Valle de los Caídos, the Spanish Civil War memorial and burial site of Francisco Franco. No photos permitted inside!
It was, however, a fantastic place to sit, eat a bocadillo, and enjoy the view.
The San Lorenzo Monastery in Escorial. Again, no photos were permitted inside.
We arrived very early Sunday morning in Madrid, but the reception couldn´t have been warmer! Everyone was so glad to see each other again.
Our hosts were still celebrating Real Madrid’s big win.
Waiting for our tour our first day at school on Monday! Most of our students went to school at Gredos-San Diego in Guadarrama, and two stayed at Escorial.
On Tuesday, we spent the day in Madrid´s historic city center, starting with a visit to the Debod Temple.
Posing under the statue of a bear and a tree, the symbol of Madrid.
Today, we toured Segovia, a medieval city that boasts a Roman aqueduct they dates back to the first century.
Our group in front of the aqueduct. Roman architects built it without using any kind of cement our adhesive – just stone on stone!
This aqueduct carried water all the way from the mountains of Guadarrama, where some of our students were staying.
The Cathedral of Segovia is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture.
Alcázar of Segovia offers breathtaking views of the valley below. And they allowed pictures inside!
The throne room.
The royal bed chamber.
The Monarchs Room has three dimensional friezes of all the kings and queens of the regions of Asturias, Castile, and León looking down from on high.
The armory room.
¿Don Quijote? Is that you?
This week we are leaving the classrooms behind to tour more of what Madrid has to offer. Today, we returned to the city center to see the Palacio Real and surrounding sites, finishing the day in the shopping district of Puerta del Sol.
Mr. Boles has joined us for this part of our adventure!
El Templo de Debod, a gift to Spain from Egypt. On the other side, there is a fantastic view of the city.
Our group poses next to a modern sculpture.
El Palacio Real. The royal family of Spain currently lives in a smaller palace outside of Madrid, leaving this one open for tours. The interior is amazing, but no photos were permitted!
Our group outside the palace.
Across from the palace is the Almudena Cathedral, where royal weddings have taken place.
Sam poses by the Spanish coat of arms. Each design represents a different region in Spain.
Okay, ONE picture of the interior. Sam managed to secretly snap the throne room, or as he prefers, “my rightful place.”
Welcome/Bienvenidos a Gredos San Diego Guadarrama
The green flag means it’s a nationally-recognized Eco school
“Infantil” (Pre-K) plants the seeds and older students transplant them and maintain the garden. In a festival in September students pick the grapes and stomp them to make grape juice (“mosto”).
Our CSAS Patriots guard the fútbol goal on the playground with the Guadarrama mountain range in the background
The Gredos San Diego Schools are also known for their health, fitness and athletic programs. Javier is the director of the swimming programs which begin at age 2 and continue through high school in the Olympic-size pool.
Future chemists of Spain?
Prize-winning Spanish artist Antonio López García, known for his realistic paintings that look like photographs, was the guest speaker for the opening of the school; the theater is named after him.
Our CSAS stars take to the stage.
Another day away from school! We toured the old part of Madrid, ending up in the Plaza Mayor before heading over to see the the Guernica exhibit at the Reina Sofia museum. After that, we made our way over to El Prado, which houses many famous works by Velásquez and Goya, among others. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed inside!
The Plaza Mayor
Today we visited Toledo, the medieval city famously immortalized by the artist El Greco, where Christians, Arabs, and Jews lived side by side in convivencia for more than five hundred years.
The gates of the old city.
The old synagogue, now the Museo Sefardí.
La Casa del Greco. Although this wasn’t actually where El Greco lived, it has been reconstructed to resemble how his house might have looked in the 16th century.
A statue of Don Quijote de la Mancha stands guard outside a shop.
A view of the cathedral. Preparations were underway to celebrate Corpus Christi next week, an important holiday in Toledo.
A closer view of the exterior of the cathedral’s Gothic architecture.
An interior view of the cathedral.
The level of detail in the sculptures was incredible.
Even more incredible, I managed to catch Annette smiling! (She was trying so hard not to.)
Our first full day was spent in our respective schools. Gredos San-Diego is a cooperative of seven different schools around Madrid. Half of our students are attending school at the Arcadia school, and half are attending classes at Guadarrama.
Annette and Sam, with their host students Micaela and Victor, attended classes at Colegio Arcadia.
Myrissa with all her new amigos at Colegio Guadarrama.
The fantastic view of the mountains from Colegio Guadarrama.
Annette’s dinner with her host family. ¡Buen provecho!
Storks nesting atop a church in Villanueva de Campañada, where Colegio Arcadia is located.
The scenery here is spectacular!
We made it! After one short flight to Charlotte, one long layover, and one loooong flight over the Atlantic, we are finally here! We were so excited to see our Spanish friends and their families waiting for us after baggage claim.
Today is a day to settle in to our respective homes, take a little siesta, and hang out with our host families. Tomorrow, we begin our first full day at Colegio Gredos San-Diego.
Here are some pictures that our students have shared:
Myrissa meets host student Marta for the first time.
Annette captured a beautiful sunset from her host family’s backyard.
The view from Mrs. Bas’s host’s house.
Our intrepid group prepares to leave the Chattanooga airport.