A beautiful view from the mountain

A day trip to Frigiliana

We took a short trip to Frigiliana on Tuesday. It is famous for its pedestrian streets, white houses with blue doors, its amazing view of the sea, and for having one of the oldest Sugar Cane factories around. We tried some typical products made in Frigiliana and we took a little walking tour. The girls said it seemed like what Greece would look like. We did a little shopping, and enjoyed some ice cream.

We met some local retired “grandfathers” who sit on the benches and stare at the incredible view. When some girls asked to take pictures with the “granddads” I think they may have just about made their month. They kept posing and asking to be in more pictures so they could talk to the girls longer. They were innocent, and it was very funny and fun to watch.

¡Hasta Pronto!

– Anne Johnson, U.S. Chaperone, Nerja

Hola desde España!

Ready for the weekend after a great first week in Salamanca

This week students moved in with their Salamanca host families and have starting learning more about Spanish culture. This also includes important time to practice their Spanish skills with them.

According to roommates Delaney & Stephanie, “Spain is an adventure! We really love the tapas. They’re great for sharing with a big group of friends!”

Activities this week included:

– Touring the towering cathedral (construction was completed in the 14th century) and walking up its narrow winding staircase to the top, which overlooks the best of Salamanca.

– Taking a flamenco dance class and learning when to stomp and clap to the traditional music from the south of Spain.

– A salsa dance class was great, too. There was a very different beat, but we all learned some great dance steps!

– Meeting up with our Language Partners to further practice Spanish and learn more about the fantastic city of Salamanca.

– Visiting the bull ring to learn more about the world of bullfighting from a local matador. He then showed us then ins & outs of using his cape in the ring.

Tomorrow, Saturday, we head to the city of Segovia to visit the very old Roman aqueduct. A local guide will tour this charming city with us. We can also visit the Alcazar castle, which has been attributed with the inspiration for the Disneyland castle!

As you can see, we are having a great time. Included are some photos of us touring around Madrid and Avila. I will write again soon!

Hasta pronto,

– Jennifer Brown, U.S. Chaperone, Salamanca 3

Our Language Partners & Caves of Nerja

Practicing our Spanish with locals

One of the activities that I think is most valuable for the students is their time spent with language partners. College-aged students are selected by our local leader to spend time with the kids with ECI. So far their language partners gave them a tour of Nerja on our first night, they had a beach activity a few nights ago, and Wednesday night the had a “tapas” activity. In Spain it’s customary to receive a “tapa” (small plate of food) with any type of beverage you order. So last night the girls got to experience a typical evening in Nerja for the Spaniards, and they went “tapeando” – bouncing around to different locations to have a soda and a tapa. 

Las Cuevas de Nerja

We visited “Las Cuevas de Nerja” yesterday, also known as the Caves of Nerja. Some boys who were playing in the area discovered them in 1959. As the story goes they lost their ball down one of the caves and when going to look for it, they discovered the underground caves. For years now, the caves have been a popular attraction. You can check out the link if you would like to see more pictures of the inside because we were not allowed to use flash while taking pictures. – Las Cuevas de Nerja

¡Hasta Pronto!

– Anne Johnson, U.S. Chaperone, Nerja

Gracias San Sebastian & Hola Madrid!

Our immersion week in San Sebastian has been fantastic! I’ve had the chance to speak to all of the students this week and all have been in agreement about how much fun they have had getting to know their families. Our favorite princesa, Hailey, even celebrated her 17th birthday here in San Sebastian! There have been beach visits, get-togethers, horseback riding, shopping expeditions, big family gatherings, outings with friends, trips to the movies, and most of all a true immersion into family life and culture… and lots and lots of Spanish practice!
Goodbyes to families tomorrow will be bittersweet as the group once again reunites to board the bus for Madrid! Once in Madrid we will check-in to our hotel and then visit the Royal Palace (the White House for the Royal Family of Spain). Students will then have free time for last minute purchases before gathering for our farewell dinner. Monday we say goodbye to Lauren and Sofia who stay in Madrid for a couple more days and the rest of the group head to the airport to take off for home! 
As I sign off, let me say how much I have enjoyed getting to know this amazing group of students. Rarely have I traveled with such mature, independent and outgoing teens! 
Goodbye from Spain!
– Jennifer Brown, U.S. Chaperone, Salamanca 3

A great weekend in Spain

An overnight trip to Sevilla

We had our overnight excursion in Sevilla Friday night. Sevilla is about three hours away from Nerja. I am pretty sure most of us slept the majority of the way there; on a private bus so big we could take over about four rows each. Friday night in Sevilla we walked though town and had a great dinner outside, under some trees near a little plaza in the middle of town, where you can only get to by walking.

Feeling the heat in Sevilla

Saturday the girls felt the true heat of Sevilla everyone had been warning them about. It was hot! I am not sure how hot it got Saturday afternoon, but it was 93 degrees at 11pm the night before. We decided to hire a tour guide for the Alcazar, the Muslim palace in middle of town that fell the Christians and became the major port of all Europe to the Americas. We also toured the cathedral and got to walk to the top of the Giralda bell tower. And to finally get out of the sun, we spent a few hours at the mall next door to our hotel before heading home. Everyone seemed pretty content with that part of the day.

Visiting the water park

Sunday afternoon we went to the water park in a town nearby by bus. It was so fun and refreshing to swim in fresh water. The girls had a blast racing each other down the multiple water slides, hanging out in the wave pool and lying in the sun. It was a fun, sun-filled afternoon! Everyone’s cheeks are a little sun kissed, but we are being very good about applying sun block. It seems there isn’t an activity these girls won’t make the most of and enjoy. Being their chaperone is not only an easy task, but it’s fun!

¡Hasta Pronto!

– Anne Johnson, U.S. Chaperone, Nerja