Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer 2 Zurriola Surf Class

The days of "the rain in Spain staying mainly in the plane" are over, it is another beautiful day here in San Sebastian and the students took to the beach for a surf lesson! It's hard work staying upright but the students had a blast giving it the "ol' college try". And let's be honest, it was an afternoon at one of the premier beaches in all of Europe! How hard could it be?!!?
                                          Students enjoying the sunshine!
                                                 Student catching a wave!
                                             Student getting into position
                                             Students Up!
                                            Student getting ready to go!
                                             Hangin' 10!
z                                             Instructor teaching the basics to the grommets
All smiles coming out of the waves
                                        After surf pic...what a great looking group of kids!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Month students to Pamplona for running of the bulls!

¡Hola a todos! 

Yesterday was a very exciting day for us! Waking up early for a 5:30 am meeting time was completely worth it, because we were on our way to the world famous San Fermines, or running of the bulls! Don't worry, we watched from the Plaza de Toros, or bull ring, safe and sound! The route of the run through the streets, complete in just 2.5 minutes, was broadcasted on 2 large screens in the plaza! From the plaza we got to watch that, as well as all of the runners pouring into the arena, and the anticipated arrival of the bulls. It was exhilarating!! Then they released smaller bulls, or vaquillas, into the arena one at a time, and the runners either ran away from them or tested their bravery (or intelligence, depending on who you ask) by running directly into the bull's path.  After that was over we went for breakfast, then walked through the city center of Pamplona along the route occupied by hundreds of runners and bulls just hours earlier. We got to hear a group of local young people playing the drums, passed by los gigantes, or the giants; a popular custom in Basque Country, then enjoyed a little free time in groups at a local market before heading home to San Sebastian. 

Students watching as the bulls and runners race down the streets of Pamplona.

The crowd at the plaza de toros, or bull ring, anxiously waiting for things to get started.

Our group all dressed in traditional red and white, ready to watch this singular event!

The crowd watches the Bulls taking to the streets on the large screens.

So glad we came!

This is awesome!

One of the vaquillas, or small bulls in the arena with runners. 

Watching in amazement!

Our group posing on the large monument to the running of the bulls in the city center.

Posing and enjoying the day!

Toros and runners entering the arena!

The bulls and runners entering the arena. 

Sumer 2 Students in Pasaje San Juan

Another great day in San Sebastian that the students were able to take advantage of for a trip to Pasajes San Pedro and Pasajes San Juan for a trip to the home of the French author Victor Hugo. Victor Hugo was an extraordinary popular writer of such famous literary works like Les Miserables (1862) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831).  He was also an outspoken critic of Napoleon III and when he rose to power he found himself in exile. Both Pasaje San Juan and Pasaje San Pedro are popular routes along the Camino De Santiago. Here are some pics of the kids and his home. Enjoy!
                                       Students enjoying the boat ride from Pasaje San Pedro
                                                                 to Pasaje San Juan
                                     Students enjoying the boat ride from Pasaje San Pedro to
                                                                Pasaje San Juan
                                           Victor Hugo's Piano
                                          View from the home of Victor Hugo
                                                   Victor Hugo marble bust statue
                                            Students in Pasaje San Juan
                                               Students in Pasaje San Juan
                                              Victor Hugo bedroom 1
                                            Victor Hugo bedroom 2
                                                 Victor Hugo Salon

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Month Students class in the park and visit to Hondarribia!

¡Hola a todos!

We are having another awesome week in San Sebastian! We started the week with a change of pace, change of school location, and class in the park! Students worked together in small groups to learn about sports unique to the Basque region of Spain before we walked together to our new class location about 10 minutes across town.

Working on a project in the park!

Learning about Basque sports in the park!

Later in the day, we took a city bus to the nearby town of Hondarribia (in Basque) or Fuenterrabia (Spanish). This gorgeous village is located on a river and borders France, facing the french town of Hendaya on the other shore of the river. It is the only remaining walled city in the entire region of Gipuzkoa and is quite lovely!  Hondarribia is also known for it's great food, and is home to several restaurants with Michelin stars. It also has a beautiful port, beach, and views of France just across the river! We entered the city through the original city gate, called Puerta de Santa Maria. Then we strolled through the enchanting streets of the old town, admiring the architecture and making connections to places we've previously visited, before walking to the port and enjoying some free time.

Puerta Santa Maria, the original entryway to the walled city of Hondarribia.

Students walking through Puerta Santa Maria and getting thrir first look at this gorgeous town!

Quaint streets of old town.

Our "family" stopping to pose in the plaza in front of the town square opposite the palace of Carlos V, that now functions as a Parador.

Students checking out a vintage car in the old town center.

We even got to see a bit of filming for a movie in Hondarribia's main square!

Strolling through town toward the port.

Until next time!! Hasta pronto!!

Month students to Viscaya!

¡Hola a todos!

This weekend we headed about an hour and a half west to the Basque region of Viscaya, more specifically to the town of Gaztelugatxe. The town's name is admittedly difficult to pronounce, which is very appropriate, as it's such a gem that it's difficult to find words to describe it! We settled on calling it the smaller, yet still great, wall of Gaztelugatxe! When you see the pictures you'll understand why! We hiked down the hill to meet an impressive set of manmade stairs that just begged visitors to climb them. The stairs begin as a bridge linking the rocky coast with an inslet that juts out unapologetically into the blue waters of the Bay of Biscay. Atop the inslet lies an ermita, or small chapel. Legend says those that visit should ring the chapel's bell three times and make a wish.  

Students played at the park for a bit before we boarded the bus and went to a nearby beach and park for lunch and to relax.

Beginning our walk to Gaztelugatxe on a beautiful day!

Views from the coastline.

There it is! So beautiful!

Students ready to get to the steps!

Walking to the steps... or the smaller but still great wall of Gaztelugatxe!

Bridge and steps connecting the coastline and inslet.

Coordinator Leti ringing the bell and making a wish.

Students relaxing and enjoying the views from the top!

Zander and group leaders Leti, Maya feeling as if we were flying through one of the wind tunnels.

Students exploring the rocky coastline at the base of Gaztelugatxe.

Taking a pause and playing in the park! 

Relaxing for a bit at the boat tables.

Rocking it out at the playground!

Sarah getting some air on the swings!