It was a case of second time lucky for our hotly anticipated Spanish immersion trip earlier this month, after our first flight was cancelled because of the French air traffic controllers’ strike.
But that didn’t deter our Spanish adventure and with something of a sense of déjà vu just over a week later, we set out for the second time to Stansted bound for Bilbao and the small coastal village of Comillas in northern Spain.
Our wonderful host, Jose Herrera, who organised the trip in Bilbao, met us at the airport and took us off to our hotel. After a swim in the pool before dinner, we had a ‘relatively’ early night to be ready for our first action-packed day and experience all that Spain had to offer.
This began with several hours of intensive Spanish tuition in the beautiful historic tourist centre-cum-town hall with Ana and Estella. We then departed for El Soplao, an amazing network of caves with some of the finest examples of stalactites and stalagmites in Europe.
Day 2 began with a visit to a Spanish school ‘Antonio Robinet’ where our students had the opportunity to put what they had learned into practice with Spanish students of a similar age. It didn’t take long for our students to get into the spirit of Spanish culture with some of them learning some traditional Flamenco dancing while the rest took part in a football tournament with our Spanish hosts.
We then went for some retail therapy in a shopping mall in Santander followed by more culture at the Capriche de Gaudi, a wonderful art deco house designed by Gaudi himself.
Day 3 we set out early for a trip to the Cabarceno Wildlife Park. Spanning across acres of parkland, our students enjoyed seeing a whole variety of wild animals up close including bears, rhinos, elephants, tigers, leopards and much more. We were even treated to a spectacular falconry display and a thrilling cable car ride which took us high above the tree tops.
On our return to the hotel we enjoyed a Spanish treat of ‘churros and chocolate’ before a treasure hunt around the village aided by the local villagers which gave us the opportunity to practise our Spanish. After another swim followed by dinner, our students couldn’t resist some more flamenco practice before we headed for bed.
Day 4 started with Spanish immersion lessons in Comillas with Ana and Estella before heading out to the museum at Altamira. We enjoyed a traditional lunch of paella followed by a visit to a replica of the prehistoric caves of Altamira, renowned for its numerous cave paintings of local fauna and human hands.
Our visit was almost at an end but not before Alis explained about prehistoric man and showed how to make fire without matches! A spectacular end to an action packed and exciting trip.
Stoke College extends our special thanks to Mrs Smith and Miss Stansfield for organising and accompanying the trip, and to our students who were excellent ambassadors for the school throughout the trip.