Sábado el 6 de Julio 2019, auspiciously the first of day of Pamplona’s bull running festival Los San Fermines, nineteen year 10s and staff met at East Midlands airport ready for the adventure known to those who have already completed it as …….. La Misión Valenciana.
The aim, to see as much of Spain’s third biggest city as possible, to gather scientific and cultural knowledge from the ancient and modern aspects of the town’s rich past and present, to try as much new food as possible and to live the life of a typical Valencian residing in the oldest and most historic part of town.
Sunday was a day of exploración, orienteering and climbing the 13th century gate to the old city over which El Cid led his mercenaries to re-capture Valencia for the Catholic Church. Paella was demolished later at a restaurant behind the market and in the evening we sat and wept at Talk Story 4 in Spanish.
Monday and Tuesday were spent at the Ciudad de Ciencias https://www.cac.es/va/home.html and the Bioparc de Valencia https://www.bioparcvalencia.es/ respectively. This gave everyone, especially the triple science students who came on the trip, a chance to focus on scientific themes as well as learning new vocabulary and experiencing these two stunning tourist attractions.
A small group of 4 students elected to go back to school on the Wednesday instead of taking part in the Bioparc visit. Thanks to a contact at the English Tower Academy, students were able to spend 3 hours in English lesson for Spanish students. Our students took part in activities and help the Spanish students with speaking exercises as well as practise their own Spanish when the tables were turned.
Wednesday was our last full day and traditionally had more of a “holiday vibe”. Students began with a Market activity where they had to shop in the Mercado Central de Valencia for picnic ingredients. Once completed, we travelled by city bus to the beach where we spent a few hours enjoying the award winning city beach located at the very eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea.
Our “last supper” was eaten outside a restaurant opposite the central market. Our host, Abdul has been feeding students on this trip for over a decade now and always makes sure the students eat well and feel welcomed and comfortable on their last night’s dining experience. As was our custom during the trip, after the evening meal, we walked up to the Cathedral Square, stopping for ice cream on the way and taking in the atmosphere of a typical Spanish summer evening. The streets were full of people and the Plaza de la Virgen was particularly busy than night. Shortly before retiring for the night, our travelling dance group decided to have an impromptu rehearsal which attracted an appreciative audience, participation from Miss Belgrich and nearly started a flash mob!!
This year’s group were quite simply brilliant. They ate more paella, walked more miles, shopped for breakfast more often in the Central Market, tried more different food and spent longer in lessons with Spanish students learning English than any other group in the 14 years this trip has been running. The support for each other within the group and the participation in all of the exercises was excellent.
Muchas Gracias to all students and parents for their support and cooperation and to Miss Shapland and Miss Belgrich for their invaluable support and input!! – Señor Parker.