Spain Middle School Service Adventure 2023
July 6- 7, 2023: Travel Day & Madrid
Buenas tardes familias!
Our long day started when most of us met up at JFK. Everyone arrived on time so we headed off to security. Even though there was a huge group of teens in front of us, it was very quick! Half of the group went to get Starbucks and the rest stayed behind to get food from other places before we boarded. Boarding was a breeze, too! Everyone’s seats were pretty close to each other. Even though it was an over-night seven hour flight no one seemed to get any sleep.
We arrived at about eight in the morning and everyone was very very tired. After getting our bags, we met one of the three people who were already in Spain. We also meet one more leader. Our group was coming together! We arrived at the hotel and after meeting the final two people in our group we went sight seeing. We saw the Royal Palace and the went to a shady park. After lunch we had some rest time and saw more of the city. Went went to Retiro Park and played some volleyball, name games, and created a group community contract. We went to a nice restaurant for dinner to fill our stomachs before we headed to bed to get the sleep that we had badly missed the night before!
July 8, 2023
Today, we began with zumo de naranja y pina (orange and pineapple juice) in the aesthetically pleasing lounge area of our hotel. Shortly after, we hopped in our petite bus and got on the road for our 3 hour trip to Amayuelas. We took off with a good start of Moana karaoke and Taylor Swift, getting a couple students on the bus microphone! About half way into our journey, we took a pit stop at a local supermercado (supermarket) to pick up some snacks and drinks. We then ate our snacks and played games on the bus with our fellow stuffed animal friend, “Gimble,” named after an important and valued mother figure in our community.
After arriving in Amayuelas, we got comfortable in our rooms of 8 bunk beds each. And, we enjoyed our lunch made up of locally sourced rice, chicken, salad, and bread. After digesting, we took a walk to the homeowners’ local farm and got to meet many animals and learn lots about how the community sustainably cultivates organic and non-GMO produce. We then ate dinner which consisted of a homemade and locally sourced zucchini soup and lamb/zucchini burritos. Un poco después, we took a walk to the palomar to conclude our day with a group meeting led by our group leader of the day, Hanna!
Your new best friends Nate and Charlotte
July 9, 2023
Buenos días everyone!
After an 8:00AM wake-up time we went to the dining room to enjoy a nice breakfast of bread and some fresh fruit. After our homemade breakfast, we then headed out to the local farm. There, we contributed to the work of a former Global Works group by building bricks made of adobe. It was a great mix of fun and work, and although there were some challenges, everyone was laughing when we left. After a quick break we started our next service act. With a group effort and some Christmas music we were able to move a ton of fire wood into a shelter in case of rain.
We then headed back to the house for a tasty lunch that consisted of a potato, pepper, and pork stew . After a couple hours of break time and playing some fun games we started learning how to make bread. We then each made our own bread with custom designs and started to make dinner which was pizza! The homemade dough was so fun to make! While the pizza was cooking we went to the next town over to play some soccer. At soccer, we met three local kids and enjoyed a nice and friendly match. After the soccer match, we headed back to the house to enjoy our pizza and some popsicles. To end the day we walked again to the palomar during the sunset to our nightly group meeting.
Sean and Matilda
July 10, 2023: Arrival at Canalejo
Today we had an early wake up at 8:00 am. We packed up from the beautiful house we stayed at in Amayuelas. Then after packing up and helping with the laundry we hauled ourselves onto the bus to head to Valladolid. But as a surprise Fabricio and Sean showed us to a beautiful sunflower field where we took some group pictures. We then arrived at a shopping center we did some shopping and ate lunch at a restaurant called VIPS where we drank some very extravagant milkshakes!
We shopped and explored a bit more and then we hopped back on the bus to drive to the cabins in Canalejo where we would be kayaking the next morning.
When we got to Canalejo we had a short meeting on the porch outside our cabins to talk about the day ahead, and then went to play on a playground that they had on the campgrounds. While we were playing on the playground some of us called our parents while others decided it would be best to call them at night. We then had some time to ourselves in the cabins and then we had a really nice walk to dinner. We ate dinner on a nice terrace in town. We then walked back and had a short meeting about the next day and then we all got ready for bed and gathered our stuff for tomorrow’s adventure.
Today was such a fun day!
See you tomorrow!
August and Bea
July 11, 2023: Kayaking in Cantalejo
Our first full day in Catalejo, we woke up early and ate a traditional breakfast while watching the running of the bulls, San Fermines, in Spanish. After that, we headed down to the kayaks after playing a quick game of camouflage. After kayaking for about an hour and a half and learning about historical sites, we arrived at a small beach and swam to rocks that we could jump off of! We ate paella and ice cream for lunch after the kayak trip and made bracelets before heading to the local community pool. There, we played volleyball with some local volleyball players!
We headed back and changed quickly before heading out to dinner of really good hamburgers, sandwiches, and desserts. Finally we went back and had our nightly meeting going over the itinerary! We went to bed, ready for tomorrow!
July 12, 2023: Historical Sites in Segovia
¡Buenos días desde Madrid!
Before leaving our lodging in Cantalejo, we ate a hearty breakfast while watching more footage from the running of the bulls. Eventually, we had to say goodbye to our cabins and started the hour and a half drive to the lovely city of Segovia. In Segovia, we took time to view the massive aqueduct that cuts across the city, while discussing the history of the Roman Empire. After walking for a few more minutes we saw the elaborate architecture of the Catedral de Segovia, and eventually made it to the Alcazar de Segovia, a beautiful castle that towered over the city. Of course, we got a photo of the group on top of the castle’s tower, with the majestic Segovia skyline in the background. Once we left the castle we took time to visit shops in downtown Segovia. As we passed through a little plaza, we were all shocked to find a little baby owl hanging out in the grass! It was a cute surprise and a great way to head into lunch!
For lunch we had a assortment of food that consisted lots of strong flavors and delicious veggies. After lunch we rode another hour to Madrid mostly sleeping the whole way, tired from our morning of sightseeing. We settled down in our rooms and some of the kids walked around with on of our leaders to look at stores near our hotel. Afterwards, our group got together for an amazing dinner at a Granada inspired restaurant. We had burrata salad, patatas bravas, huevos rotos, and paella. We then walked back to the hotel and got ready for some much needed sleep.
¡Adiós y buenas noches!
Ben and Hanna
July 13, 2023: We’re Back in Madrid!
¡Buenos días Global Works Familia!
When the day started, we came to La Biblioteca (the library where breakfast is served) and had our morning meeting. Some students weren’t feeling too well and decided to rest while the others were headed to a walking tour of Madrid with our guide Sebastián! We then toured the Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, and La Catedral, and learned about the royal families including the Hapsburgs and the Bourbons. Then, we went to the outside of the medieval wall of Madrid and learned about the history of it. Afterward we headed back to the hostel to go to lunch.
After a traditional menu del día at a local restaurant, we went on a 20 minute walk to the El Prado Museum of Art to meet our tour guide, Marta. We started our museum tour by learning about the history of the Spanish royal families. Then our guide taught us about the way many of the pieces of art were painted. After that, we looked for souvenirs in the museum gift shop. Once we were done at the museum , we walked to a restaurant that was underground below the Plaza Mayor. There we ate tortilla español, croquetas, and chorizó. Then we went back to the hotel to pack our bags and sleep.
Buenas Noches Familias!
Nate and Freya
July 14, 2023: First Day in Barcelona
So today we had a very early wake up, at 6:00. Then at 8:00 we caught a 3 hour train to Barcelona from Madrid. On the train we enjoyed activities such as making friendship bracelets and sleeping. Once our train ride ended we made it to the hotel and familiarized ourselves with our new surrounding. After walking around for a little while we went to a delicious lunch. Since it was siesta time, we headed back to the hotel as shops began to close. Most of us stayed awake, sharing words and thoughts of our pasts days. We then took a trip to Parc Güell, where we saw several architectural wonders by Gaudi. Once we decided we had seen all the park had to offer, we trekked down to our hotel and took in a nice long afternoon stroll across the Barcelona center.
Afterwards we all enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Bilbao Berria, which consisted of several varieties of “pintxos.” Pintxos are little mini meals on top of bread. Finally, we strolled back to the hotel to complete the day with our routine meeting. Altogether, today was pretty tiring, but we all got through it and everyone of us participated in todays activities.
Matilda and Holden
July 15, 2023
Today we had an 8:00 AM wake up call and ate some delicious breakfast provided by the hotel and then we headed out for our bike tour around the city! We saw lots of beautiful things and also headed down to the beach for a bit of a paddle before continuing on our tour. After taking the in the beautiful beach and sights of the city we headed to a delicious lunch where we ate a variety of traditional Catalonian dishes in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona.
After recharging quickly, we headed to Montjuic Park and hopped on the gondola where we saw the stunning views of the city and got half an extra ride up the mountain. We then hiked down the mountain stopping to play volleyball, eat ice cream, go on slides and bond even further. We then walked to dinner where we enjoyed local delicacies as well as pizza and pasta. After dinner we headed back to our hotel to have our meeting and head off to bed.
Charlotte and August
July 16, 2023
Hola! El último día!
Today we started off with a big breakfast and prepared for our secret angels! We got ready for the beach then headed out. At the beach we swam, played volleyball and made bracelets. We then left and got ready for La Sagrada Familia and headed that way. When we got there you could see the crazy pillars with a different animal, or object on top. We met with our tour leader and she first showed us a model of the Sagrada Familia. The whole church was stunning, but the best part was the inside where a rainbow of stained glass windows were inside, each one representing a different country to show that everyone is included there.
After our last look of the Sagrada Familia we headed back to the hotel stopping by souvenir shops and other stores. We got back and dressed up for our final dinner! Our final dinner was at and old bull fighting ring turned into a shopping mall. We ate at the top at a nice restaurant with views of the whole city! We had seafood, burgers, and other Spanish tapas and for dessert there was delicious cheesecake and apple pie with crema catalana (créme brûlée). We then headed back and had our final group meeting, where we did one last wrap up and gave bracelets to our friends. We then got ready for sleep and a travel day tomorrow!
Adios Spain!! And, muy buenos noches!