Traveled back to Madrid to enjoy the city once more. At the Reina Sofia museum we learned about modern art with a focus on the cubist movement. We saw work from Picasso, Dalí and Juan Gris. Next stop… USA!!!🇪🇸🇺🇸
We took advantage of every moment of the day to spend time with our host families on our last day here. We ended the day with a farewell party in a castle on the east side of town. Families and children brought all sorts of potluck goodies and we ate until our stomachs were stuffed. We also had the pleasure of watching some young flamenco dancers perform for us. ‘Twas a fabulous last night in La Herradura. ¡Olé!
10,000+ steps and we have officially completed our adventure to Pampaneira, a beautiful, rural town on the top of the Sierra Nevada mountains. In the morning, we rotated in three groups and learned how to use a loom, visited a chocolate factory and tasted some samples of freshly cut ham and cheese by our new friend, Pepe. After lunch, we headed on a stunning hike on the GR7 (Gran Recorrida 7), a long distance trail through the Alpujarra foothills that links multiple small villages. We then loaded onto the bus for a short travel back to La Herradura and rested early for a day of family fun!
Today, we adventured to Granada, a beautiful city influenced by Arab culture in the south of Spain. There, we toured the Alhambra, an Arab palace built in the year 1238. We also toured Generalife, a beautiful garden attached to the palace. We learned about “mestizaje”, the mixing of two cultures (mainly Roman/Latin and Arab) and debated its pros and cons. After, we had some free time in the city center of Granada to shop, eat and be merry. As our last stop in Granada, we went to the Mirador de San Nicolás to view the Alhambra from a distance. Up on the top, we danced to flamenco music and had what our tour guide referenced as “the best ice cream in Granada. After a full day, we took a bus to Pampaneira, a rural city on the top of the Sierra Nevada mountains, where we will be spending the next day.
A day of multiple adventures! Today we journeyed to the towns of Nerja and Maro. In Nerja, we toured the caves discovered less than half a century ago. We learned about stalactites, stalagmites and the importance of conservation. Then we walked from the countryside of Maro to the “tourist-centered” city of Nerja and compared the lifestyles in both–pros and cons. On our hike, we learned about the ecology of southern Spain, met a cute little goat and discovered hidden coves.
Today we ventured out to hike up El Cerro Gordo, a mountain on the coast which served as a lookout for pirates back in the day. We were able to see more of La Herradura and the neighboring countryside (plus some mountain goats!). Our reward was to eat our picnic near the sea. After the picnic, we learned about the importance of recycling and the ways in which many hands make light work when it comes to beach cleanup. We adventured back into town, loaded up on waffles and coffee and laughed until our rib cages hurt. At the coffee shop, we had our nightly circle in which we reflected on the teachings from the day and dove deeper into some challenging concepts such as the pros and cons of tourism, gentrification and urbanization. The girls then got some free time to explore on their own and met up with their host families at 8. What a full day!
Tuesday night we were invited to walk around the town in the procession as the Festival de San José came to a close. Many students participated in this unique experience.
Tuesday afternoon we had the opportunity to visit a master guitar maker in his workshop. We all had the opportunity to learn about the long and intricate process of making this particular instrument. At the end of his presentation he allowed all of us to try our hand at using one of his tools, el cepillo.
Tuesday morning after having breakfast with their host families, the students headed out to the language school for their first culture class. They were divided into groups and walked into town to speak to the locals about their town festival “La feria de San José”. Later that morning, they caught a performance near the town’s church.
celebrating Gabby’s 18th year on earth in Spain!