Spanish study visit to Cádiz

24 OCTOBER – 30 OCTOBER 2012

A group of U5 to U6 pupils studying Spanish are heading to Cádiz over half-term. Cádiz is a beautiful old city almost entirely surrounded by water on the south coast of Spain. It has charming cobbled streets and a fascinating history, and we believe that it will give the girls a really good insight into Spanish life and culture. In addition, its relatively small size makes it easily negotiable for the girls who will have to make their own way from their homestay accommodation to the language school.

There is a full programme of activities planned including guided tours of Cádiz, Puerto Santa María and its bullring and Seville, a boat trip, dance lessons, Spanish lessons and of course the beach if we are lucky with the weather.


A daily blog on the trip will appear here…

Day one - 25 October

Lydia de Vere and Genevieve Chan write...

Estamos ahora en Cádiz estudiando mucho. Last night we arrived, disappointingly, in the rain. It is however warm and our Spanish hosts are horrified that we are just wearing t shirts. Dinner was tortilla española - totally unlike what we have at school - but definitely good. No carpets at all in the appartment, apparently the Spanish think they are a bit unhygienic. Terrified about the tango flamenco classes this afternoon, but Mrs Porter can´t wait...


Chrissie Sanguinetti writes...

Despite the rainy weather, we enthusiastically turned up to our flamenco class wearing floaty dresses. We were guided through the steps of the "rumba" which is performed a lot in "las fiestas" to attract members of the opposite sex. We then paired up, leaving Ms Gandee with the talented male flamenco teacher. Despite our encouragement, she wasn´t too keen on this! The flamenco show was incredible, full of loud heel-tapping and passion. I returned back at my host family at 11pm, only to find the mujer asleep on the sofa... She must have been tired after making the delicious chicken dish I had for supper!


Day 2 - 26 October

Holly Wagstaff writes...

Friday´s lessons saw us singing Spanish songs and writing our horoscopes. After returning to our homestays for a more than filling lunch of Spanish meatballs and fruit, we took a boat to El Puerto de Santa María where we had a tour of the bodega (where sherry is produced) and of a castle. We heard stories of "espíritus malvados" in the chapel and of Civil War horror. As over 70% of all sherry produced in Spain is exported to the UK and to Holland we thought it only right that we should try some. And so we did from super dry to unbelievably sweet. The return boat journey was rather rocky, but this was combatted by loud singing from the top deck. Depende (a Spanish favourite), Jerusalem, Lord of the Dance, Titanic and One Direction all featured much to the delight of the one other passenger.


Day 3 - 27 October

Sacha Onslow writes...

To summarise Saturday in three words: the bus journey. If you think that public transport in England is bad, think again. In England, you may come across the odd aggresive youth who shouts at you - in Spain, random men are sick at the feet of headmistresses. But we will not dwell on this.

We managed to summon up appropriate enthusiasm for the tour of Vejer, a traditional Spanish pueblo blanco. Unfortunately, the tour leader did not realise that we were not yet fluent Spanish speakers, and would often digress on to less interesting subjects, such as the origin of the wall surrounding the village. Luckily, our translator (Ms Gandee) often chose not to pass on these nuggets of information, and so we were left nodding politely, in total incomprehension.

After the return journey on the same bus (accompanied by a rather unpleasant odour), we were in desperate need of some fresh sea air to cleanse our nostrils, and headed for the rather chilly beach where we occasionally plucked up the courage to dip our toes in. It was noticeable that the only other people on the beach were in a tent.

What awaits us tomorrow? We can only guess.

Afternote: Vejer de la Frontera is a beautiful and atmospheric village whose steep twisting streets it is easy to imagine alive with Jews, Muslims and Christians in the middle ages. 


Day 4 - 28 October 

Lucy Ross-Skinner writes...

Today we ventured to Seville to climb 95 metres up a cathedral tower. Apparently a horse would be provided for a priest to make this journey but unfortunately we had to trudge up with no such luxury (Ms Gandee particularly objected to this). However, by the time we had overcome our fear of heights and battled through hundrds of tourists, the view over Seville was breathtaking and really worth the effort.

We also had a tour of the royal palace and the beautiful cobbled streets by Abel, our Spanish unofficial tour guide. We also amused ourselves - but not Abel - by telling him all of our wonderful English jokes, such as ´why did the chicken cross the road?´ translated into Spanish. He was not amused; clearly English humour is not appreciated worldwide.

Sacha kept us all entertained in the marginally drier moments of the tour by falling over repeatedly and this, combined with some gripping facts about the Arabic invasion in 711 AD, made for a highly enjoyable day. 


Day 5 - 29 October

Katie Boden, Georgie Warbarton, Mary Wake, Jess Baker and Holly Lovejoy write...

After what seemed like a whole 24 hours of lessons packed into a single morning we had a grand ceremony of diploma receiving and thanks giving to celebrate our knowledge of the language known locally as 'español' (which by the way is the fourth most spoken language in the world).

After a well-deserved break for luncheon with our lovely host families, we set out for an expedition to Cádiz on foot with the Freddie-Mercury-look-alike, Abel. He spoiled us with a rendition of 'I want to break free'. We braved the 41 metres of the Torre Tavira, hiking up the 'stairs of despair' to reach the camera obscura. We saw a 360 degree view of Cádiz. It was breath-taking. We might go so far as to say that it was the highlight of our trip.

After this magnificent jam-packed day Mrs Porter suggested we try out our vegetable disguises at the local market. What she actually meant was that the stall holders, somewhat alarmingly, dress fruit, vegetables, pigs' heads and fish in clothes and present them in scenes reflecting current national and international news such as the Austrian man, Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from a balloon.

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