8 May 2017
Easter ‘17 had a lot to live up to after the memorable tapas fuelled excursion to Salamanca the previous year. And finally, after four years of promises from Señora Pradas, Cuba was to be our destination. Unfortunately Brexit happened and this affected going to Cuba for one reason or another and we ended up with Valencia, which none of us really knew anything about and Max thought was in Mexico. Despite this, we were all buzzing when we left Gatwick, and after arriving, quickly integrated into our host families where we could show off our Spanish “con mucha fluidez”.
Our first few days surprised all of us. A bike tour along the river (now a park consisting of green spaces, artificial football pitches, and Spanish people showing their love for each other surprisingly publically) to the beach via the city of sciences and arts, and a trip to Europe’s largest aquarium installed a huge admiration for the exquisite modern architecture the city has on offer. The following days added a cultural aspect to our perspectives of the city as we toured the city centre, visiting El Miguelete – the bell tower of the Cathedral of Valencia, the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas, now a national ceramics museum, and the Mestalla Stadium to watch Valencia vs Deportivo. A half day later and we were loving Valencia so much that we went to the job centre to try and earn our living here – but unsuccessfully.
Here and there we found a bit of time to be more formally educated by the AIP language school, which Señora Pradas had previously instructed on what to study. The Sevillian perfectionism paid off and we managed to improve our language and grammar skills to some extent. However, our progress was more down to our willingness as a group to speak to whoever, wherever and even between ourselves in our new mother tongue, whether it be ordering tortilla sandwiches at lunch or discussing the famous Valencian painter Juan de Juanes and his excessively Spanish name.
All in all Valencia 2017 will go down as the best Spanish, and probably also school trip, that we U6 have had the pleasure of embarking on, and all we can leave behind are jealous threats as to what will happen if Cuba ‘18 does actually occur!
Angus Williams (Upper Sixth)