All good things have to come to an end my friends, but do they really? 😋
We started our day with breakfast at the cafe next door to our hostel with some delicious, buttery soft croissants. Ernesto showed up and we started our day two walking tour of Madrid. It was so nice to learn so much history from a madrileño. It was a pretty cold morning and after about 45 minutes we took a quick chocolate and croissant break, yup two croissants in one morning!!
We then braved it on the metro to head to our first museum tour of the day, The Reina Sofia. We got to see the famous “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso and Ernesto knew so much history behind Picasso’s work that it made us appreciate the cubist piece of art even more.
After the museum we had an hour for lunch. Most went for pizza while others had some mini bocadillos.
After lunch we got back on the metro to go to Retiro park to use the row boats!! It turned out to be a beautiful day for the row boats or for a nice walk around the man made lake.
After the boats it was time to head to the Prado museum but we realized we were almost an hour late for our appointment!!! We figured that we probably wouldn’t have enough time to visit the museum and make it to dinner on time so unfortunately, we did not get to the Prado. Luckily there’s always next time! So we all ended up walking towards the Gran Via to do some last minute shopping.
We ended our night with dinner and an amazing flamenco show at Cardamomo.
I must say that this was an amazing trip and from talking to my students I really do believe they had a great time! I hope to do this again in 2020!!
We are running out of days too quickly!! We had a sad start to our day with our despedidas at Plaza Teresa. Our students would not get on the bus because they wanted to spend every last second possible with their new friends. Saying goodbye was not easy and I think they were all happy that our bus was late. Adiós Burgos and until next time!! Many of our students want to come back this summer and some of the Burgos students are talking about coming during our Christmas break. It seems like many beautiful friendships were made on this trip.
After about a half hour they started boarding the bus because the Burgos students had to go to school. We were now on our way to Madrid. The bus ride was pretty quiet with many sleepy kiddos!!
We arrived in Madrid and went to our hostal, The Hostal Gala, a 2 minute walk to the Gran Vía and many great stores to shop in for last minute gifts. We had some time to shop since our rooms we not ready and we met back at the hostal at 2pm to meet out tour guide, Ernesto.
We first walked to the Palacio Real where Ernesto gave us an amazing tour of the gardens and of the Palacio itself.
It was a long tour and I think Ernesto could tell by our slow moving bodies and blank stares!! He is such a great tour guide for first even noticing our less than energetic selves and secondly for suggesting that we go out for churros and chocolate!! We all agreed!!
Once we arrived at the churrería we realized that dinner was in 45 minutes, but we talked ourselves into having dessert first, yum 😋
We walked a little after the churros yo burn off some calories and to get ready for dinner. It was a very cool spot and I loved that we had or own private room!
It was 21 years ago that I was last in Salamanca, the city where I studied abroad for the semester. It brought back so many fond memories being there today. I remembered the streets I walked every day to get to school and to stop off to get a delicious chocolate. We started our day with a tour of the cathedral and students got to climb to the top of the tower…Ben and I decided to not climb the hundreds of stairs to get to the tower so we stayed nice and safe on the ground!
We then took a walk to see the inside of La casa de las Conchas and got a great group photo.
We all then headed over to the beautiful Plaza Mayor.
We were all given about two hours to explore, eat and shop!!
Once we regrouped after our free time we net back at the Plaza Mayor and walked over to visit La Universidad de Salamanca, the oldest university in Europe! Can you find la rana?? If so, you’ll fall in love in school!!
It was finally time to depart the golden city to head back to Burgos to get ready for our despedida at La Pizzería competencia. The whole group was there, the LHS students, the Burgos students and their teachers. We were all very fortunate to hear Danny’s toast. Gracias Danny!! ¡Hasta pronto Burgos!
Today was our first full tour day outside of Burgos and it was great that the host students came along for the full day excursion. We left Burgos at 8 am and headed straight for Bilbao. We started our day touring the Universidad Deusto and from there headed to the Museo de Guggenheim. We had a little free time after the museum but we were on a tight schedule to get to San Sebastían.
Once we got to San Sebastían we took a nice, windy walking tour all the way to the ocean!
We were then given some free time to get a snack and/or shop and I think most kids chose McDonalds!
We continued our tour through the beautiful streets of San Sebastían heading towards a magnificent cathedral. We did not have time to tour inside but what we did see was breathtaking.
Today was a perfect example of how lucky I am to be traveling with such sweet, fun, caring and patient….very patient students. They have all been so understanding when Mr. Gillen and I are holding the group up to unload all of our “Ben stuff” or how helpful they’ve been to carry his carriage up the thousand of steps we’ve climbed (thank you Adam y Brandon). They have also been so sweet to Ben, trying to get him to smile at them, getting him to high five them or just simply interacting with him. Thank you chicos for being so good with him!
Today the students went to school again but this time from 8-3. It was so sweet of the Burgos students to create this wonderful welcome sign that was right at the entrance with an American flag!!! What a warm welcome!! The school gladly accepted a new student but told him he would have to stop chewing water bottles…. Some students saw debates in action while others got to help out in Biology class!
After the school day ended, most students went home to eat, others walked around town and a few others did some souvenir shopping. At 5:30 we all met outside the cathedral to take our tour. What a magnificent structure on the outside and inside. It really makes you think about the architecture we have in the USA and how young it is! There were some beautiful sculptures too!
Once we finished the tour we were on our own again. Emma, Selina, Kyle and Theresa took advantage of their time and enjoyed some churros.
Tomorrow we’re off to Bilbao and San Sebastían 😃
Today was the first day that the students were able to really get to know their families. I asked my students to share with me a picture about their adventures and although not all have gotten back to me, I thought I would share what I have so far.
Here’s Matthew at the Mirador overlooking all of Burgos. He was right near the castle when he took this shot. He also got to experience some tapas while out to lunch with his family. ¡Qué rico!
Emma and her host family drove an hour from Burgos to a town called Frías where they got to visit a beautiful castle. They went all the way to the top and took this picture. It was so beautiful!!
Selina got to experience some yummy tapas with Blanca and her madre. Afterwards they happened upon a party in the streets of Burgos. Such a lovely city!
Mr. Gillen, Benjamin and I went out for tapas and bumped into Kyle and Raquelita dining at the same restaurant!! We then took a very long walk through the city and up some major hills to get a wonderful view of the city at the Mirador.
Kristina was so lucky to take a trip to Segovia today with her family and saw Roman aqueducts that are still functioning!! She then got to experience a multiple course meal at a restaurant nearby the aqueduct. After lunch they went to explore the castle of the Spanish royalty. She got to go inside the castle and went all the way to the top of the castle!!
Theresa got to eat sushi in Spain!!!
Maddy and Hannah went to Segovia and saw the Roman aqueduct with their host families. What an amazing time they had!
Danny and Brandon went out to dinner with Alvaro and Quique.
Emma, Isabella, Maddy, Haley, Kristina, Riana and Hannah went to a fiesta Saturday night with their host students.
Maddy and her host were at the Roman aqueduct in Segovia too!
Matthew has been dying to play tennis while in Spain and his dream came true for him today. Yay! He played with Alonso, his dad and Diego.
Adam and Hugo did some city walking and at the end of their day, they made it to the Mirador and got this great picture of the city at night.
Haley and her host, Beatriz, enjoyed the beautiful view of Burgos today. What a great sunny afternoon they got to enjoy.
Our weekend of adventures continues with Raquelita and her chicas hanging out.
I’m not sure if we’re in Spain or the US but some of our students experienced Spain the American way by stopping off at Dunks and Mickey D’s….not my idea of fully immersing yourself but hey, it’s better than nothing!
Danny and Brandon to continue with their American pride decided to eat at a restaurant called Hollywood.
We had a chance to finally have some churros and chocolate! And after we sugared up we went on another long walk to see the “El Real Monasterio de las Huelgas”, which was unfortunately closed but the building was worth the walk.
Selina and Blanca at the fiesta last night and her “abuelos” made lamb today for lunch!!!
Theresa and Pablo walked to the Universidad de Burgos today.
Maddy and her host family took a nice walk today from their hone to the center of Burgos and back home! Mr. Gillen and I also bumped into Maddy and her host family as we were leaving the chocolatería. Even with more than 200,000 people in Burgos, it sure is smaller than it seems.
Kyle and Pedro on top of a roof!! overlooking the city….eek!!!
Kylie went to a monastery and saw the monks pray and sing. Afterwards she and her host family went to the top of a mountain and la vista was muy hermosa.
Samantha had spent most of her weekend at La Sala de Los Infantes watching Frozen the musical because both of her host sisters were in the musical!!!
The students were able to spend the day in classes today from 8-2 and were able to attend a variety of classes. After school they went home for lunch and siesta. At 5 pm we all met in the Plaza Mayor so Julio, one of the teachers, could give us the grand walking tour of Burgos.
One of the highlights was the 800 year old cathedral that took 200 years to build! We were not able to see inside today but we will on Monday.
After our walking tour of the plaza mayor, el casco viejo and the camino of the pilgrims (heading to Santiago de Compostela), we walked to the Museo de la Evolución Humana. What an impressive museum where we were able to see remains 500,000 years old! At the end of the museum tour we we’re on our own to tour, hang out with our new amigos and sing with the locals!
Mr. Gillen and I just happened to be walking by a large group of people singing lyrics to the Anthem of Burgos that was projected on the side of the building. In the crowd we saw Emma, Emma and Theresa joining in with the locals!!
We left for Spain on Valentine’s Day at 4:30 from LHS.
Our first leg was from Boston to London where we hung out, played cards, connected to WiFi and ate at Heathrow for a few hours.
We then left London and we’re on our way to Madrid!! The flight was quick compared to our Boston flight and once we arrived I could feel the excitement rising as we were getting so close to our final destination, Burgos!!
We left the Madrid airport and hopped on another bus to head to Burgos which took a little over two hours to get there. As we were pulling into La Merced y San Francisco Javier school’s parking lot, I could hear our students yelling in excitement “oh my God, I’m not ready.” “Is this the school?” ” Oh my God, those are our families!!” Our 18 students were filled with nerves, anxiety, laughter and anticipation! Our bus stopped and they ran off the bus, some to be cheerfully reunited with their amigas and others in search of their new families. I swear the parking lot cleared in less than ten minutes. Mr. Gillen and I took our first breaths 23 hours after we left LHS, phew!!
Reunited and it feels so good!! Emma and her host.