2019 Spanish Study Tour
Salamanca & Granada
We woke up this morning from our very last sleep with our host families. Realising that today was going to be our last full day, was definitely heartbreaking. However, we had to put that aside and make the most out of it. Around 8:50 we all arrived at Enforex for our very last spanish lesson. After the 10:50-11:10 break. We all gathered to receive a few things. We each received a certificate with our name and spanish level on it. Highlighting that we have each successfully studied spanish with Enforex. We as well got a little something from Parky. It was a gift to honour the dedication we had put into our phrases. Once we finished, we grabbed our bags as well as our umbrellas and commenced our hike up Granada’s mountains. Prudence showed us the way and told us a bit more about Granada’s history. After a long walk up, we were able to see the Alhambra from the top of the hill. We then walked further into the streets and saw some stunning homes. Each and everyone of them had an element that symbolised a pomegranate, representing Granada. Afterwards, we were all hungry so we walked to the plaza for some delicious lunch. It was there we had to say farewell to Prudence. We will definitely miss him. After a quick picture with him, we all sat down and opened our menus. On the menu there was several different options. Ranging from paella to spaghetti. I had the “huevos rotos con patatas y jamón” (eggs with potato chips and ham) as well as the “espagueti carbonara” (spaghetti carbonara). And to top it all off, I finished with some delicious “Arroz con leche” (rice and milk treat). It was all so good. Once we had finished our meals, we all left to go last minute shopping. Shortly after, we all came back home and finalised packing. Soon enough it was dinner time and I was not too hungry, but I certainly enjoyed some more patatas for dinner. Close to midnight, we all left our homestay families and met at a bus stop. We then climbed aboard the bus and headed back to Madrid.
It’s our second to last day in Spain and it dawns on me that we will be heading back to Australia in several hours. I don’t think the ‘emotional bomb’ has hit us just yet so tomorrow is going to be an interesting day to say the least.
Today, we arrived bright and early for our last full school day in Granada. It has been so fun getting to know our Granada Spanish teachers, Susana and Pruden, that it is actually sad to say goodbye so soon. After our classes we were surprised with a secret activity, ziplining! It was a slight shock as I forgot to dress properly for an activity that involved exercise, but I was excited at the prospect of flying through the sky screaming and yelling. We hopped into a taxi straight after school and drove up the winding path to the adventure park situated high up in the mountains. The road swerved and turned so often that I became motion sick and I felt like vomit was rising and falling in my throat for a continuous 20 minutes. It was also freezing in the mountains as the cold air chilled the thin clothes I was wearing. So I was in a great mood to climb some trees! When we arrived we got strapped into some harnesses while nodding along to the instructors directions. I prayed to God that I had collectively learned enough Spanish to not fall off a tree and break my face but the basic concept seemed pretty easy to understand. Red buckle first, black buckle second and grey buckle last. We spent the next few hours climbing and shakily walking through the obstacles in the trees. I had a lot of fun swearing and sweating through the hanging logs and my inability to balance my weight. The best parts of the course were when we were able to zip line with either a foot hold or our mini zip lines strapped to our harnesses. Many of us tried multiple courses but we all culminated in the two final longest zip lines in the park. The lines were so long that there wasn’t enough momentum to carry us all the way, and we would have to pull ourselves a few metres to the end. At around 5 pm we stopped and waited for our taxis to come in the freezing cold.
Ziplining was not the only activity planned for the day as we arrived back at Enforex to learn to cook paella with everyone’s favourite teacher, Pruden. We all took turns chopping vegetables and stirring the giant pan of vegetables, chicken and rice. It was especially fun watching Hannah accidentally drop half a bottle of paella spice in the pan as well as Andrea and Laura ‘saltbaeing’ a giant bag of salt. It was a fun experience collectively cooking and being able to properly learn how to make paella. We ate from the giant pan and realised that we didn’t cook off all the wine so it tasted a bit boozy, however it was still an enjoyable meal shared amongst the whole group for the first time.
After 3 days of rest and exploration in Grenada as well as one day in Seville, we finally went back to learning at Enforex, except this time, Enforex Grenada. We met our new teachers; Susana and Pruden. On our first day of classes we begun to learn about the circumstances in which verbs ser and estar are used, as well as an introduction into using the present subjunctive tense with irregular and regular verbs, which after some explanation, started to make sense. After classes had finished for the day, we all met in the Enforex rumpus room, which was decked out with pool tables, beanbags and vending machines — exactly what we needed after a long, exhausting day.
After we all finished up we had a couple of hours spare until we all regrouped for a guided tour of Grenada at 4pm. We spent our time shopping and failing to find ice cream up to our standards.
At 4pm we all regrouped and set off into the streets of Grenada with our tour guide and teacher, Pruden. We visited many historical landmarks of Grenada, including the first and oldest Muslim university of Grenada, La Capilla Real de los Reyes Católicos, La Puerta Real de España (correos), La Plaza del Carmen, La Corral Del Carbón, La iglesia del Sagrario, la estatua Al Heroísmo Doña Mariana, la estatua de reina Isabel y Cristóbal Colón, La Catedral de Granada and many more.
Our final day before class in Granada started was spent in the beautiful city of Seville! We started the day quite early with another 3-hour bus ride to the new city; once again, a lot of us spelt during the ride! From just a glance, we could see that Seville is a gorgeous city. The Plaza de España was the first thing greeted us. The buildings seemed old as many others in España, however, we were surprised to be told that it was only built in 1929! The plaza had many different colours and a lake that ran through the front. It was a beautiful sight! We had the chance to take some photos around the plaza and be sprayed by the water of the fountain. We then got the chance to experience a horse and carriage ride to the cathedral.
We all had a small fright due to the loud bells of the cathedral that rang for longer than usual, and we then watched the final procession in Seville for Easter Sunday. After a lunch prepared by our wonderful home-stay families, we were able to go shopping. Just to let you all know, one of the most annoying thing in España is the lack of bathrooms! We spent time searching for a bathroom before exploring Seville by travelling through small, but pretty alleyways and roads. It felt different from the large buildings we were used to in Granada and Salamanca. The day ended with a very informative, yet funny tour of the Cathedral by our tour guide Pruden and climbing the cathedral tower. The view we got was magnificent! Finally, we travelled another 3 hours to Granada and rested after a long day of activities
Today was our first day in Granada and after the extremely long bus ride yesterday, most of us had slept in. The weather was predicted to become cloudy and rain from midday onwards, so I went with my host family for a walk around the different landmarks and plazas and then learned how to get to Enforex, which we will be attending for four more days before we leave. After the walk, I went with some others to buy some souvenirs, as the rest of the week will be very busy.
After this, I joined the group that was going with Mr Anderson and Parky to take a walk up to see the Mirador de Granada (View of Alhambra) before it started to rain, and so we walked up and climbed narrow roads to see the beautiful view of the Alhambra, which we will be visiting tomorrow. Although the journey tired most of us out, it was definitely worth it, and afterwards we all settled for some refrescos (soft drinks) and joked around a bit, causing some of us (not mentioning any names - Laura) to spurt out Sprite, which was very amusing.
After walking around, I can observe that there are some differences in Granada from Northern Spain. The Arab influence still lingers throughout Granada in some of the architecture and particularly in small souvenir shops that sell Aladdin-style lamps and intricately patterned cloths. There is also a lot of beautiful music and singing in the streets and heaps of olives!
Today was our first day out as a tour group in Granada. It's taken a bit of time getting used to the city, as it is much larger and more crowded than Salamanca. We met in the late morning at Enforex to head to our Segway tour. While we were all initially very apprehensive when seeing the Segways, we warmed up to them very quickly. I had a great time touring the city on the Segway (and scaring the people behind me with the sharp brakes) and seeing all the beautiful architecture. We toured around near the Alhambra for a while before heading back to the Plaza for lunch. Afterwards, we all headed back to the Alhambra (on foot this time) to explore it up close. I was very excited about this, as it was the part of the study tour that I had been the most excited about. The detailing of the Islamic architecture that we saw during the tour of the Alhambra was extremely intricate and absolutely gorgeous. While we were all exhausted from the Segway tours and walking, we were woken up quickly by the beautiful view. We explored a huge number of iconic places during this 4-hour tour, but a few of my personal favourites included el Palacio de Generalife, el Patio de los Leones and la Puerta de la Justicia. El Palacio de Generalife had a beautiful garden that we had an amazing time walking through, with a vast overlooking view of the city of Granada and its architecture and housing. La Puerta de la Justicia was the part of the entire study tour that I was actually looking forward to most, and I was not disappointed. While we only saw it briefly at the end of the afternoon, it was amazing to see it, and la Mano de Fatima in person. Afterwards, we bought some souvenirs and food and headed straight to our host houses, as we were already exhausted from the long day. It was a very eventful day, and easily one of my favourites from the tour so far.
Today was our last day in Salamanca.
We said goodbye and thanked our teachers at enforex before going home to eat lunch and to pack our suitcases.
I’ll miss how easy Salamanca is. Though the street formation was quite different from Adelaide, the city was very easy to navigate, along with Plaza Mayor. The city was very beautiful,antique but still was modern. Every day/ tour we learnt more and more about this historic city.
For today’s activity we voted... karaoke! :)
Parky kindly organised for us to sing at a cute little karaoke bar.
‘When I was your man’ - Bruno Mars, study tour favourite, was first on the song list. Followed by an ABBA classic: ‘Dancing Queen’. It was obvious Parky enjoyed this one as she sung her heart out through every chorus :)
We also enjoyed some One Direction, ‘Valerie’, ‘Vivir Mi Vida’, Nicki Minaj, ‘Despacito’, Justin Bieber and Micheal Jackson.
I think we all enjoyed our stay in Salamanca, we have all bonded and become a very close group. It’s been really nice to dance, sing and laugh down almost every street; I can’t believe we’re half way through the trip already!
The second to last day in Salamanca was spent in class in the morning. My class learnt how to describe a person and how to fit it in a conversation. We then proceeded to go home and have lunch. Our homestay family prepared roast chicken with hot chips. Siesta was spent catching up on Australian homework, as well as catching up on lost sleep from the night before. At 5:45 all of us met at the Plaza Mayor as we had a Salsa dance class to attend. Salsa dance originated from the Bronx, New York city in the Cuban and Puerto Rican community . Our instructor taught us the basic steps of salsa and we practiced with music. In the second half of the lesson we learnt Bachatta which was originated from the Dominican Republic. After the class the girls and I did some last minute shopping and went home for dinner. Dinner was served around 9:30 pm and we had chicken soup with eggs and sausages. We are halfway through the trip and very excited for Granada.
We started our Tuesday with the usual, going to a four hour spanish course. As class came to an end we all happily walked home. After siesta we all trekked down to the markets in the rain. As we awaited for our next activity the girls started singing the theme song of this trip, which is when I was your man by Bruno Mars. One we were all together Enrique gave us the dreadful task of orienteering around Salamanca. We were given a series of questions that would promote us to get out of our comfort zone. We had to ask the people of Salamanca for the answers to the question. The once dreadful task slowly became a joyful competition. An hour passed and we finished the task. Cielo de Salamanca was our next destination. The ceiling was painted with the star signs and was absolutely breath taking the way it was painted. We continued looking at the various sites of Salamanca such as the house of shells (Casa de conchas) and the University of Salamanca. Learning all of this new information made all of us hungry for taps. We started the tapas tour in an olden style bar where we were offered various small dishes and non alcoholic beer. I was not a fan of the non alcoholic so I stuck with my coke. We then went to a bar that seemed to be more traditional were everyone was squished together and there was a soccer game placed on the TV. Here we had the best patatas bravas in Salamanca. The patatas are covered with chilli sauce and mind you the Spanish people aren’t very generous with their chilli. I could barely taste anything. We then were served pork. The pork was fried making it hard and chewy. On one of the plates we noticed the nose of a pork leaving us in utter shock. Before our last destination we stopped by the Plaza Mayor. It was breathtaking, the Plaza lit up the night sky with its soft lights. Our last destination consisted of various dishes:
A dip with some chips, then
Mussels with some fresh salsa
Pork with garlic sauce and patatas
After this we were all beyond tired and full. We ended the night with various laughs and giggles.