On 7th April 2017, Languages Alive were once again off on their travels. This time 45 pupils from Years 9 and 10 were accompanied by Mrs McCollam, Mrs Hunter, Treacy, Mr Kelly and Mrs Magee and, true to form, we had four (and a bit) fully charged days, packed with sightseeing, cultural experiences, plenty of walking and a bit of shopping in Sephora!!
Our hotel, the ‘hostal Maralasca’ was located right in the heart of the city, just a short 4 minute walk from the famous plaza del Sol. The cobbled streets, which led up to the hotel, were filled with typical bars and cafés and CPC on tour made use of the captive audience to practise their Spanish. On the first day, after our evening meal in the Hard Rock Café, Mr Kelly led the group on the scenic route back to our hotel, stopping, of course, in plaza del Sol to soak up the atmosphere.
The following morning, after continental breakfast in the truly Spanish Café Carmel, we headed off for a day of sight-seeing by bus and by foot. Madrid is a really beautiful city and it would be difficult to pick out our favourite monument but some highlights included the Cibeles Fountain, the Palacio Real, the botanical gardens and Plaza Mayor, where Beccy taught a street artist to dab!
The third day, after another quick visit to Plaza del Sol and Sephora, we headed off to Parque Warner. This was a day for the thrill seekers -Treacy and Mrs Hunter conquered Stunt Fall, Batman and Superman at least twice by lunchtime; Mr Kelly tried to show off his advanced driving skills on the Joker’s Bumper Cars! And Mrs Magee and Mrs McCollam kept the ultimate thrill for the last ride of the day – Mr Freeze’s Flying Swings! A great day was had by all and Cailin was crowned King of the Can Crash, after winning Pandas, unicorns, smiley cushions ….Later on that evening, after another beautiful meal at Fresc Co, Mr Kelly lead the troops to El Retiro, a beautiful park in the centre of Madrid, before eventually making it back to the hotel, well and truly exhausted.
On the final day, after a bit of frantic packing in the morning, we headed off on the Metro to the Bernabeu Stadium. Here, our future Ronaldos (Criostai, Reuben, Eldhose) had the chance to visit all parts of the stadium and imagine themselves playing on this great stage. Unfortunately, the stadium tour and our lunch (picnic or Burger King) ran over schedule and we missed out on our tour of the Prado – that will have to a visit on our next trip! We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying some ice-cream and leisurely boat trips in the Retiro before heading back to the hotel to pick up our bags and onto the airport and homeward bound!
The Languages Alive trip to Madrid was a great success – every single pupil made the most of every opportunity to practise their Spanish from the moment we stepped on the plane, whether it was chatting up Spanish students returning from their school trip to Ireland, Reuben bartering in the shops, Jakub singing about his ‘chabola’ or Michael striking up conversations with locals on the street. Everyone we met was impressed with our friendly, lively and mannerly pupils – a real credit to Cross and Passion College and to their families!