Day 9 Thursday
Our last full day in Malaga was pretty laid back. Students enjoyed their last day of classes for the morning. In the afternoon our second group of students had their cooking class and got to make the traditional Spanish Tortilla and baked apples which was fabulous!
After dinner, we were treated to a wonderful Flamenco show a the school. The music and dancing were incredible and we even had some guest dancers up there on the stage! For all the pictures and videos make sure to click on the link at the top of the page. Tonight we pack and get ready to return home tomorrow! Hasta luego - it's been wonderful!
Day 8 - Wednesday
Another beautiful sunny day in Malaga! Spanish classes continued today and the students all reported that the classes were a great mix of challenge and ease - meaning that they were learning new things but not so challenging that they couldn't talk in class. After classes, students had a break for lunch and down time. Many chose to hang out at the school and use the pool or sit on the patio.
Day 8 included Spanish class, cooking and a trip to Mijas - a nearby town built in the mountains near the sea. Today after Spanish class and a break, half of our group got to have a cooking class (the next half will do so tomorrow). The group helped cut, chop, stir and sautee a delicious chicken meal which they enjoyed eating after they were done! It did take a little longer than expected so most were pretty much starving when it arrived but it was delicious!
Students had the afternoon to do what they wanted to do. It got a bit loud around the pool where some were trying to relax :) so we had students disperse to different activities. Many headed for the beach and / or town while others stayed at the school and did some homework with friends.
After we ate (finally) We boarded our tour bus for the town of Mijas - a town about 45 minutes away and in the mountains but still a beautiful view of the sea. Here we were able to ride donkeys through the town, visit a chocolate factory where they make and sell their own chocolate (don't be surprised if some comes home to you in the states - that is if it makes it home to you!) We had a tour of the factory and some of the students even chose to make their own! So much fun. After that students had some free time to roam the town, shop and of course eat. Wonderful day!
Day 7 - Tuesday
Our first excursion today was supposed to be to the automotive museum but that was closed for a special event so we went to the Imagination museum and got to see all kinds of exhibits that had to do with optical illusions and other fun mysteries. There were a bunch of stations where taking a photo alone created the optical illusion - which explains many of the crazy photos you will see! The students had a wonderful time here and we had the place to ourselves!
Our last stop of the day was to the El Corte Inglais - a department store that every student that has studied Spanish has read about or seen pictures of! It is a 6 floor department store with just about everything. Students had a great time exploring each floor and many ended up on the top at the cafe (of course)
Day 6 - Monday
Monday morning marked the first day of Spanish classes! All students arrived on time and were split into 3 groups for class. With a few mid morning breaks, class went from 8:30 - 11:30 am at the Malaca Instituto. After class finished students had a break to relax and many had a snack or played cards. At 12;30 the Flamenco class began and our students got to learn a dance from a flamenco instructor. Lots of laughter during this hour!
Students beginning their Spanish classes!
After dance class, the students had lunch at the school or on their own and then met back at the school at 3:00 for or bus to take us into the center of Malaga where we got to tour around and learn about the city. We started with a tour of the fort above the city, built to be able to see anyone approaching from the mountains or the sea! We saw some fantastic views of Malaga and got to learn a bit about the city an its history.
Next we boarded the bus for the city center and walked around a bit seeing sights such as Picasso’s birth home and a statue of him on a bench in the center where he used to sit and paint as a child. We also got to see the Picasso Museum which is now now housed in an old castle in the city center. We saw the Cathedral built in the 15th and 16th centuries and learned a bit about the city layout. After our tour, we had time to walk, explore and shop! (and ice cream… always time for ice cream!) Some students went back to their homes after this and a few chose to stay in the center for dinner and more exploration. More Spanish Classes tomorrow as well as some local adventures!
We also got to see the home of Antonio Banderas!
The views from the castle were spectacular!
Day 5 Sunday Fun day!
We began our day with an early Sunday morning drive to the seaside village of Frigiliana. Since it was Sunday morning, the shops weren’t open but it gave us more time to take in the views and the gorgeous setting that we were in. The white village built into the mountain still has some impressive sights to see. Climbing up to the top along the narrow and quaint streets were totally worth it to see the sea and the mountains meet on a beautiful morning. We spent some time at the café having coffee, eating churros (never too early for chocolate) and enjoying the views.
Happy Birthday to Shea today! Here is the group giving her some birthday love.
After a brief visit to Friligiana, it was time to make our way to a nearby town of Nerja to see the Cuevas De Nerja home of some of the biggest and most beautiful natural caves. We took a tour and learned that 5 boys rediscovered the caves after thousands of years of it being closed up. They explored, got lost and even had a hard time getting anyone to believe them! Once they did however, it was a sight to behold. Our guides told us that 4 of the 5 original boys who discovered the caves in 1952 are still around and often come to give tours. It was simply stunning to walk around inside the caverns.
After a snack (of course – we do a lot of this) we headed for the beach and some free time. Our students swam, ate and played on the beach while we waited for our sea kayaking adventure. What an adventure this was…. The pictures tell it all. The ocean was clear and beautiful, the sky was blue and we had a fantastic time exploring the coast line and getting to see the caves and a waterfall along the way. Be sure to check out the link above for all the pics! All will sleep well tonight for sure.
DAY 4 - SATURDAY IN GRANADA
We began our day with a bus ride to Granada. A bus ride here in Southern Spain is like no other - the scenery is incredible and there are mountains, sea views and gorgeous landscapes everywhere you turn. As we approached Granada, we also say the Sierra Mountain Range, which is an incredible place to ski apparently. Along the way, our tour guide told us about the history of Granada as well as some of the surrounding area. We also had a really interesting discussion about bull fighting and the controversies that surround this cultural event. Way more complicated than it might seem to those of us that are not familiar with Spanish culture. Once we arrived in Granada, we headed for Alhambra which is one of the oldest castles in Europe. We had a several hour tour through the beautiful grounds, castle and gardens. Wow - we had gorgeous weather too!
After leaving the Alhambra, we headed for the town square to have lunch and do a little shopping in the square. This is an area where you can purchase artisan goods and get henna tattoos etc all the while enjoying the beautiful views of the Alhambra from the distance. Stunning!
After lunch our day wasn't over! We headed back towards Malaga but made a stop in the mountains at the home of an olive oil production family in the area. Through a private tour, we learned how the olive goes from tree to oil in some very complicated steps! We got to see the modern machinery they use as well as a museum of the old fashioned way they ground the olives into oil. The best part was getting to try the oil and bread at the end. Many students lined up to purchase some of the EVOO to take home with them (It was that good). Maybe you will have some coming to you! This was the end of a long day and we headed back to the Malaca Institute where the students headed home or around town for the evening! Looking forward to another great day tomorrow!
DAY 3 -FRIDAY
Today was amazing! We started out visiting the school where our pen pals are from! This is the day that our students will most likely remember for years to come. After a tour of the school where we got to see many of the classrooms and large group spaces in the school, we stopped for a snack of bread, olive oil, ground tomatoes and salt (a very typical Spanish breakfast) The students chatted and got to know each other better practicing our Spanish and English! What a wonderful sight to see.
After our snack we had a 15 minute all school break (multi-age). We LOVED seeing this because this is something that we have talked about implementing at Clarke. It was wonderful to see all the students having a snack and getting to see friends. This is also where our students started to shine. Friendships were made and there was lots of chatting, laughing and exchanging of Instragram info!
After Recess was over, we got to play some games. The students were split into four groups and each group played a different game which consisted of dancing, team building, a different form of dodge ball and volleyball! The best part was the entire group learning a dance. Our students had a blast and we literally had to drag them away from their new friends!
The dance video!! All Spanish and US Kids participating... so fun
Next we headed for lunch at a the nearby lake (and a quick swim) followed by a VERY long and gorgeous hike at Caminito del Rey (The walk of the King). Wow -what spectacular views we saw... and you know when you start a hike and they hand you a helmet you are in for a treat! It was a beautiful day for a walk along the cliffs. Our pictures will truly not do it justice.
DAY 1 / DAY 2 -Traveling to Malaga, Spain
We made it! After a long 12 hours of travel we have arrived in Malaga safely and all are thrilled to be here! We are happy to report that we had no flight issues, luggage issues or anything else (other than maybe some lack of sleep). We made it to Dublin Ireland with no issues and spent some time hanging out playing spit and UNO to keep things interesting.
Be sure to click on the ink above to access ALL the photos that we are taking each day....
Once we arrived in Malaga, we were greeted by our guide and headed to get our luggage - As we all know, traveling is never without it's challenges and it took us a while to get through immigration and finding our luggage, but once we did we loaded our super fancy bus and headed for the Malaca Institute!
After a short bus ride along the beautiful ocean coast, we arrived at our Language School. This will be our home base and where students will take classes as well as eat lunch each day. This is also where the chaperones are staying. After a brief tour of the cafe, the classrooms and la piscina, the students were ready to be sent off with their host families! Although nervous, everyone handled it extremely well and off they went to explore for the afternoon.
Some of us got lucky on that second flight and were upgraded to first class seating! (no first class service but the seats sure had more room for a nap....
Lots of smiles but lots of luggage too!
We even to got see an old friend - former Clarke Spanish and French teacher John Hunt who stopped by to hang out and say hello!
We spent the afternoon exploring Malaga and the neighborhood around our school. We saw many of our students also out and about after having lunch with their host families. The beach and the pool were great places to hang out!
All in all a great beginning to our trip. Lots of Spanish being spoken and independence is being learned. Tomorrow is our first excursion to meet our Pen Pals and explore the surrounding area. Stay tuned for more pictures and information - tonight we sleep!