Our last week in Nerja!

Our last week in Nerja was quite busy! We completed our last day of class having churros and chocolate with our profesores. The students studied and took their final exam in class and in their  evenings activities they finished their ceramic sculptures, went scuba diving, and learned how to make paella (Spain´s most traditional and famous rice dish).    On Thursday we went ona surprise trip to a spa complete with saunas, Turkish baths, jacuzzis, and pools. Needless to say we had a great time!  After a day of relaxing and being pampered, we all dressed up nicely for our final party with the Spanish families. It was a special night as we remembered all of the good times we spent in Nerja together. On Friday the students had one last day to spend with their family and friends, take pictures and buy some souvenirs to remember their time here. We’re sure the students are looking forward to seeing their American families again, but we’ll be sorry to see them go! It’s been a great group and a great month here in Nerja.

Nerja travels to Málaga!

On Thursday the students had a blast as they plunged under the water with their scuba class. Their ceramic creations are coming along nicely in class and our game of beach volley ball with the Spaniards was lots of fun.

On Saturday we went to Marbella, a beautiful city along the coast. We walked around the historic center, along the beach and visited the town hall and one of the older churches. The students went on a scavenger hunt to discover some interesting facts about the city. On the way back to Nerja, we stopped in the glamorous resort town of Puerto Banus. The students were very impressed to see all of the expensive cars lining the streets and the elaborate yachts in the port. Afterwards we stopped in the large shopping center to get a few souvenirs and take advantage of the summer rebajas¨ (sales).

There is a lot to look forward to in our last week. In class we are letting our creativity flow as we finish our Libro de Verano (a student-created booklet commemorating our time in Nerja). A sort of yearbook, the Libro de Verano contains pages on activities, excursions, local culture, and other important aspects of our summer. It’s always exciting to see the unveiling of the final printed copies, which are revealed at our final dinner.

More to come…stay tuned!

Adventure en el Rio Verde!

Our third week in Nerja started with a bang. The whole town was out and about watching the procession for the Fiesta Virgen del Carmen. The students really enjoyed watching the parade, the fireworks, and the live music being played throughout the night. The fun didn´t stop there! Today we went on a multi-adventure excursion in Rio Verde outside Nerja. The students had a great time rappelling amongst waterfalls, hiking among rock walls, and swimming in the river. When given the choice between a shorter less challenging route or a longer route with lots of obstacles, it was a unanimous decision to take the difficult path. This motivated group had a blast! It took almost four hours to complete the course with tons of laughs along the way. Needless to say it was a fun and challenging day! Stay tuned for professional photos and for details on our upcoming trip to Marbella and Puerto Banus! Be sure to like us on Facebook!

Trip to Granada!

Last Monday started classes and activities as usual. In our classes we made questions to ask the town councilmen and then went on a small excursion to the town hall where the students interviewed them. It was very interesting to find out more about the importance and inner workings of the Nerja government.

On Tuesday the whole group met up to have tapas at a popular restaurant, El Pulguilla. Tapas are Spanish appetizers that either come in big portions to be shared by the whole table, or small individual portions. Many times when Spaniards eat out with friends and family, they will order tapas instead of ordering individual meals.  The students had a chance to try some of the most popular tapas here in Andalucia (the southern province of Spain), including jamon serrano (similar to prociutto), manchego cheese, pulplo (octopus), various types of fried fish and freshly baked bread and breadsticks. The students really enjoyed themselves.

Our pieces in ceramics are coming along nicely and in cooking we learned how to make “pollo a la pantoja,” a chicken dish with a vegetable sauce. One evening, after activities, Ross, Max y Lauren played a game of soccer with seven other Spaniards. They had a great time, got a chance to really practice their Spanish and made some new friends! On Thursday after scuba diving class, Natalie and Lauren joined a game of beach volleyball with our new Spanish friends. They had a blast!

The highlight of last week was definitely our overnight trip to Granada! On Friday we arrived at the beautiful Hotel Andalucia Center and met our tour guide who took us on a walking tour of the Albayzin district, a neighborhood traversed by a maze of narrow pedestrian streets that is famous not only for its Moorish roots but also for its Gypsy population, which attracted foreign tourists to the neighborhood as early as the nineteenth century. The guide gave a wonderful explanation of everything.  The students were paying such close attention to the guide soaking in all the newly learned facts.   Afterwards, they enjoyed some free time to eat lunch, shop, and walk around to soak up the culture, and take a swim in the pool back at the hotel. At night we went to a Flamenco show/workshop.  We received a personal lesson of how to dance a few steps and recreate some of the dance we had just seen. It was a lot of fun as everyone, including the teachers were dancing. I think we have some future flamenco dancers in the group! After a delicious dinner we went back to the hotel to rest from our busy day.

The following day we visited the Alhambra, a sprawling walled city which in medieval times functioned as a self-supporting royal palace. The Alhambra is a wonderfully preserved example of Arab architecture in Spain, with ornate wall carvings, Arab baths, and interior plazas with fountains that would have helped to cool the buildings. Washington Irving was amazed to discover the Alhambra in the nineteenth century overtaken by wanderers and bohemians, and he himself lived there for several months, producing the classic book Stories of the Alhambra, full of tales of sultans, knights, and princesses. We had the same guide from the previous day who everyone loved listening to. Your children really enjoyed the guided tour through this spectacular palace. They couldn’t put their cameras down!  Afterwards we went to the center of Granada and had some more free time to eat lunch and go shopping (which is especially fun in the summer due to the “rebajas” or “sales”).

Sunday allowed the students free time to relax. Most took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent the day on the beach with their Spanish families.

Today is a holiday in Nerja celebrating La Fiesta del Virgen del Carmen, honoring the patron of the pescadores or fishermen. Early this morning there was a procession and at night there will be fireworks!

This week we are looking forward to a trip to the Río Verde. Be sure to like us on Facebook where pictures are uploaded regularly!

First week in Nerja!

It was an exciting first week here in Nerja! After an enthusiastic welcome from the Spanish host families, the students settled in their new homes and that evening got to be part of a historic moment in soccer history: never has a team won the Euro Cup, the World Cup and then the Euro Cup AGAIN! We’re pretty sure this is the beginning of a dynasty. You can imagine the excitement in the streets. We all cheered as the entire country celebrated. You could not have asked for a better introduction to Spanish culture.

On Monday the students took a placement exam in the school and then went on a tour of Nerja with the staff, where they saw key Nerja landmarks and had the opportunity to purchase cell phones. Later, we had our first ceramics class. Students make all kinds of interesting keepsakes and always surprise the staff with their creativity.

On Tuesday we had our first day of classes. Later on that evening was the first cooking class.   The students learned how to make tortilla española and churros. In cooking class the students learned how to make tortilla española, one of Spain´s most traditional and popular dishes. It’s nothing like a Mexican tortillla….more like a potato omelette and so delicious. We also made porras for dessert, which you may know as churros.  We are so excited to be able to bring these delicious recipes back home with us! The cooking teacher also gave each student a Spanish apron to remember this experience.

On Wednesday we took our first trip to the caves of Nerja, which stretch almost a mile in length. One of the chambers is so large it is used for concerts since it forms a natural amphitheatre. The students were intrigued by all of the intricate formations, especially Lucy, who loves photography and used this opportunity to get some great shots.  Afterwards we went to Frigiliana, a nearby town, to do a scavenger hunt throughout its historic streets. We had a lot of fun wroking in teams trying to be the first to finish. Two teams were victorious as we had a tie between the teams of Ross, Max and Helen with Lauren and Lindsay´s team.

Thursday the students had their first scuba class. The first class was a theoretical class. where students learn all the basics about scuba procedures and safety. Everyone is excited for class this week when they will practice what they learned in the water. Afterwards the whole group reunited to play a game of volleyball on the beach. The weather was perfect!

On Saturday we went on a trip to Malaga. We started with a guided bus tour around the beautiful city and then we visited the Gibralfaro Castle. We took lots of pictures on the castle´s look-out points. We then walked around the town´s center. The guide took us through winding streets, plazas, and the cathedral. We then went to the Picasso Museum that celebrates the native of Malaga.

Today starts another fun week that culminates in a trip to Granada! We´ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

Spain Wins! Spain Wins! Spain Wins!

Spain won the Euro Cup last night, and not by a little….the score after ninety minutes was Spain 4-Italy 0. The students got to be part of a historic moment in soccer history: never has a team won the Euro Cup, the World Cup and then the Euro Cup AGAIN! We’re pretty sure this is the beginning of a dynasty. You can imagine the excitement in the streets. Here are some photos of students celebrating the victory with their Spanish sisters amongst the crowds!

A trip back in time!

Last week was filled with excitement- the students’ first submersion in scuba, a challenging spinning class, and a volleyball tournament named ‘King of the Court (Rey de la Pista) by the students. In class we made a music video with lyrics in Spanish and English. Everyone participated whether by singing, choreographing movements, or creating the background scenery. It was a blast!

The highlight of last week was definitely our overnight trip to Granada! On Friday we arrived at the beautiful traversed by a maze of narrow pedestrian streets that is famous not only for its Moorish roots but also for its Gypsy population, which attracted foreign tourists to the neighborhood as early as the nineteenth century. Our guide was great, and the students were paying such close attention that some of them even memorized some of the newly learned facts!

Afterwards, they enjoyed some free time to eat lunch, shop, and walk around to soak up the culture, and take a swim in the pool back at the hotel.

At night we went to a Flamenco show and one of the dancers gave us a personal lesson of how to dance a few steps and recreate some of the dance we had just seen. It was a lot of fun as everyone, including the teachers, was dancing. I think we have some future flamenco dancers in the group! After a delicious dinner we went back to the hotel to rest from our busy day.

The following day we visited the Alhambra, a sprawling walled city which in medieval times functioned as a self-supporting royal palace. The Alhambra is a wonderfully preserved example of Arab architecture in Spain, with ornate wall carvings, Arab baths, and interior plazas with fountains that would have helped to cool the buildings. Washington Irving was amazed to discover the Alhambra in the nineteenth century overtaken by wanderers and bohemians, and he himself lived there for several months, producing the classic book Stories of the Alhambra, full of tales of sultans, knights, and princesses. The students really enjoyed the guided tour through this spectacular palace. They couldn’t put their cameras down!  Afterwards we went to the center of Granada and had some more free time to eat lunch and go shopping (which is especially fun in the summer due to the annual “rebajas” clearance sales). At night when we returned to Nerja, many families went out to dinner to celebrate the holiday ‘Fiesta del Virgen Carmen,’ the patron saint of fishermen, and walk around the town.

Today we had classes as usual and on Wednesday we are looking forward to our trip to Marbella. We’ll keep you posted!

Waterfalls, rappeling, soccer, volleyball, ceramics…and the list goes on!

On Saturday we went on a multi-adventure excursion in Rio Verde outside Nerja. The students had a great time rappelling amongst waterfalls, hiking among rock walls, and swimming in the pristine river. The natural beauty of this area was breath-taking. Needless to say it was a fun and challenging day.

Things in Nerja are going great and we have been so busy it’s hard to know where to start! Activities are lots of fun, and in ceramics class we are making all kinds of objects from lamp covers to ceramic napkin holders to paper weights. It’s amazing how well the pieces turn out.

 

 

 

 

In gym class we had the unique experience of a dance cardio workout! In scuba diving class, which takes place at the beautiful beach of Burriana, the students are learning a lot and moving from theory to practice, applying what we’ve learned in class in the water. We also had a great time playing in our soccer tournament between the Spaniards and Americans!  Since we love playing sports, as it gives us a chance to be active and practice our Spanish at the same time, we also had a volleyball tournament. The losing team had to swim at in the ocean at dusk, which was actually quite nice after the volleyball workout! It was a success, regardless of how many games we won or lost.

There still lots of exciting adventures ahead of this. For example, this morning we embarked on an overnight journey to Granada where we will visit the Alhambra, a Moorish palace with incredible Arab architecture and design dating back to medieval times. We will also visit the Albaicín, a labyrinthine neighborhood where travellers sought out authentic Gypsy dances as far back as the nineteenth century. Photos to come….