Back in the travel game!
I am so excited to be traveling again, bringing students into this big, beautiful world. Check back here for updates, pictures, and stories from the road!
D-1 day (Sunday, June 11)
So far I’ve fielded a few questions from kids and their families about host family gifts, or about what to do if they don’t have any euros in cash (their bank stopped doing foreign currency). For me it is a lot of “hurry up and wait” after packing well in advance so I could show the kids how carry-on only is a possible thing. The travel journal question for them today was, “What are the most important things on your mind as you think about your last-minute preparations & flight? How do these differ from what you expected to be thinking about?”
For me, I actually expected to be more frantic, my mind running a mile a minute, anxious or panicking. Honestly, I’m pretty chill. Part of it is my own disbelief that this is finally here. I can’t wait until we get all checked in at the airport. That is why my concerns for things going smoothly fade away, at least until the time comes to find our courier in Madrid’s airport!
Day 1 (Monday, June 12)
The longest day EVER. We met at the bus stop and were off. I am glad I contacted the bus company and warned them we would have like 20 (a slight overestimation, which worked in our favor) because they sent an express bus in addition to the regular one that makes all the stops. This one went directly to the airport. Of course, arriving earlier meant we were quite early to check in. All in all, the airport was no problem and we were off! (How odd, on the flight I was seated next to a former student and her family heading to Spain where her mom is from!)
Day 2 (Tuesday, June 13)
Tuesday the 13 was not an unlucky day (it is the Spanish equivalent of Friday the 13 in English) but it was a VERY long day. A good day, but running on only the sleep we got on the airplane was definitely a struggle for the kids (and their teachers)!
We arrived and took a panoramic tour of Madrid, then visited areas in the center of town.
It was a lovely tour, although our courier has made pretty much no effort to even meet anyone besides the one teacher she first met from our three schools. She seems kind of new.
After a lovely lunch of a fried calamari sandwich, we had some time to explore and shop. I took advantage of a quiet moment to enjoy a little afternoon cafecito.
We got to Segovia and all the ducklings went off to their host families. Our host, María is lovely, as they generally are. It was a quick dinner of vegetable broth soup and meatloaf, and time to crash. Some of the best sleep ever, once my mind stopped running long enough!
Day 3 (Wednesday, June 14)
Today it was off to Salamanca. It is always mind-blowing to me the length of the preserved history in this country. While civilization existed in the US that long ago, one of the many sad facts is that the colonizer gets to keep their history while the colonized often have theirs destroyed. Of course Spain wasn’t without oppression, invasion, and destruction, but where indigenous structures were flattened at home, in Spain many were simply converted from the inside. And even the “replacement” buildings are so much older than anything that was allowed to stand in the US.
The university here, one of the 4 oldest in the continent (if not in the world), is stunning. We saw an original classroom, where students would sit and listen to the lectures (after sending servants ahead to save and warm a good seat). There are 2 cathedrals, the old and new. Although the “new” is still about 500 years old.
After our touring, we were treated to a tuna show. These strolling serenaders date back to the early days of the university.