On arrival, chaperones Elizabeth Adum and Alina Myers and students zipped through the airport in Madrid and headed to the old walled city of Ávila. They enjoyed seeing and listening to the strikers! All was very tame in Ávila: nothing like the striking shown on the news in Barcelona and Madrid.
From Ávila the group headed to Segovia and toured around the city, seeing the aqueduct, having lunch and then visiting the Alcazar (fortress/palace).
In Madrid, a fantastic visit to the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum. The students were able to see a number of paintings that Mrs. Adum and Mrs. Myers use in their teaching and it sunk in that these were the “real thing.” On the way to Toledo a stop in the town of Consuegra to see the windmills made famous by Cervantes: the very windmills Don Quijote fought! In Toledo they visited the synagogue of Santa María La Blanca, the Cathedral and the famous painting by El Greco, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz. While many of the students toured the city of Toledo, the boys in particular had a blast buying swords and knives, which they then had to figure out how to fit into their suitcases!
From Toledo the group headed to Sevilla by way of Córdoba where they toured the beautiful mosque. Then they were off to explore Sevilla, visiting the Alcazar, the María Luisa Park (feeding the pigeons) and the Plaza de España. That evening they enjoyed a flamenco show and from there it was back to the town of Dos Hermanas to stay with their Spanish families. Many were able to see one of the processions that are famous in Spain during Holy Week.
Here are some of the other highlights:
Valencia: City of Science, Calatrava’s architecture
Peñíscola: Mediterranean beach (looking towards the spit of high ground reaching out to the sea with a castle on top), playing beach volleyball, eating paella , driving the coast to Barcelona
Tarragona: Roman ruins and amphitheatre (overlooking the Mediterranean)
Montserrat: Benedictine Monastery (atop a mountain), statue of the black Virgin of Montserrat
Barcelona: Gaudi’s architecture - Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia Church and homes
It was a great trip with absolutely first-rate guides (Javier, Lola, Mario and Margaret)! The students loved to imitate their very distinctive personalities and “styles.” An experience of a lifetime!
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