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Wilmington Friends School Spain 2016

June 22, 2016

¡Hola¡ everyone,

Just a quick word to let you know that the kids are being amazing and we’re all safe and happy.  We really tired them out yesterday with extensive walks through the city.  They’re really drinking it all in and having fun together.  They especially seemed to like a rose garden that we visited yesterday in the Parque de Buen Retiro (may have spelled that wrong!).  Attached are a couple of photos.

We’re off in a couple of minutes for a guided tour of the city, including the Plaza Mayor, the Palacio Real, and lots of other sites.

More later!

-Bradey B.

June 22 Continued…..

Hi Everyone,

We’re having a little break between lunch & our afternoon excursions. Here are a couple of photos from our very animated morning tour (courtesy of Ramón) of Madrid. We had amazing churros with rich hot chocolate, as shown by Jack & Donovan, and we stopped by the Royal Palace to say hola to the king and queen.  As I predicted, the kids don’t miss you – they’re having too much fun!

-Bradey B.

June 23, 2016

Hola amigos,

We had an early departure from Madrid and have arrived safely in Valencia.  It’s gorgeous!
The kids are getting settled with their host families, and we will see them this evening for orientation activities. Everything is going well, and we’re going to do service tomorrow morning before the heat of the day sets in. I am going to send you photos of the kids and their host mothers, but I’ll do it in a few installments as the files are large.  Here’s one of the whole group getting ready to go off, plus 2 host families.

June 27, 2016

¡Hola a todos!

Since we arrived in Valencia last Thursday, we have seen and done so many things! We partnered with Agró, a volunteer organization that works to restore the natural habitats around Valencia. Over the three days of service work, we donned waders to help check traps and remove invasive species in the wetlands; we hauled large bottles of water to thirsty saplings for a forest restoration project; we built bat houses (yep, bats – not birds) to give a home to these animals that help control the insect population along the coast. We worked hard, and so we played hard! Our efforts were rewarded with a couple of sunny hours at the beach together.

A major highlight of our time in Valencia was the Homestay experience.  Our students got to connect with local families, dining with them, playing games, sharing stories. On Monday night, WE cooked a paella dinner for our families to show our gratitude for their care and friendship. We were sad to say goodbye!

After such an amazing time in Valencia, we are now on our way to Barcelona! ¡Ole!

Un saludo,

June 28, 2016

On the morning of Tuesday June 28th, we said our final goodbyes to our host families and their lovely city of Valencia. Although saying goodbye to people that had become our family for a good portion of our time in Spain, we were all very excited to reach our last destination of the trip…Barcelona!

The 8:22am train from Valencia to Barcelona was a mix of moody teenagers playing card games and sleeping. As the views out of the window changed from rolling hills to the coast of the Mediterranean, our moods also changed. We were all so excited to finally reach Barcelona! For some of us, including myself, Barcelona was the city we were looking forward to the most. When we arrived at the train station, it was a little hectic. Our anticipation to see the city was boiling inside of us, while at the same time we had to be patient to make sure everyone made it off the train with their belongings. A chartered bus was waiting outside the station to take us to our hotel. After getting to our hotel, the rest of the day went by fast. By 1pm we were out of the hotel and onto lunch in La Boqueria market. Throughout the trip we had gotten to see our fair share of markets, but this one was by far the most chaotic. Echoes of tourists and Catalonian marketers rattled our eardrums. Our lunches ranged from fried baby squid to a comfort closer to home in pizza. After filling up on the food from the market, we hiked halfway up Montjuic hill. Halfway up, we hopped on the cable cars to take us to the top. The view at the top of Montjuic was like no other. We could see the entire city of Barcelona, from the never ending blue of the ocean to busy life of the city! At the park on Montjuic, we were able to reflect on earlier parts of the trip through group activities and a brief meeting for worship. This reflection time allowed us to appreciate the time spent together in this beautiful country. For our first night in Barcelona, we had a great dinner at the restaurant next to our hotel. We enjoyed our dinner so much that we did what the Spaniards call a “Sobre Mesa”. A “Sobre Mesa” is when you have a meal that lasts a long time due to relaxing and socializing during or after eating. The long dinner created a perfect segue into a good night sleep for the next busy day!

 -Louisa S.

June 29, 2016

 Our second day in Barcelona started out strong with a bike tour of the city! We biked to famous sites such as Olympic Village, the beach, and a cathedral. There was a lot of laughter during the bike tour! After biking we went to lunch and had another “Sobre Mesa”. Then, we had what most people may say as their favorite part of the day…free time! We used our free time in different ways: shopping for soccer gear, walking through the city, or resting at the hotel. At 7:30 pm, we all met up again to go to an amazing buffet style dinner. The buffet dinner had so many different options of tapas, called “pinchos.” The majority of the tapas were different kinds of fish, vegetable, seafood, or meat on small slices of bread. The selection was delicious and one of my favorite meals in Spain! To finish off the night, we took a walk to Park De La Ciutadella where we enjoyed each other’s company and got our last bit of energy out before another good nights rest!

As the close of our journey is coming soon, there couldn’t be a better city than Barcelona to end with. The booming city with so much culture leaves us with the best memories of the long adventure we have taken together.

-Louisa S.

June 30- July 1, 2016

¡Hola a todos!

Today is the day we have to say goodbye to Spain. We have had a great time together, and Barcelona was the perfect place to end our trip. After we marveled at the incredible structure designed by Antoni Gaudí at the Sagrada Familia, we spent our last night at a restaurant on the rooftop of the former bull fighting ring (now converted into a commercial center) and enjoying the Spanish nighttime atmosphere around the Magic Fountain at the base of the National Art Museum of Catalonia.

We wrapped up all our emotions with a Spanish language exercise. In Spain, to say “What an amazing site!” they use the expression “Que (sitio) mas (increible)!” So, we made a list of some of our impressions from the trip. If you’re not a Spanish speaker, have your students help you out when they get home!

¡Que cultura mas diferente!

¡Que modismos mas guay!

¡Que clase de baile mas divertido!

¡Que activados mas chulo!

¡Que navegación mas difícil!

¡Que ciudad mas bonita!

¡Que edificios mas chulos!

¡Que ciudad mas grande!

¡Que catedral mas extravagante!

¡Que arquitectura mas Gaudí!

¡Que catedral mas bonita!

¡Que fuentes mas colorados!

¡Que celebraciones mas interesantes!

¡Que ambiente mas impresionante!

¡Que mar mas azul!

¡Que noches mas frescas!

¡Que sol mas fuerte!

¡Que mercados mas ocupados!

¡Que comida mas deliciosa!

¡Que horchata mas rica!

¡Que churros mas ricos!

¡Que comida mas buena!

¡Que anguilas mas lisas!

¡Que amigos mas divertidos!

¡Que personas mas interesantes!

¡Que juegos mas divertidos!

¡Que gente mas simpática!

¡Que amigos mas cómicos!

¡Que gente mas chulo!

¡Que profesores mas tranquilos!

¡Que monitora mas chulo!

¡Que estudiantes mas inteligentes y divertidos!

¡Que grupo mas increíble!

I think we can all agree…

¡España es la leche!