extracurricular activities I did. 

Photos by Nhi Truong // CC by 4.0

Being an international student means being familiarized with staying far from home, living independently, making my own decisions, and doing everything by myself and for myself. Hence, I thought there wouldn’t be much difference when coming to Spain since I’m so used to studying abroad. Additionally, I did have many chances to take part in another summer study abroad program to different nations while I was in middle school at a really young age, eleven to be specific. Nonetheless, for those times, I was going with a group of other Vietnamese students who speak the same language and share the same culture but in a foreign country. 

This time was a whole new different experience. I am the only non-US citizen nor have any connection to historical or cultural roots in Spain. All of my family were born and raised in Vietnam, a Southeast Asia developing country. I consider our traditions and customs to be very conservative which is contradictory to the Western culture, either American or European countries. Therefore, traveling with a group of Americans in an alien nation posed a real challenge to me. 

“This is a class, not a vacation!”- Professor John Bailly shouted as a notice that we are here to continue studying the influence of Espana on the Americas (Vuelta). “But I’m not even American” – I thought to myself in a confused manner. In all fairness, I found myself lost several times visiting historic sites carrying deep-rooted values associated with Americans and Spaniards. 

Apart from that, the purpose of this project is designed to be a reflection on our “personal and societal commonalities and differences with Spanish history and culture”. To my realization, I certainly fall under the category of not having any link and relation to its practices. Even though this can be unfavorable to me, I will try my best to turn it into an opportunistic circumstance as a person first exposed to Spanish roots, tales, and customs, curiously exploring this civilization with a fresh state of mind and freely embracing what the cities have to offer.


the capital’s premier park

On our first walking lecture in Madrid, we visited El Retiro, the city’s green lungs with a total area of 152 hectares and is made up of more than 15,000 plants. To me, it is more than just a park. There were many stalls of books situated next to one another on an upward hill leading to the main entrance. This literary spot was known as Cuesta de Claudio Moyano. The first stall I went across was a booth for tourists where multiple travel guides appeared in the form of colorful pamphlets, leaflets, and brochures were displayed. These guides presented popular attractions and were divided into categories like Art & Culture, Parks & Gardens, Tapas & Markets,… All of these recommended directories were complimentary so feel free to grab some of them! 

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

The purpose of this huge urban park was to be enjoyed by King Felipe IV in the middle of the 17th century. Despite being partially destroyed during the War of Independence, the park regained its charm and elegance, eventually opening to the public. 

Interestingly, there were numerous sites to view in El Retiro, including symbolic monuments, art galleries, lakes, statutes, and majestic buildings. On top of that, this is such an ideal place for recreational activities. From my observation, I saw people coming there doing different kinds of tasks. As for inner peace practice, reading books, doing yoga, painting or meditating are the best forms of relaxation. Otherwise, upbeat activities like running, dancing, playing sports, rollerblading, and performing music are also very common. Since this is a major site, there will always be a spot for you to do whatever you want. 

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

We were so lucky that we lived just 20 minutes from El Retiro. Hence, we decided to come back there and held a late birthday celebration for our dear Catherine as an intimate picnic. It was absolutely one of the highlights of my trip that we had so much fun that night. Stories told, laughs shared, tears shed were what made us become so much closer.

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

 While having fun, I did notice that our group stood out the most among all of the ones on the lawn. We talked loudly, made jokes, and sang songs, that the others did not. They gave us kind of a judgmental look and I bet they could tell that we were tourists. At that moment, I was aware that even though this is a public park, people here are very cautious about keeping the place in calmness and tranquility, respecting the societal zone in this nature-appreciation site.

If I were asked to pick a favorite spot of Retiro, it would definitely be the Estanque lying in the heart of the park – an artificial lake where visitors can rent rowboats and take gorgeous pictures. Just lingering around the lakeside and listening to an impromptu jazz band was already delightful. The extravagant monument overlooking the lake is a remembrance of Alfonso XII, the Peace-Maker King. In full military regalia and mounted, he stands atop the 30-meter-monument and surveys the surroundings. 

As a flower-lover, of course, I couldn’t miss La Roselada (Rose Garden) – an angelic land that forms an elliptical shape, hidden in a corner of the park. This glorious land is the work of Cecilio Rodriguez, to recreate the charmingly graceful rose gardens raised in other dominant European capitals. Thousands of roses of favored varieties welcome visitors enthusiastically. The moment I stepped into the garden, I was awestruck by its fabulousness.

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

Exiting La Roselada, the statue of the Fallen Angel being exiled from Hell stood contradictorily. While the Rose Garden is a heavenly place, no one could expect to encounter Satan just by walking distance from it. This is said to be the one-of-a-kind sculpture in the world representing the devil, situated at 666 meters above sea level purposely. The fountain is a work of Ricardo Bellver for his inspiration of Milton’s Paradise Lost, depicting God’s punishment on Lucifer by being cast into hell. Not only is the sculpture praised for its materials and designs, but also for the artistic value of the expressions on the face and other enigmatic details. The angel’s body is surrounded by a seven-headed serpent, an emblematic animal for the devil. 

The garden, which is located on the banks of the River Manzanares, was first a botanical collection owned by King Ferdinand VI in 1755 when botany was a royal pastime. Later on, during the reign of King Charles III, it was moved to its present location, on the Paseo del Prado. The reason for the change of site was due to the King’s wish to build a complex devoted to Madrid’s natural sciences. Until now, its scientific essence still holds as it is being looked after by Spain’s National Scientific Research Research Council. 

As my group mates and I entered the garden, we were all in awe of the distinctive plants, flowers, and herbs all around the world. Interestingly, each of them has a label detailing the exact name, species, and its origin. In particular, the first frame of the garden features ornamental plants like daffodils, hellebores, camellias, rhododendrons, tulips and salvias. These flowers can be seen from February up to December because of the wide range of species and varieties. A flowering calendar table of each type is shown at the front of this section. 

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

Our walk to the garden was full of excitement and curiosity. Each small path led us to an unexpected spot where we thought we were in a maze looking for little surprises. Within this 8-hectare-garden, approximately more than 5,600 species of live plants are distributed into specific terraces and greenhouses. The gigantic greenhouses are among some of the most noticeable structures. The Exhibition (Display) Greenhouse, namely, faithfully captures the spirit and soul of this institution. Here, a thousand species are cultivated in different regions: tropical, desert, and warm weather.

My favorite section of the greenhouse was the “room” full of various types of cacti. This was my first time seeing this many cacti species in reality. In fact, I didn’t even know cacti come in so many shapes and sizes. Wandering to the end, we encounter this so-called “Estufa de las Palmas” – a special exhibition of plants that couldn’t stand outdoor conditions, such as ferns and mosses. There was also a small pond containing little aquatic plants and animals like water lilies and frogs.

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

For me, the whole cool shady ambiance with mist spraying all over recalled the exact vibe of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami at night. It was like a perfect escape from the intense heat burning outside. What I love most about coming to the botanic garden is that it’s not merely an exhibition of plants but a place to learn botanic in-depth, appreciate the discovery of new species, and be able to classify them. 

 In 1942, the Real Jardin Botanico was proudly declared an Artistic Garden. On top of that, a significant botanical research center is also being housed by the garden as an academic institution studied by scientists and graduate students. The main goal is to interpret the diversity of plants as well as how it can be preserved. Especially, with the assistance of up-to-date technology, this research is mainly focused on Spanish and American flora.


a historical neighborhood full of narrow, winding medieval streets

With a history of more than 2,000 years, the charming Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) is one of the most well-known neighborhoods of the whole city. The area, full of charisma and intriguing history, embraces the oldest components of Barcelona, including the remnants of the Roman wall and many dominant medieval landmarks.

The Quarter has a special position where it is bounded by the port to the south, Les Rambles to the west, and the major Plaça de Catalunya in the northeast. Its medieval networks of small, winding alleyways and secret plazas enchant both residents and visitors.

Constructed on the foundations of Barcino, a flourishing Roman colony established there in the first century B.C., the Gothic character of the neighborhood did not emerge well until the Middle Ages. Not until then that new churches and palaces were framed in this architectural style. 

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

Surprisingly, here comes the secret: despite being “real” Gothic for a significant era of its history, historians claim that several monuments and landmarks we see today are actually neo-Gothic. Proof givens are they were, in fact, built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Cathedral of Barcelona, whose current façade dates from 1913 construction, is arguably the most well-known example.

The Portal del Bisbe (Bishop’s Gate), one of the primary Roman gateways to the Old City, is the notable entrance to the Gothic Quarter. The towers were built in the first century BC, but the adjoining Bishop’s Palace from the 18th century is where the name came from. The city’s Roman name, “Barcino,” is written in sculpted letters by Catalan artist Joan Brossa.

Located in the city’s heart, Barri Gòtic harmonizes historic artifacts dating back to the time it was ruled under the Romans through the Spanish Civil War with a thriving contemporary culture of artisan stores and legitimate food experiences. Zealous tourists will be delighted to uncover quaint terraces and an “alive” plaza surrounded by several small restaurants, bars, and local musical performances up until late at night. 

If Barcelona were to have a defined character, its distinct “personalities” and aesthetics would be certainly portrayed by Antoni Gaudi, an eminent Catalan architect who spent most of his life “shaping” the city. This Spanish-born artist incorporated some of his featured works into emblematic structures and symbolic buildings. Of those, one of his early projects upon graduating recall the street lamps in Placa Reial – the noble square. Today, even though they might appear insignificant in contrast to the enormous palm trees and encircling clubs, and cafes, the lamps still stand recognizably as Gaudi’s iconic creations.

The plaza is said to be one of the most lively and bustling spots of the city, especially at night. The young Gaudi’s two streetlamps are located on either side of the central fountain, surmounted by a dragon and a winged helmet. The royal palm trees embellish the square, adding a little tropical vibe.

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

Situated on each side are identical aristocratic buildings with porticoes and terracotta decorations. Used to be the residence of prominent Barcelona families, the site now, unfortunately, loses its affluent presence to a bohemian setting.

Local residents and tourists come here most often during lunchtime. Captivated by the lively ambiance, I and my three other friends (Juli, Jeanine, Leah) stopped at an Italian restaurant with Mediterranean essence called Rossini in the square for lunch. Having authentic food in Barcelona’s main square was a unique experience. As we were enjoying our food, there were street performers and acrobats going around and performing in each section. Professional, skillful, and enthusiastic were what impressed us.

Sitting there and indulging in the vibrant atmosphere reminded me of the exact same feeling of sitting in Plaza Mayor in Madrid. These are both the grandest square in each city and I was glad that I chose to stop by a restaurant or a cafe to oversee the whole spirited vibe. Suddenly a random question popped up in my head “Why are there so many plazas and squares in Spain?”

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

I then realize that all squares are located in the heart of the city that contain many major buildings, monuments, and sculptures,… telling the rich history of the respective communities. These plazas are deeply incorporated into Spanish society, serving as public gathering places and a central site for cultural festivals, celebrations, or special occasions.

By their names, they usually come in the shape of a square or a semi-circle with the main structure, statue, landmark, or fountain being placed in the center. The custom of having in the heart of each city dates back to a royal order issued by the country’s Spanish monarchs that every city needed a central gathering place. As a result, plazas developed into locations for markets, local stores, public executions of justice, celebrations of specific occasions, and even theater performances.

Carpe Diem

Professor John William Bailly

All in all, three weeks in Spain have been an absolutely amazing experience that I will never forget. Not only did I learn so much about this beautiful country from its history, culture, society, custom, architecture, religion, and influence,… but I also made the most precious memories with all the people in my Study Abroad program.

Like our professor has said “These memories will never be replicated.” – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment that you will only experience once. I feel extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to engage in this meaningful trip and grow so much as a person, a learner, and a traveler. At the end of the day, time flies, people leave but memories will stay forever.

Shall we end our journey with “Carpe Diem”? Since you only live once (YOLO), make the most out of it by living in the present, enjoying every single moment, and do not worry about what the future holds. For me, this can be done by traveling, stepping out of your “continent”, going to different nations with a whole different culture, and explore to the fullest.

Adios Espana and I hope to see you again! 

Works Cited

“Barcelona’s Plaça Reial.” Barceló Experiences, 9 June 2021, https://www.barcelo.com/guia-turismo/en/spain/barcelona/things-to-do/placa-reial-barcelona/.

“El Retiro Park.” Official Tourism Website, https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro.

“El Retiro Rose Garden.” Official Tourism Website, https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/la-rosaleda-de-el-retiro.

Insightguides.com, https://www.insightguides.com/destinations/europe/spain/barcelona/city-areas/barri-gotic.

“Real Jardín Botánico – CSIC.” Museums – The World Museums Network, http://museu.ms/museum/details/17547/real-jardn-botnico-csic.

“Statue of the Fallen Angel of El Retiro, the so-Called Gateway to Hell.” Fascinating Spain, 24 Sept. 2021, https://fascinatingspain.com/place-to-visit/what-to-see-in-madrid/statue-fallen-angel-retiro-gateway-hell/.

Elsa Chung : España as Text 2022

Pre – Trip Panic Attack

Photo by Cat Carrasco // CC by 4.0

As an international student from Vietnam, in order to be able to enter Spain and participate in this amazing study abroad program that I’ve been waiting for since registration, I need to obtain a Schengen Visa prior to my arrival. The whole process of getting the documents and applying for this was completely insane. I failed to get it in the U.S, leaving the only option is to fly back to my hometown and acquire it in the country of residence. The timing was super close that I only had one month to go over the procedure and start applying hoping I could get it on time… To be honest, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown not knowing if I could make it to the trip. My mind was blank and my heart race started to beat faster day by day. 

Thank God, I finally got my long-awaited visa exactly one week before the trip. One week of packing and preparing for this journey went by in a blink of an eye. Isn’t it surreal that I AM IN SPAIN right now, exploring all the corners of Madrid and living my best summertime?! The wait is over and now it’s my time to enjoy every moment of España.

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

“Puerta Del Sol – The Heart of Madrid”

By Elsa Chung of FIU Honors Spain Abroad on 14 June 2022

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

If Brickell is Miami’s bustling central business district, then Puerta Del Sol is definitely the heart of Madrid constructed as a lively paramount square. Meaning the Sun’s Gate in English, it’s known as a popular tourist gathering site for historical learning, cuisine tasting, favorable shopping,.., and many other activities they wish to do at the city’s essence.

Personally, the cutest thing I’ve seen at this square is certainly the bronze statue of the bulky bear standing on his feet sniffing at the tree. Surprisingly, it turned out to be that this is actually the symbol of Madrid – El Oso y el Madroño – translated to be the bear and the strawberry tree. These two symbolic icons were chosen by a king. To his proposal, the strawberry tree (representing trees and woodlands) were the city’s precious property that was strongly believed by early Europeans to be a helpful remedy for an epidemic. On the other hand, the bear was a commemorative tribute that was once killed by the king while hunting. Its courage and daring when facing death brought huge attention to him that later on, he decided to use it as a remembrance. 

The diagonal direction of the statue marks the geographical center of Spain – both the city and nation’s Kilometer Zero. Located on the pavement in front of the Case de Correos (the House of Governor which used to be a Post Office), this stone lab is a legit scale to measure all distances across Spain. 

Our walking lecture continued to the Plaza Mayor, another predominantly spectacular square of Madrid enclosed by red and yellow buildings with tall porches around the plaza. On the north side sits the Casa de la Panaderia, the municipal and cultural building. Ever since the completion, the construction acted as the city’s most eminent bakery. Right in the center of the square is the equestrian statue of King Philip III – a valued gift from the Duke of Florence to the King of Spain.

On the day of our class tour to this remarkable neighborhood, we got to this remarkable neighborhood at around 9 a.m. and it’s surprising how most of the stores and restaurants were not open yet. The streets and the walkways to this well-known tourist site were nearly empty with barely any other people except us. Hence, it came to my realization that Spanish people probably start their days late because of longer days in the summertime where the sun doesn’t go down until 10 p.m.

Hence, three days later, me and my classmate – Cat – decided to come back to Sol in the afternoon ( 5 a.m.) and everything just got so much busier compared to our first visit. We noticed restaurants and stores filled with customers, streets filled with tourists and busking performances,… The atmosphere was just great with so many activities going on. What a bustling spirit to wander around and catch a glimpse of this charming district!

“A Dream Comes True”

By Elsa Chung of FIU Honors Spain Abroad on 18 June 2022

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

As soon as I got off the bus, a spectacular scenery appeared right in front of me as if I thought it was just a kind of an architectural structure that stands majestically at the gate entrance. To my astonishment, it turned out to be much more than that, which is called to be the Aqueduct of Segovia, a water-conveyance structure built under the Roman Empire. 

This powerful structure is surely the city’s symbol that welcomely “greets” tourists once they enter Segovia. It acts as a dominant “bridge” that supplied water from the Frio River to the city in the 20th century. About the design, the pillars and the two-tiers arches are made of stable blocks of stone. An interesting fact about these stones is that they fit jointly without the use of cement! In fact, the lower arches adjust in height in correspondence to the overall construction’s adaptation to the contours of the surface.

Despite being built in the second half of the first century A.D, the Aqueduct is well-preserved until the present times and was proudly recorded as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. Today, the Aqueduct still stands eminently at the marvelous location of Segovia and I would never stop being in awe of its beauty every time I look at this wonderful structure.

Apart from that, I’ve always been such a huge fan of Disney and little did I know that the first Disney castle dedicated to the appearance of Snow White was actually inspired by Alcazar de Segovia! For me, being able to see and step into this gorgeous fairy-tale inspiration is a DREAM COMES TRUE. 

Used to be a Roman fort, the castle went through multiple reformations by each following ruling culture. Historically, its functional constructions were to be a fortress, a palace, a prison, and the Royal Artillery College. 

Especially, climbing up the narrow, winding stairs to get to the top was an absolutely cool-to-be-experience where I had to be extremely careful with the tiny steps and limited space. Once reaching the peak, the only sound I could make was “WOW“. The splendid mountain views and greenery nature scenery were all over the sight. Hence, Segovia has definitely had my heart where I fell in love at first sight.  


By Elsa Chung of FIU Honors Spain Abroad on 24 June 2022

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

To me, the “C” in Cordoba certainly stands for Colorful, which was also my very first impression of this alluring city. Of all visual elements, colors catch my attention the most, and so does this town. Peaceful and lively seem to be a contradictory component, but somehow, Cordoba is a perfect blend between serenity and dynamism.

From Madrid, we took a 1-hour-30-minute-train to Cordoba as a day trip before arriving at Sevilla later that night. Honestly, I had no clue nor any background knowledge about this brand-new city that I’ve never heard of. Apparently, Cordoba is a widely known capital of Islamic Spain in the Middle Ages and has proved to be the meeting point to learn as perceived by the Christians, Jews, and Muslims. 

To our amazement, La Gran Mezquita (The Great Mosque) was one of the highlights of this trip due to its “2-in-1”: originally built as a mosque but eventually converted into a cathedral. Remarkably, there is no exact separation between the two religions within the site. You could not witness by eye the physical barrier nor the transformation point at all. Thus, this religious site still does receive humiliation of holding a mosque under a church, or vice versa to the present day.

Before the Spanish Inquisition, Cordoba used to be a vital residential area for the Jewish community. The Jewish gate to this district opened up like a vibrant paradise gate for me as we entered. All of a sudden, the whitewashed walls painted with vivid colors reminded me of the pretty-much-alike-scenery of Santorini, Greece – where I’ve always dreamt of visiting.

I found my simple joy just by wandering around this Jewish quarter, exploring the local stores, cafes, restaurants and taking glamorous photos. Despite being an ancient city holding many precious vestiges of several religions, Cordoba still shines as a vigorous gem for its vibrancy and liveliness.

As a person who adores brightness and pigmentation, isn’t it lovely how every corner of Cordoba is bursting with colors and decorative flowers hanging on the wall? Initially visiting Cordoba with a blank mind but look at what this beautiful brought me: a great sense of pleasure and delightfulness.


By Elsa Chung of FIU Honors Spain Abroad on 24 June 2022

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

As soon as we started walking back to our housing, a cool summer breeze and humidity captured my curiosity. What an escape from the intense heat in Madrid! I was looking around to find where it came from and there it was! A huge river right across the street. And that was how Sevilla welcomed us pleasantly.

The whole city is situated on the Río Guadalquivir. Interestingly, it’s the only traversable river in Spain carrying an absolutely crucial role in the country’s history. A lot of significant events had happened right on this river: blockade, defenses, conquest, crossings…. In reality, the very first voyage around the world was actually from Seville initiated by Ferdinand Magellan in 1519. At that time, his goal was to circumnavigate the globe. 

During the era when Spanish invasion of America, Sevilla became the gateway to the Spanish Indies, meaning ships leaving and returning from Spain had to pass through Sevilla. Nowadays, the river serves as the symbol of the city with the prevalence of many maritime activities, making it the central hub for urban development with its unique cultural expressions.

On top of that, it would have been incomplete without mentioning Plaza de Espana – one of the most dominant squares of the nation. Originally, it was built with an aim to revive Spain’s greatness after the decline in prosperity and economy. The plaza has the distinct shape of a semicircle, enclosed by a row of yellow buildings, which are now used as government institutions. 

Especially, there are exact 52 benches and tiles representing each province, region of Spain. Another highlight is the huge fountain in the center surrounded by a serene canal with charming bridges. Visitors can absolutely rent a boat and enjoy a wonderful ride around this spectacular site, reminding me of Estanque Grande del Retiro (Madrid). 

As being in the center of Seville, the Plaza is a must-see architectural jewel where not only can you learn about history but also, having an opportunity to sit back and appreciate the charming Flamenco dance. For me, that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience with such great views, good music, and amazing dances. 

“A Charming Jewel on the Mediterranean”

By Elsa Chung of FIU Honors Spain Abroad on 10 July 2022

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

Located along the Mediterranean Sea, Sitges carries a lively compilation of glamorous whitewashed buildings with scenic beaches, lively nightlife and LGBT-friendly ambience – perfect for a satisfying getaway. Just within an hour away from Barcelona, the town is recognized as the St Tropez of Spain due to its opulent villas and gorgeous beaches. 

Among the collection of momentous galleries and museums, I discover the vital role Sitges plays in the flow of the Modernist art movement. Namely, the Cau Ferrat Museum was once home of the prominent figures of this Catalan movement – Santiago Rusiñol – displaying a distinguished collection of ancient paintings, artworks, sculptures… mainly made from antique ceramic, glass, and iron.

The building preserves flawless space and venerable works of art by famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, El Greco, … As a result, Cau Ferrat was witnessed as an iconic transformation in the Temple of “Modernisme”. With the participation of all leading artists, it established an aesthetic ensemble of how all art forms were highly revered in the “Modernisme” movement.

Apart from that, it will be a shortcoming without mentioning the transatlantic cultural exchange between Miami and Sitges. Having visited Charles Deering Estate in Miami and then coming to Palau Maricel and Cau Ferrat in Sitges, I noticed the intertwined architectural designs and multicultural structures. Because of being greatly influenced by the Catalonian culture in Sitges, Charles Deering decided to construct a Stone House at Deering, a reminiscence to both cherish Spain’s local tradition while maintaining his American identity. 

After all, Sitges is certainly a jewel on the Mediterranean that no one could miss when coming to Spain, especially Barcelona. It gathers all of the diverse components such as historic sites, glitzy beaches, flavorful restaurants, exclusive local stores and cultural festivals. It would absolutely be an ideal holiday destination that should be put as a must-visit on your travel bucket list!!!


By Elsa Chung of FIU Honors Spain Abroad on 4 July 2022

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

Unquestionably, Barcelona is the city that popped up immediately when thinking of Spain. It is the most well-known city with many popular tourist attractions not only nationally but within the whole Europe continent. Throughout the trip, my classmates and I were all counting down the days until we reached this fascinating city. From my observation, I could tell the great excitement clearly shown on their faces on the way there. “I AM SO READY FOR BARCELONA!” – screamed everyone. 

It is the capital and the biggest sovereign community of Catalonia – as distinctly expressed through art and architecture. The most notable landmark is certainly La Sagrada Familia – the enormous unfinished Roman Catholic church – designed by Antoni Gaudi. This masterpiece is broadly recognized as Spain’s symbolic icon and also is perceived as “by the people for the people”. 

The construction first started in 1882 and still continued to be in progress up until now, after over a century. The Basilica has three symbolic facades: Nativity, Passion, and Glory as representations of Christ’s Birth, Crucifixion, and Death respectively. Stepping inside, I was in absolute amazement of the colorful interior. This is one-of-a-kind cathedral that stands out the most out of the ones I visited in Spain.

Influenced by Catalan modernism, especially neo-gothic styles, art nouveau, and modernisme movement, Gaudi characterized his work in the freedom of form, delightful colors, and natural unity. The pillars were made in the structure of delicate and elegant tree trunks, depicting a glorious forest of columns and sparkled by bright colorful stained-glass windows. 

Besides, another superior monument that impressed me was Palau de la Musica, designed by Modernist Architecture Lluís Domènech i Montaner. As a flower lover, I admire the fact that there are more than 2,000 roses hidden throughout the entire building. At the center, the stained-glass ceiling represents the sun, the main concept of the design. The whole intention is to establish nature interaction, utilizing inexpensive materials to create marvelous artwork. 

Extraordinarily, the principal approach is to place an emphasis on movement. Since nature is not static, so is the interior, portrayed by a Pegasus statue, 18 sculptures of women playing musical instruments, tilted light, … All of these inspirational figures harmoniously express the calling for joy, beauty, and life. 

Personally, stepping into this concert hall was absolutely a world-class experience for me. It would be my dream to come back here, sit back, relax and enjoy the show. How wonderful it is to fully indulge in this remarkable site with the high-quality sound of magnificent instruments. Moreover, Catalunya’s flag is presented all over Palau de la Musica, as a reminder that Modernisme is an exclusive expression of Catalan cultural identity. 

Quynh T Nga Chung (Elsa): Miami as Text 2022

Xin chào!

Hello from Vietnam
Photo by Yen Dang // CC by 4.0

Elsa Chung is an international student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is currently a senior pursuing a double-major degree in International Business and Marketing. Coming to the U.S. from the other side of the globe, she was beyond excited, yet nervous, to begin her new journey as a university student four years ago. Years passed, Elsa now finds herself to grow into a much more independent and matured girl, which she is really proud of, after being far away from home. 

Moreover, she is a true advocate of self-love and always seeks to spread positivity. In her free time, you will find her either dancing to K-pop songs or hanging out with friends. On top of that, Elsa’s pleasurable pastime is traveling and exploring as many fascinating sites as possible throughout the nation or across the world. With that being said, you wouldn’t be surprised seeing her taking pictures of every single thing on the go. For her, photos serve to be a precious remembrance of all expeditions. 

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

” Not Just a Place of Living ”

By Elsa Chung of FIU at Deering Estate on 28 January 2022

My very first outdoor lecture was held at the mesmerizing Deering Estate on a beautiful Friday morning with Professor John Bailly alongside my Honors fellow classmates. Thankfully, the weather was super nice followed by a chilling breeze and not-so-sunny ambience. What a perfect day to get outside and explore this alluring site – a precious gem of South Miami.

Remarkably listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Deering Estate is a cultural property and historic venue in preservation of Charles Deering’s wealthy living life. We first stopped at Richmond Cottage and had a glimpse of this known-to-be one of the oldest wooden structure houses in Miami Dade. What impressed me most about this ancient house was certainly the vast display of liquors and wine collection in the mysterious basement.

Continuing our way to the Boat Basin, I couldn’t help falling in love with the spectacular scenery where the freshwater extends far into the bay surrounded by the radiant greenness of various trees and lawn. All of these natural elements at once created a sense of calmness and tranquility all over my soul. To my excitement, there came a playful splash of a huge sea creature named manatee, which was my first time hearing its name and seeing part of its presence, under the water. Undoubtedly, this couldn’t be a more perfect spot to enjoy a breathtaking view of the sunrise or sunset.

An outdoor lecture is not going to be that fun if not involving some sort of physical activity. We were led to a hiking tour deep into the Nature Preserve. As a person rarely gets a chance to be exposed to native plants and organisms, it was a one-of-a-kind experience for me to fully immerse myself in such a diverse wildlife. Some of the highlights of the hike were the prevalent mangroves community, the sharp shells that the Tequestra civilization used as a daily tool for their livings or the habitat for the moisture-loving plants called the solution holes,…  

Although it was only a short get-away from the usual classroom, I gained a handful of insights and real-time experiences throughout the excursion. The Deering Estate is not just a place of living but it proves to be a harmonious blend of historic civilization, diverse flora, fauna and distinct ecosystems. If I had a chance to come back here, kayaking in the Chicken Key is absolutely what I’m looking forward to. 

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

“An Everlasting Inheritance”

By Elsa Chung of FIU at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on 18 February 2022

To be honest, it was not until this third time of visiting Vizcaya that I actually gained some informative insights about this extravagant National Historic Landmark – a jewel that is known to be “Miami’s home”. The fact that this enormous estate was built by the wealthiest person in Miami at that time (1917), James Deering, with more than 1,000 builders already proves how magnificent and splendid the Villa is. The property solely immerses itself in the surrounding subtropical forest and the charming shores of Biscayne Bay. 

Upon arrival, we gathered around the statue of Ponce de Leon – a significant Spaniard who claimed “La Florida” for Spain. Deering’s intention for putting the sculpture right at the entrance was to indicate his desire of bringing Europe to the U.S. – as inspired by Italian and Mediterranean architectural designs. Since this is a deluxe heritage, we all pretended to be upper-class visitors and walked powerfully to establish a dramatic vibe when entering. 

 Stepping onto the patio (the central part), I caught myself in awe of the glass roof above alongside the greenness’s context of tropical flora. Despite being indoors, isn’t it amazing how we can feel a strong sense of connection between Mother Nature and classical compositions? Even more amusing is that you can literally catch wonderful sights of caravels at every direction you pivot while standing exactly in the center. Hence, it is not exaggerating to presume that Spanish caravel is Deering’s standard. 

The Main House’s interiors are ideal representations of historical remembrance and European antiques. It consists of all functional rooms such as reception, library, kitchen,music room, living room, dining room,… with most of the objects actually obtained from Europe (Italy, France) and put together into newly creative arrangements by the artists. Because Deering wanted all of the most modern and advanced elements in his residency, the house is well-equipped with telephone, elevators, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner, heating and ventilation systems… Therefore, any visitor could easily encounter a great harmony of modernity, aesthetics, comfort, and luxury. 

Built in the 20th century, Vizcaya is an optimal icon of not only a remarkably preserved historical site, but also a valuable home to Mediterranean’s art collections and iconic designs. Nowadays, Vizcaya is viewed as a serene oasis comprising James Deering’s lavish property and miraculous gardens alongside Biscayne’s spectacular shoreline. For me, it is truly a delightful European indulgence in an endearing American context.

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

“3D MIAMI: Diverse, Dynamic & Dazzling”

By Elsa Chung of FIU at Downtown Miami on 11 March 2022

Despite being around Downtown Miami many times, this was my first time to actually catch a glimpse of its interesting combination of historic venues and modern sites through my outdoor lecture guided by our knowledgeable professor John William Bailly. 

The Government Center was undoubtedly the transportation hub of the whole bustling city. It’s a perfect transfer station for the Metrorail, Metromover and Metrobus where you can easily hop on the vehicle and explore the central area. 

Walking towards the huge public artwork displays nearby, the color palette consisting of oranges, yellow, and green captured my attention because of its brightness in appearance and fragmented in sculpture. It captured the stage of orange slices and peels falling off the bowl and dropping to the ground in pieces. The meaning behind was the depiction of the execution, obtaining its arrangement to escape the seeming chaos following Miami’s expansion.

We then came across the Miami-Dade Courthouse where the monument of Henry Flager stood. He is widely known to be an important figure of the city’s history by bringing the first railroad here as well as making a vital contribution to the state’s economy through tourism and agriculture. Nonetheless, one should not forget his establishment of the Colored Town – setting the first step in race discrimination against colored people. 

After that, we walked all the way to the Miami River where it used to provide water in its purest form running from Everglades to the people here. It is also the branch isolating downtown Miami from today’s Brickell neighborhood. Historically, this was exactly where the earliest inhabitants, the Tequesta, sought for shelter and food along the riverbanks. More interestingly, in the past, many Spanish missions were actually held here during the Civil War.

Finally, I’m saving the best for last for this admiring, respected National Historic Landmark called the Freedom Tower – a true icon of independence and liberty for once oppressed people pursuing the American Dream. It first served as the Daily News Tower but then became the famous site for Cuban immigrants as where they got to actually be involved in this country. 

Apart from that, I found it to be extremely alluring that the Tower got its architectural design from the Giralda Tower in Seville, Spain, where I will have a chance to confront it in less than three months. Today, it’s a fully functional cultural heart of prominent national programs such as Miami Book Fair, Film Festival, Museum of Art and Design, …

Photos by Elsa Chung // CC by 4.0

“Lively Neighborhood

By Elsa Chung of FIU at South Beach on 1 April 2022

Miami is more than just beautiful beaches and white sands. This South Beach area featuring a vibrant neighborhood full of unique and iconic designs will definitely capture your attention at first sight.

Art Decor is an architectural heritage located along the Ocean Drive. It is indeed the nation’s first 20th century National Historic District. You can easily spot some of the signature design elements such as neon lighting, curved edges, rule of three, white facades, pastel highlights, glass bricks,… and more to be explored. 

The district is a diverse collection of vivid buildings in forms of both historic and modern structural styles. Anyone visiting Miami or South Beach could easily spot this eye-catching neighborhood through some surely noticeable features like geometric lines, chrome accents, window ¨eyebrows¨. Especially, it is best to gaze at the stunning Art Deco skyline across from Lummus Park.

Among all of the emblematic hotels, the blue Breakwater Hotel stood out to me the most. Undoubtedly, this is one of the most well-known boutique properties in this territory. Its structure showcases towers and vertical elements, which are highlights of the Art Deco revolution. The colors blue and yellow harmoniously blend into each other on top of the cream base bring about the vibe of ocean freshness and bright sunshine-exactly the representation of Miami, Florida. 

Prominently, this vibrant Art Deco historic district wouldn’t have existed without the leadership of Barbara Baer Capitman, whose vision is to preserve the area. Today, there are several construction gems that still stand strong and portray the retro affection of the whole era. 

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