Our Last Few Days in Madrid

Our Last Few Days in Madrid

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el martes 7-7-15 9.30h (Tuesday, 7-7-15, 9:30am)

My apologies (again) for not posting sooner! It has been a busy week and we are always go-go-go! I also was without Wi-Fi this past weekend and wasn´t able to access the school computers until this morning. Since my last post, we spent a day in Toledo, a medieval city and landmark in Spain. We had time to walk around and explore and shop near the Alcázar, the iconic fortress of the town. We also visited and toured the Monasterio de las Descalzas, an active Catholic monastery founded in 1559. The monastery is open during the week during specific hours for tours and as a museum for the public.

After spending the weekend with out host families - many students went to the amusement park located here in Madrid - we met back up on Monday for our last day of class in the morning with Enrique, our teacher for the past week and a half. In the afternoon we traveled via the subway to the city for a tour of the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). This was originally on the schedule for last Monday, but it was closed for public entry due to an organized event so we went yesterday instead. Although the King and Queen of Spain do not currently live at the palace (they live in another palace on the outskirts of Madrid), it is still actively used for royal events and gatherings. It is open, however, during specific hours for public visits. Similar to many other places we have visited during our trip, we weren´t allowed to take pictures except for in the main entryway and staircase. The palace has over 2,000 rooms and 9 floors (3 underground) and on the organized tour we were able to visit a small handful. We got to see the exquisite artwork and intricate ceiling, wall and floors designs in various sitting rooms where people would customarily wait before being received by the King. We also got to see the grand dining room with the long dining table where the King and Queen and their invitados sit to eat while musicians play live string music in a nearby room. The table was only half its usual size, as they adjust the rooms and furniture for public tours, but normally seats 142 people. The King and Queen sit across from each other in the middle of the table, in chairs slightly taller than the others and directly underneath the largest chandelier in the room. Large crystal chandeliers hung everywhere and perhaps the most impressionable things we saw were the old crown and sceptor of the King and the throne room. However, when the King and Queen of Spain visit the Palace, they no longer sit on the throne and instead stand at the bottom of the stairs on the same level as their people. This symbolizes how the monarchy in Spain has changed since the 16th century.

Today is our last day in Spain! We leave in about an hour for the water amusement park here in Madrid. Students´ Spanish siblings will be coming with us to cool off from the heat at the park. Tomorrow we meet at the school at 7:30am with our bags to travel together to the airport. Our flight out of Madrid leaves at 11am and we land in Atlanta around 2:30pm. After a 2 hour layover, we leave ATL for PDX and should arrive around 7pm Portland time Wednesday evening! This adventure in Madrid has been priceless and although the students are tired and worn out, they have really enjoyed their stay here in Spain. As a Spanish teacher, I am really proud and excited to see how their language and confidence has improved since our first day here. It is amazing how quickly we learn language when we are living and immersed in it, compared to what we learn out of a book in a classroom at home. Although we had a group full of students of all language levels, each student has improved and will have a leg up over their peers in their next Spanish class. In addition to the language, the culture that they have witnessed and been a part of for the last 2 1/2 weeks has given them, I´m sure, a new perspective on the world and people around them and I know this trip will remain unforgettable.

On another note, my camera battery died and won´t charge so I am unable to upload more pictures. I will work on getting more up when I get home. I also made a Photobucket account for our group to dump all our pictures onto so we can share. Students have been given the username and password so that they can have access to it. I will also email out this information in case they forgot.

See you tomorrow night at PDX!