Last week, 23 students and four faculty members departed for a week in Spain. Mrs. Martinez has been kind enough to provide some wonderful updates regarding their time in Spain.
Monday, 5 November
Today we took an interesting tour of the Plaza de Toros de Sevilla, the oldest bullring in Spain. We learned about bullfighting and walked behind the scenes as well as out onto the sand where it all occurs. Since we know that it is animal torture, we tried to look at it from a cultural perspective. We learned about the techniques, the clothing, the training, the ceremony, and the profession.Then we walked along the Guadalquivir River, crossed the bridge, and wandered around the Triana neighborhood. This is the place that the gypsies and flamenco musicians and dancers lived. We went to Mercado de Triana, a food market, and then had some time to get lunch and go to a few shops.Triana is also where many of the intricate tiles of Spain are made. We went to a big factory store where they are made in big ovens and painted. Many of us bought souvenirs. Then we went to a gourmet food market, el Mercado de la Lonja, for a few snacks.Dinner was at a restaurant in a lovely round plaza with a fountain. It was a good day, and we have had sunny but chilly weather in the sixties, which is just perfect for walking around all day.
Tuesday, 6 November
Today we visited the Alhambra, a fort and palace built buy the last Muslims that ruled Spain. On the bus ride, we passed orange trees, olive trees, white villages with church steeples, palm trees, cactus plants, and snow capped mountains. We also saw that Spain uses renewable energy, as there were many windmills and solar panels along the way.During our tour, we learned about the Alhambra, its architecture, how it was used over the years, the life of the sultans and the Spanish Inquisition. There are colorful tiles with patterns and calligraphy among intricate stucco, arches and marble patios with fountains. The vaulted ceilings and views through the windows were breathtaking.
Wednesday, 7 November
Today we took a cooking class. We made salmorejo, a cold tomato soup, similar to gazpacho, but creamier. The main dish was a giant vegetarian paella with snow peas, tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, asparagus, garlic, peppers, and cauliflower. All of the food was fresh from the market where we took the class. It was delicious. For dessert, we made flan. The kitchens were open and modern. We had a great meal. Everyone was involved in the cooking and preparation, and it was a lot of fun. The class was in Spanish, and the kids handled it very well.Next, we took a boat cruise down the river. There was a recorded guide in Spanish and English, which explained what we were passing, such as bridges designed by Santiago Calatrava and historical landmarks.We learned about the buildings we were passing and relaxed before heading to our flamenco dance class, which was taught in Spanish as well. We took a class on how to clap and stomp and keep the beat, as well as where flamenco came from and how to call out when the dancer is doing a great job. After the workshop, we went into the dance room and tried to bust a move.
Clearly, our students are having a wonderful experience in Spain! Thank you to Mary Martinez for the terrific and informative updates! Thanks as well to Alison Amarain for the beautiful photos below!