On April 10, 2013 forty-five Gloucester High students left for a ten-day visit to Spain. The trip began in the city of Madrid. They visited Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the Retiro Park and the Royal Palace, which has more than 2,800 rooms.
The following day students traveled to the picturesque city of Toledo, the old capital of the country, which lies an hour outside of Madrid. In Toledo students walked through winding streets, visited the beautiful Medieval Cathedral, and visited the church of San Tome where they were able to see one of the most famous paintings by Velázquez, El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz. In the afternoon students visited the city of Segovia with its famous 2000 year old Roman aqueduct and the beautiful Alcazar castle.
From Madrid, students travelled toward the north of Spain. The first city they visited was Burgos. This city has an impressive Gothic cathedral made famous by the legendary hero, El Cid. The following day, students continued on to Bilbao where they visited the famous Guggenheim museum. The building itself is a masterpiece, designed by Frank Gerah.
The following day, using money from the fundraiser, students visited Biarritz, the playground of the rich and famous in France. In the morning, they had the chance to put their feet in the Atlantic Ocean, speak a bit of French and, of course, sample fresh croissants. Students spent the rest of the afternoon playing on the beach, swimming, or sunbathing.
The tour continued to the city of Zaragoza en route to Barcelona. Students visited the beautiful Basilica of our lady of El Pilar. Zaragoza is a Roman city where Emperor Caesar Augustus had established a Roman settlement.
The final destination was Barcelona. In this beautiful city, students visited the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia designed by the architect Antonio Gaudi. They also had an opportunity to walk through the Güell, Montjuïc Hill Park and one of Gaudi’s houses. On the last day, students visited Montserrat, famous for its monastery, caves and its amazing mountain with its weirdly shaped crags of rock. The town lies just 40km northwest of Barcelona and is a summer escape for many. The highlight of this visit was hearing the children’s choir sing the Salve Regina and one of the local songs.
Throughout their trip, students were able to experience authentic meals such as paella, tapas, local fish, different hams and other gastronomic delights. On one occasion, students had the opportunity to see — and participate in — an evening of Flamenco dance.