Spain

Fiesta Fin del Curso and Goodbyes

¡Hola!

Although we were very sad to see the students leave us, we enjoyed an incredible last day together on Thursday. In the morning, our 4-week students took their final exams while the students who recently arrived from Barcelona took a bike tour along the coast of Conil. At 1 pm, we all reconvened in the school to celebrate a birthday! One of our students turned 16 today so we sang to her and ate delicious cake from a local bakery that we (and especially the birthday girl) adore.

After the birthday celebration, everyone went back to their homes for lunch and packing. The students also had some hours in the afternoon to purchase souvenirs, hang out some more with their families, or meet up with friends in town.

At night, we got together for a fiesta in celebration of the memory-filled month we’ve spent in Conil. The students’ homestay families were also invited. Highlights included a hilarious parody of “Despacito” performed by a group of students, superlative awards, and a video montage of the trip. We ate great food and enjoyed the company of all the people who made this month so special.

On Friday, we made our way to Madrid. We had time for a nice stroll around the Serrano neighborhood before eating a delicious dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant.

We said our final goodbyes on Saturday at the Madrid Barajas airport. It was hard seeing such a wonderful group go but we hope they know that they will always have a home and many, many friends in Conil.

 

Gibraltar and Tarifa

¡Hola a todos!

This morning we set off for our last group excursion. Our first destination was Gibraltar. Upon arrival, we took the cable car up to the “top of the rock” where we enjoyed incredible views of the Strait of Gibraltar and the coast of Spain. On the drive to Gibraltar from Conil, we even spotted Africa in the distance! The students were pretty surprised by how close Africa is to the south of Spain.

On the top of the rock in Gibraltar, we also got to see and take pictures of monkeys. These monkeys are actually one of the main attractions in Gibraltar! Check out some of the great photos from our group.

After coming down from the rock, we walked into town to find lunch. Some students also did some shopping since Gibraltar’s main street has some British stores that aren’t available in Spain.

On our way back to Conil, we stopped in a big surf town called Tarifa. However, instead of surfing we went snorkeling! The water was pretty cold but we had a fun time anyway. After the snorkeling excursion, some students played a quick game of beach volleyball before we got back on the bus.

On another note, yesterday was our last day of surf classes. The students who recently arrived from Barcelona also got to participate and give surf a try! After surf class, we also played basketball versus some locals. Tomorrow the students will take the final exam for their Spanish classes. Wish them luck!

Cádiz, Vejer, and Last Day of Cooking!

¡Hola!

After recently saying goodbye to three of our students, we welcomed two students from the Barcelona program to spend the last week with us in Conil. After they arrived on Saturday afternoon, we took an excursion to Cádiz.

We began our tour of Cádiz at the Torre Tavira, an old watchtower. Since Cádiz has one of the most important ports of trade in Spain, the watchtowers were used to protect the city. At the time, Torre Tavira was the main watchtower since it is located in the center and at the highest point in the city.

After learning about Torre Tavira’s importance and enjoying the views from the terrace level, we took a brief walking tour of the old part of the city. After that, students had free time for shopping, exploring, and finding an afternoon snack!

On Sunday, we visited a nearby town called Vejer, where Cucu (our local assistant) and her grandfather showed us around. Cucu’s grandfather was the mayor of Vejer for many years so he was especially knowledgable in the history of the town. He told our students about a local tradition that is quite unique. Every four years, the town hall raffles off plots of land. Whichever families win these plots of land, have four years to do whatever they want with them. This tradition began centuries ago when Vejer was being constantly conquered by the Moors and then reconquered by the Christians. Since many people considered it dangerous to live in Vejer, the town began this tradition of raffling off lands to attract people to stay! Up to this day, the tradition continues.

Last night (Monday night) was our last night of cooking class. We made delicious homemade pizza. The chef also surprised the students with a cookbook of the recipes we have made together. Each student will be bringing one home!

Today is our last day of classes and also the last day of surf. We are soaking up every moment of our last week in Conil.

¡Hasta pronto!

Week Three

¡Hola!

We are at the end of week three and a lot has happened. Summerfuel’s “Points” competition came to an end on Wednesday. The competition Started on day 1 and students in each team received points based on their performance in Spanish classes, workshops, excursions and the video project “docu-Conil”. To say that students got a bit competitive would be the understatement of the year.  The prize was dinner and a later curfew and everyone fought for it! In the end there was a tie between the “Supermercado” and “Cool O’s” teams. Well done!

On Wednesday we visited Conil’s lonja where fish caught in Conil is auctioned to local restaurants and buyers from Italy and Greece. We watched a video about the different fishing methods used by fishermen in Conil and were there to see the boats come in with their catch after a long night at sea.

On a sadder note, students who signed up for the 3 week option left this morning. We were so sad to see them leave and will miss them very much.

Tomorrow, we are traveling to Cádiz, the capital of the province and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere. This is the place where when they dug the foundation for a new building they found a Roman circus!

We also have a treat on Sunday. We will be going to the beautiful whitewashed town of Vejer where we will be toured by Cucu’s grandfather who was the Mayor of Vejer for many years. Cucu (Summerfuel’s local assistant) will dress in the traditional costume of the cobijada woman of Vejer. The cobijada women dressed in black from head to toe and only showed one eye. We asked students to invite their Spanish friends who will also come with us. We will return to Conil after dinner.

¡Hasta pronto!

 

 

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Córdoba y Sevilla

¡Hola!

We had an amazing time in Córdoba and Sevilla. We visited la Mezquita, Jewish Quarter and Roman bridge in Córdoba and la Plaza de España, los Reales Alcázares, and the Jewish quarter in Seville. La Plaza de España was built for the bero-American Exposition World’s Fair but what really caught the students’ attention was that it was used as a filming location for Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia! Games of Thrones was also filmed in Seville, in los Reales Alcázares.

We had a few good meals where we had the opportunity to taste (yet) more Spanish food and we finished our trip kayaking in the Guadalquivir River.

Here are some photos y hasta pronto.

 

Week 2

¡Hola!

It seems like our students have been in Conil for a few months instead of 2 weeks. By now they know their way around Conil pretty well and they come and go speaking Spanish like a real conileños. Spanish classes are going great and afternoon workshops continue in full swing: at cooking they made a pasta bolognese (with pasta made from scratch), at Surfing you could already see a few students stand on their boards, during photography students climbed up to the emblematic Toro de Osborne to take photos, and at community service they lent a hand to the Alzheimer’s center staff.

Tomorrow we leave for Cordoba and Sevilla and we will be away for two nights. Our first stop will be Córdoba where we will visit the Mosque/Cathedral, the Jewish quarter and el Puente Romano (Roman times bridge). We will spend the night in Córdoba and on Saturday we will travel to Seville. In Seville we will visit the Royal Palace, Plaza de España, Barrio Judío and we will kayak in the Guadalquivir River. We will be back in Conil by 5:30 pm on Sunday. We will make sure to post lots of photos.

¡Hasta pronto!

 

Soccer, Sunset Yoga and more….

¡Hola!

We have had a wonderful weekend. The Weather was amazing and students spent time with their families on the beach, at barbecues and we even had a student attending a wedding! On Saturday we played a soccer game Americans vs Spaniards and we did pretty well. We have a few girls who can play serious soccer. On Sunday we did a yoga session at sunset to prepare for the week. Today, students had Spanish classes in the morning and are about to learn how to cook gazpacho and tortilla de patatas.

Here are some photos and we will be back soon..

 

 

Bike Trip

¡Hola!

We had a great day today. In the morning, we had Spanish class and visited Conil’s Flea Market which happens every Friday. After lunch with the families, students gathered to bike to the nearby coves of Conil. It is not an easy ride but a beautiful one and the views and the beach we visit make it worth it. On La Cala del Aceite beach we paddle boarded (9 students on a really big paddle board) and had lot of fun staying on (and falling out) the board.

Tomorrow, we will be playing soccer against a Spanish team. We are so pleased to see that students have been making a lot of Spanish friends. They have each other’s phone numbers and make plans to go to the beach or meet at a cafe. We love it!

Hasta pronto,