Twenty-three Gilman eighth graders are spending Spring Break in Spain – traveling the country, learning Spanish culture, and improving their language skills. Students are documenting their trip in journals and photos and sending daily updates back to parents and friends. Below are excerpts from their dispatches home.
Day 2 by Charlie:
Today after meeting our guide Jorge at the airport we took the bus from Madrid to the city of Toledo. After touring the city for a little while, we went to the Toledo’s synagogue. I thought that I knew a lot about the synagogue going into this trip because that is what I researched, but I learned so much more interesting facts while on site. We learned about how Jews hired the Muslims to decorate their synagogue, and how the Jews and Christians coexisted for hundred of years. We then went to the massive Toledo Cathedral where we learned even more about the history of Christianity in Spain.
Day 3 in Granada by Conor:
Today we took a bus ride to Granada from Toledo. On the bus ride, around two hours in, we saw the windmills in which a part of Don Quixote was based upon. After this, we stopped at a nearby village where Cervantes is said to have written part of his book. Later, in the squares of Granada, myself and a group of boys approached native teenagers of our age, and started speaking in Spanish. Tonight, after dinner, we found our way to a high vantage point and looked at the city. We walked through the Albaicín maze and saw the Alhambra lighted at night. Tomorrow (Sunday) we will visit this famous site. Today was extremely fun, and I can not wait for tomorrow.
Day 4 by Mitchel, Jeremy, and Henry:
March 16 2014, the GMS 8th grade Spain Trippers had a WONDERFUL time exploring the world of Hispanics. Our highlight of the day was when we went to the modern olive oil mill. Here we investigated the procedure on how olive oil was made. There were two different types of oil. There are extra virgin olive oil, and virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is when nothing has been added to the pressed olive and is high quality. However, Virgin olive oil has not been filtered completely. It has been a great experience “chillin” con mis amigos. FUN FACT jarro de agua means water pitcher.
Day 6: Reales Alcazares by Jack:
Today we saw the Reales Alcazares and the Seville Cathedral. The Reales Alcazares is a former Moorish castle later taken over by the Christians as a palace. It was very interesting because of its similarity to the Alhambra. Then we visited the Seville Cathedral, one of the largest of its kind. After seeing the Gothic interior we took the long ramp to the top and got a spectacular view of the city. It was a great day.
Day 7 in Cordoba by Max:
Today after a 1 hour-long bus drive we arrived in Cordoba. The beautiful city is the home of the Mezquita-Catedral. This 1200-year-old mosque was turned into a cathedral when the Catholic Monarchs took the land back from the Islamic people. The arches in the mosque were very cool due to the fact that they were made from yellow and red stone that blended well with the Islamic idea of paradise. After the mosque we visited a synagogue in the Jewish quarter of the city. Just like the mosque the synagogue was also converted into a cathedral. We are now driving to Madrid where we will be for the next 2 nights before leaving. I can not wait to get there and wish this trip will never end.