Last week, a group of 18 students and Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Principe, and Mr. DiPippo traveled throughout Spain for the week. Some of the major sights visited were the Alhambra in Granada, the cities of Sevilla, Toledo, and Segovia, and The Prado Museum in Madrid.
Our students represented our community well and Mrs. Smith was very proud of how the students handled themselves. The students put into practice what they have been learning over the last few years, and were able to learn about art, history, and architecture all in Spanish. Our local guides were very good at adjusting their Spanish so that we could continue to listen and learn all in Spanish, instead of in English.
We saw a Muslim Palace that dates from the 8th century in Granada, a Roman aqueduct that dates from around 100 AD, and even the palace which inspired Cinderella's castle. We wandered through Medieval cities, and no one got lost! (The streets were not straight in those Medieval cities.)
And we visited churches - oh so many churches. In Sevilla we saw the 3rd largest Gothic cathedral in the world. In Toledo, we saw one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in the world, and the most important cathedral in Spain. In Córdoba, we saw the main cathedral which was built inside an ancient mosque, which was built on top of an even older basilica.
We tried new foods, and learned the hard way that an order of churros is 6, not one! Some of our braver students even tried the famed bitter oranges of Sevilla. These oranges are type used to make orange marmalade.
We learned about the Royal Family of Isabel and Ferdinand (yes, the ones that funded Christopher Colombus's expedition) and their children. We had the chance to try our hand at Sevilla's main artisan craft - ceramic tiles.
Although much of the trip was taken up with museums, tours, and historical talks, we did get a chance to enjoy some more authentic Spanish leisure time activities. When we were in Segovia, we were lucky enough to be there on market day. On this day of the week, the Plaza Mayor (or main square) is converted to an open air market. You can buy a variety of things at this market - fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, clothing, and even antiques! This day we decided to do something different for lunch. Instead of splitting up to go to different restaurants or cafés, we decided to have a picnic on the grassy area at the foot of the Alcázar. Everyone split up at the market to buy meat, cheese and bread to make sandwiches with. Then, after our tour of the castle, we descended a long set of stairs to eat our picnic.
On another day, we took advantage of the lovely spring weather and made our way to Retiro Park in the heart of Madrid. Many people compare this park with Central Park in New York City. Here, the students had the opportunity to take a walk and enjoy the beautiful green space in the middle of the city. In this park there is also a large man-made pond with small rowboats available to rent, and many of our students decided to try them out.
One of the highlights of the trip for Mrs. Smith was the opportunity to meet up with two Canton High School alumni who had traveled with her to Spain 3 years ago. During their "Spain trip", they decided that when they were in college they were going to study abroad in Spain and they were going to try to go to Sevilla. Terrence Brophy and Bailey Jeffko are currently studying in Sevilla, and they both said they probably would not have thought of this city as an option, but they fell in love with the city during the trip 3 years prior.
All in all, the trip was a great success! For LOTS of pictures, check this out
(in the drop down list choose 'Spain')!