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!