Seville – Day Three

Evening all!

Yet another day of sun, souvenirs and Seville for our 23 members of Class 6. Brand new adventures and sites to see, but the same old traditions of beautiful behaviour that was constantly commented on and praised upon by several tourists and passers-by.

Another early wake up call saw me venture once more into the bedrooms of our brave travelers, and once more every boy had to be woken with some even stronger coercion than the previous morning. But to my shock, the girls too needed waking! We really have exercised them well on this trip – if you ever have troubles getting them to sleep, just book a 4 night stay in Seville with 22 of their friends…it works an absolute treat!

We prepped and packed our bags for a day trip out to the famous Spanish riding schools, before heading down to another well stocked breakfast. This time we were able to select from a range of yoghurts and fruit, as well as the usual pastries and vast amounts of toast. Juice and water consumed a plenty too and we were off to clean our teeth, ready for the adventure ahead.

Meeting our coach on the nearest road, we were extremely excited to hop on to head to our destination. All the amazing excursions, opportunities and entertainment we provide these children and it’s a coach that gets them most animated! Quite a long trip was required to reach our destination, but every child travelled brilliantly with no complaints and only the occasional “Mr.Still, when will we get there?”….. Not long. Not long is always the answer.

Not long after, we arrived at the Spanish riding school and departed the excitement inducing coach. It was so exhilarating on that coach that it in fact caused one child to leave their lunch behind in all the amusement! But luckily Mrs Quirk had the driver’s number and Seniora Hayes had the language to ask for him to return the lunch like a special delivery, as Mrs.Quirk aptly commented, “Seniora Hayes saves the day again!”

With all lunches counted for (children too!) we explored the grounds of the school, watching warm up routines of the performing horses, examining the cross-bred features of a mule and exploring the museum to discover the history of the riding school and the disciplined skills of dancing horses. With a stop in a shady spot for lunch, we were ready for the live show of aforementioned dancing horses.

Due to the strict rules of the arena, we were unable to take any photographs or films whatsoever so the children will not be able to show you what happened, but hopefully will remember enough to tell you. I am certain that they will all tell you their highlight was seeing these magnificent beasts walking and hopping on their rear legs and unbelievably they were able to jump and kick themselves into the air also. The skill, patience and discipline of both horse and rider was clear for all to see! With the show over and the coach returning, we headed back to our adoptive Seville home – with enough time for a quick snooze for lots of travelers, including a teacher or two.

Arriving back at the hostel, the children were given a small amount of free time to begin organising their possessions ready for our return trip tomorrow. Full warning disclosure: the children have been asked to pack their own bags for the return. Items of clothing will not return to you in the same beautifully packed format as they left you.

With bags “packed”, we ventured out once more to the streets of Seville. Intitially, on a secondary ice cream hunt. With Seniora Hayes organising our packed lunches for our return journey tomorrow, the children were required to order their ice creams completely independently. With no trepidation or apprehension, all children stepped forward to ask for their flavour of ice cream, decide whether they would like a pot or cone and thank the shop owner. Every single child managed this successfully and even though Seniora Hayes had returned by the second order, she was able to have a 5 minute break! We are certainly fluent in the language of ice cream.

With ice creams devoured, we had an hour or so to scale Seville for souvenirs. Plenty more Spanish vocabulary used, many questions asked and ultimately several euros spent and items purchased. We discussed that every year there is a “popular trend buy” this year’s is fans. We have seen a wide range of beautifully crafted fans purchased, and much joy is being displayed through the skilled dramatic unfurling of fans. Mrs. Silvester guided us through the streets and shops to our dinner reservation at a near by hostel.

Tonight was the night for paella – if you’ve seen the picture on the Facebook PTA page you’ll see how much paella we all had – not just me! Although I’m not sure why I’m protesting, I could have very happily sat and ate the whole paella myself, it was truly delicious. Once more, every child attempted the dish and every child definitely ate a fair share. It was very pleasing to hear children asking for more paella and particularly more sea food, who knew we had such a group of foreign-food lovers?! In fact, it was so appealing that Mrs.Baillache nearly wavered her allergy intolerance to shellfish…she obviously didn’t but I definitely saw her eyeing a few up!

Food eaten and drinks slurped, we returned to our own hostel for some final night games. We commenced with our Spanish cluedo from Seniora Hayes, I didn’t quite catch the whole outcome but I believe Mrs.Silvester was caught red handed in the cathedral with her weapon of choice: a banana. After several rounds and several victories, we moved on to a couple of games of “One Night” which sees a member of our group transform into a werewolf in an elaborate game of wink murder effectively. With the excitement of this game over, we were treated to a box of popcorn to share between friends as Mrs Quirk revealed her telepathic powers. I think you’ve all heard the rumour of teachers having eyes in the back of their heads, but St. John’s teachers are gifted with the power to communicate with their minds. As a special treat for their continued impeccable behaviour, Mrs.Quirk revealed the secrets of our powers and now your children may too communicate through the power of the mind – you’ve been warned!

With that incredible new power buzzing through their minds, the children happily made their way to bed to conclude Day Three of Seville. We can’t quite believe that our amazing trip is almost over, but we do still have a WHOLE day left together tomorrow and we intend to make the most of it.

Day Three done. On to Day Four: The Return of the Sixes.

Word count is higher once more than yesterday – I might just have to blog about my weekend to avoid withdrawal symptoms!

Buenos noches!

Seville- Day Two

Well, here we are! Day Two has seen us up early for breakfast, learn about the famous Seville bull ring, speak Spanish to the locals for our food in the market, ride horse and carriage or row a boat, enjoy the Spanish delicacy of tapas and then play games before heading for a well deserved rest for tomorrow! Let’s get started…

My alarm came all too soon this morning after the extensive efforts of travelling the day before, and I can assure you I was the least favourite teacher on tour as I took on the role of wake up call for the majority of the group. Another new accomplishment from this wonderful group, every single boy was fast asleep and had to be severely coerced to wake up and get ready for breakfast. Whereas, every single girl was awake and preparing for the day ahead. One point to the girls I think!

Our first experience of breakfast was a huge success, with everybody finding something to enjoy. A range of choices on the continental breakfast and another chance to practise our Spanish with the choice of drink to accompany our European appetites.

Following breakfast, we set off for the Plaza de Torros, or bull ring, where the journey there included lots of conversations of our varying opinions on the subject. Before entering our tour, we all discussed and debated our thoughts but agreed to enter with an open mind. Our tour guide, Isabelle, was an encyclopaedia of bull-fighting knowledge and answered all of our questions, provided us with many interesting facts and guided us around the spectacular museum. Paintings, formal costumes, weapons, models and even the odd bull head or two, engaged and enthralled every single member of our tour. The final treat of standing on the actual arena floor ,where a genuine show will take place tomorrow evening, (we’re not attending – don’t worry) was just far too tempting and the majority of our group turned into the torro or the picadors, banderilleros and Toreros (the various members of the bull-fighting team). Although we may not be leaving as future members of the bull-fighting school, I am certain that everybody enjoyed the tour, learned a lot of information and potentially altered their views on the controversial subject. I must sound like a broken record, but the group were again praised for their listening skills and thoughtful, intelligent questions.

The excitement of the bull ring was too much and we had to refuel our systems. Therefore, we headed to the market to buy our own lunches in the fresh food market. Although this may not have the adrenaline appeal of the bull ring, it is certainly the highlight of previous trips and often the most talked about moment of the day. This year was no different. Armed with euros and the mission of buying enough food for us all, we set forth into the Spanish market to impress the natives. And that is certainly what we did! Another very proud moment for Seniora Hayes, as every single group knew how to ask for their food, the amount they would like, question the cost, understand the pricing and pay with the correct amount. A truly phenomenal triumph of Seniora Hayes’ amazing teaching and evidence of the children’s dedicated learning over the years. So many market traders and fellow customers praised and encouraged the children and it truly was a pleasure to behold.

After the roaring success of buying the food, we then had the pleasure of eating it too! I had hoped to have taken a picture of the incredible buffet on offer, but sadly it was ravaged rather quickly! Breads, cheeses, meats, accompanied by cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, oranges, cherries, strawberries and apples – the most healthy, delicious and well-earned lunches was heavily consumed! Leaving just enough time for a quick shop stop to buy souvenirs (and the occasional gift for loved ones) before heading for our next adventure of the day!

For their incredible Spanish speaking success, the children were offered a horse and carriage ride or a rowing boat experience. Choices made, monies paid, we were off. Now, sadly, I can’t tell you too much of the carriage ride as I had the “privilege” to row with two groups for a continuous hour. If anybody ever suggests that this is a holiday for teachers, I have the blistered hands, aching back and soaked shorts to prove that it certainly isn’t! But obviously, my groups were by far the most successful – what’s the saying “A ship is only as good as its captain”? A truer statement would be harder to find. But I can say with upmost certainty that fun and laughter were had by all – carriage riders and canal rowers alike. Lots of smiles in the sunshine and memories in the making.

One final stop for the evening, saw us return to our hostel for an incredible tapas dinner. Spanish omelette, patatas bravas, pollo al curry con cuscús and albondigas were all on the menu and served up for the children to try. Every child did attempt something new – of that I’m certain. However, not every child tried everything – but a really good attempt from all. The leftovers of favoured choices and the piles of bread was more than sufficient for those slightly “less adventurous” eaters. Once again, the children were constantly praised for their attitude and behaviour from the Spanish team.

Just enough time to fit in a game or two, including some very interesting answers of a quiz about ourselves, and then it was time for bed. Once again, there were a large number of people ready for their beauty sleep, in fact it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say the entire troop were ready for bed.

And with that, Day Two was over and we rise nice and early again tomorrow for Day Three, as we venture out of Seville for a day trip.

Word count is 1000 words – I’ll try not to waffle on again tomorrow.

Adios!

Seville – Day One

As I sit and attempt to post this blog (fingers crossed), 23 members of Class 6 are tucked up in bed and have fallen fast asleep! Some parents may laugh at this thought, but I assure you, when Mrs.Quirk asked, “Who can be honest enough to say they’re feeling tired?” at least half the group’s weary hands raised in the air – not to mention a few drained teachers too!

We have been non-stop today since we waved to parents at 7am this morning, the children commented how their mums and dads were nervous or scared to see them go. Whereas others mentioned that their parents may have been waving ever so slightly over-enthusiastically – potentially delighted to pack their little darlings off for four days! We made the dreaded Gatwick run in good time and settled in at the airport. A few shop and toilet runs later, we were off to the gate, bumped to the front of the boarding queue and without delay on our way to Seville!

A particular highlight for all of us adults today, has been the continuous praise and commendations received from airport staff and fellow passengers on the incredible behaviour, maturity and independence of the entire group. I know – we could barely believe it either! But in all honesty, I have never heard so much praise from “strangers” to one of our groups in a single day. You should all be incredibly proud of your children – just like we are!

Hopping off the plane after a particularly smooth landing, we boarded yet another coach to make our way to the hostel. The excited children were amazed at the quite frankly incredible hostel that we’re lucky to stay in this week, plenty of buzzing about the roommate combinations and the decisions of top or bottom bunk. We’re very aware of how much the children love time in and out of the rooms and comparing the different layouts, therefore a fair amount of time was spent to make sure all comparisons were made!

Whilst dinner was ordered and collected, the children engaged in a game of charades with quite frankly a varied range of success. Clearly my lessons on syllables didn’t have much effect! After a few “interesting” acting displays, the pizza arrived and we all endulged in a range of toppings. Of course the Spanish vocabulary was essential to describe what we wanted! Some of us polished off 4 huge slices, which provided us with plenty of energy to burn off out in the towns of Seville.

So off we set to Plaza Espana to discover some Sevillian history (and work off some pizza slices). The architecture and fountains were remarkable and I hope to post some pictures of us enjoying them soon! Seniora Hayes set us a few Spanish challenges and after a few rampaging laps of the fountain we were Sevillian artwork experts and ready to head back to the hostel.

But of course, we managed to squeeze in a quick ice cream stop! At this point, we suddenly transformed into perfectly fluent native Spanish speakers to inform them of our flavour desires and choice of cone or pot. Seniora Hayes was incredibly proud to see the children putting theory into practice and I think they may have earned themselves another trip later this week!

All in all, an incredibly successful yet tiring start to our Spanish adventure! A bright and early start tomorrow (not as early as today), to begin our action-packed day!

As I said previously, I will try to have the pictures uploaded ASAP but it may now be tomorrow.

Day one completed. On to Day Two!

Springtime Adventures at Carroty Wood

What an active way to end Term 4 :The Sport Relief Walk and Carroty Wood!

After all the snow and ice, the sun finally came out to warmly greet us as we ventured to Carroty Wood for our exciting residential trip. Class 4 excitedly boarded the coach and headed off for their active adventure on Wednesday. The children happily played imaginative games in the woods, built dens and structures before having lunch together. It was wonderful to see how creative they can be, having the freedom to play and explore.

The afternoon commenced with the High Ropes and Low Ropes courses, with many children conquering their fear of heights and challenging themselves to have a go even when it looked too difficult. Resilience, encouragement and courage were demonstrated in abundance.

A special treat awaited us after swimming in the evening in the form of pizzas! Exhausted by the activities, we flopped into our beds and all slept soundly.

Thursday morning, we were challenged to work in teams to complete the Maze or the Mission Impossible before playing a game of Rounders. Before returning to school, we ate our packed lunches (made by the children) and reflected on the fun we had had together.

A memorable (muddy) experience for all!  Here are a few photos to enjoy;

Barcelona – Day Three

Welcome back to the Barcelona Blog.

Day Three and sadly it’s our final full day in the beautiful Spanish sunshine, however we do get a good amount of Barcelona time before catching the flight home to you all in England.

Once again, EVERY child had to be woken up this morning, there were no nonsensical stories of early rising times. We all needed the sleep last night after an exhausting day yesterday and a day to come full of energy-zapping travelling and activities. So to start the day once again we took full advantage of the buffet breakfast and drank all the juice available to us.

Slightly different first activity of this morning was to write a shopping list and practise our basic Spanish phrases to prepare ourselves for the market later in the day. However, our first stop on the Wednesday edition of the Barcelona tour was the remarkably beautiful church Santa Maria Del Mar.

This ancient yet pristinely maintained building is often a favourite on our tour, as it gives the children the opportunity to sit and have time with their thoughts within a peaceful tranquility. Remarkably, the noise and hustle and bustle of Barcelona is left at the door as silence befalls all those who enter the church’s doors. I have to say how immensely proud I am of all your children for perfectly respecting the silence and understanding that this is an active place of worship and such an important building to so many in the local area – well done Class 6 so impressive!

Following on from our holy start, we ventured further into the heart of Barcelona for our most exciting challenge of the week – the Spanish market: Santa Caterina. We split off into 5 groups with the challenge of purchasing enough food for our lunch that day. Seniora Hayes has been teaching this class for several years, although recently we’ve had a Barcelona focus and it certainly paid off. Every single child asked for something, questioned the price of individual items or the total, told the traders how many slices or grams or bunches they would like and of course lots of pleases and thank yous. In fact, they were so good that some children were rewarded with free meats and cheeses from the stall holders. After saying I was proud for the group after the church, there are no superlatives to justify their “performance” st the market – the food choice were impressive too, lots of fresh fruit on show.

Packing up the food in our bags, we meandered even further into the heart of Barcelona to eat our market bought ingredients in the sunshine and shade. We settled upon a park to rest our weary legs and devour our purchases. En route to our perfect picnic spot, we passed the most beautiful gardens and trees. Although the most eye-catching monument was a giant golden water fountain cascading through the park. We have photographic evidence, just once again a technical issue is preventing that currently.

Following on with a full belly, we returned to the Picasso museum (that we had passed earlier in the day) to gain cultural knowledge of the famous artist. Mrs. Silvester and I have had this tour three years on the trot and we still have seen new pieces of artwork and learnt new information, so ask your children about Picasso and you may even become educated on the great man yourself!

Finally, we made our way to the Telefonica up to the castle at Montjuic. This our chance to soak up the views and map where we have travelled across the city. The most obvious site is Sagrada Familia which stands high above the rest of the Barcelona skyline. The children enjoyed basking in the glorious sunshine as we wandered round the grounds and various levels of the castle. After stopping on the way back down the Telefonica for an ice lolly, we journeyed back to Hotel Canton for the final time. Here we all enjoyed a large bowl of pasta and later played various Barcelona trip games and learnt some new interesting facts about our classmates thanks to a question game created by Mrs.Quirk.

Our last night in Barcelona was filled with fun, giggles and games before all children sensibly made their way to bed. Unbelievably some have already packed! The rest of us will pack tomorrow morning, before we head out for shopping and hopefully churros somehwere in the last few hours of Barcelona sunshine. We’re all looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, as I’m sure you’re looking forward to seeing us too.

One of Mrs. Quirk’s questions was “What will be the first thing you do when you’re home from barcelona?” Answers ranged from “I don’t know, I haven’t thought about home yet.” all

the way to “I’ll give my parents a big hug and tell them about everything!” Although some of us simply wrote “rest” or “sleep”, all the answers were spot on as all will need to be completed and we’re excited to do so!

 

Pictures will hopefully follow tomorrow!