Class to Valencia instead of. Escaping the cold of Germany, twelve students accompanied by Mrs. Parent and Mr. Bohl set off for the Mediterranean metropolis to learn all kinds of interesting things about the people, language and culture of Spain and Valencia in particular in the course of one week.
Once they landed in Valencia, the students already mastered their first task by figuring out the route from the airport to the hotel and getting metro tickets for the whole group. Since we arrived at our accommodation only around 9 p.M., we quickly checked into our rooms before we went to dinner at the bocadillos bar "100 Montaditos", which is especially popular among young Spaniards.
The first day in Valencia started with a typical Spanish breakfast of "pan con tomate", "café con leche" and "zumo de naranja". Well fortified, we started the first highlight of our trip: a bike tour through Valencia. Our guide, Luis, led us through the entire old town and the eight kilometer long, beautiful Jardín del Turia, a park, which was created in a dried up riverbed, to the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias and the harbor. We learned a lot of interesting details about the history and culture of the city. The bike tour ended at the Playa de las Arenas, the beach a bit outside the city center, where after more than four hours on the bike, everyone deserved a break and a view of the blue Mediterranean Sea in the beautiful sunshine.
The next morning, during a stroll through the old town, we had the opportunity to see some of the sights that we had only seen from our bicycles the day before. Early morning exercise was also provided as the whole group climbed the 207 steps of the Torre del Micalet, bell tower of Valencia's cathedral from the 14th century. We climbed up to the top of the 16th century church and were rewarded with a breathtaking view over the rooftops of the city. Another landmark of Valencia that we visited is the World Heritage Site Lonja de Seda, the Silk Exchange, completed in 1533, which was once one of the most important trading centers on the Mediterranean Sea.
In the afternoon, the culinary highlight of the trip was on the agenda: a Paella Valenciana, prepared by our students themselves. Together with the cooks of the Escuela de Arroces y Paella we visited the market hall to buy the ingredients: Chicken and rabbit meat, snails, vegetables (tomatoes, green and white beans, garlic, onions) and spices (saffron, paprika), as well as peppers, eggplant and carrots for the vegetarian version – and rice, of course. Back at the cooking school, aprons and chef's hats were donned and, under the guidance of the chef, students prepared their own paellas in small groups. And since pleasure follows work, the paellas were eaten on the spot – and were delicious.
The corrida de torros, bullfighting, although now often viewed critically by younger Spaniards, remains an integral part of Spanish culture and tradition in large parts of the country. While Valencia's bullring was closed during our stay, we had the opportunity to visit the bullfighting museum the next day, but it didn't do the trick for many of us. On the contrary, an informational film of the museum about bullfighting strengthened the existing aversion to this – at least dubious – tradition in many of us. After the previous day's paella, we wanted to have a light, home-cooked picnic on the beach that afternoon. To do this, the students had to go back to the market hall once again to buy the ingredients on their own, demonstrating their knowledge of Spanish in the process. We then took the streetcar to the beach, where we enjoyed a late lunch under palm trees and with a view of the sea. On the last day of the course, our students. Pupils two important tasks on the program. In order to apply their Spanish skills in authentic situations, they should first conduct interviews in small groups with passers-by and store owners about everyday life in Valencia. After that, everyone should buy a postcard with a stamp, write about the events of the past week and send it off.
In the afternoon we again visited the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. The all-white, modern and architecturally impressive buildings of the science park are among the most popular photo motifs and are an absolute landmark of Valencia. In addition to the opera and a large aquarium, they also house an IMAX cinema and a science museum where you can conduct your own experiments. Our students liked both very much.
At the end of the course trip, on the morning of our departure day, we visited the Fallas Museum. The Valencian spring festival las Fallas is probably the city's most important folk festival, during which cardboard figures, some of them several meters high, are paraded through the city and set alight as a climax at the end of the festival. Already the whole week we had in the city already the preparations for the Fallas be able to observe. Before we went to the airport, we all stocked up on Spanish specialties, in order to take at least a piece of Valencia back with us to Saarland.
We had an eventful, very interesting and beautiful course trip. We would like to take this opportunity to share with all of our students. Give a big compliment to students. You all behaved very well and responsibly, pulled along great and thus ensured that the course trip was a complete success again this year. And so it only remains to say:
¡Hasta la próxima, Valencia. Nos volvemos a ver! The GSG will be back – hopefully already next year!