Thomas Christensen (Upper Sixth, Swift) has written this detailed account of the recent A Level Spanish trip to Castilla la Mancha…
Our trip started after meeting at School in the early hours of Friday morning, when we made our way to Gatwick Airport. After a truly satisfying breakfast at the airport, we boarded the plane heading for Madrid. From Madrid, we drove down to Toledo, the capital of Castilla La Mancha, the region of Spain that we are studying for our A Level Spanish. We checked into our very nice hotel and took some time to settle in before we headed out for a typical Spanish tapas meal at a local restaurant. We then joined a walking tour, which took us around the streets of the old town of Toledo, El Casco Antiguo. The guide was apparently very funny, however he spoke very quickly, and as a result we could only partially understand what he said, but from what we could understand and what the teachers translated for us, we learned a lot about the history and architecture of Toledo, things that we may well be asked about during our speaking exam later this year.
On Saturday morning, after a delicious Spanish breakfast at the hotel, we took to the streets of Toledo to question the locals on their views on what it is like to live and work there. We also visited a few religious buildings, which contained a combination of Christian, Muslim and Jewish influences - a combination which had amazing architectural results. To finish our time in Toledo we took a tourist train around the city, which gave us a further insight into the history of the area.
We then got back in the car and drove to the small town of Almagro in the province of Ciudad Real. This is where we spent the remainder of the trip. We stayed in a four bedroom apartment. Once we had settled in, we made our way to the supermarket to buy our food for the next three days. That night, Megan Bird (Upper Sixth, Harcourt) cooked beef stir fry, which was truly delicious.
On Sunday, we went into the town square of Almagro, where we did some further interviewing of the local people about where they live. We then went to Granatula de Calatrava, where we visited a beautiful cemetery, which was in the film ‘Volver’ by Pedro Almódovar, a film which we are also studying and will have to write an essay on in our exam. After having lunch in the beautiful little village we travelled to Calzada de Calatrava, to visit El Parque de Almódovar. Later on, we headed to Ciudad Real, which gave us a different look at Castilla La Mancha. We then drove back to Almagro where I cooked Paella with the help of Heidi Lawson (Upper Sixth, Gascoigne). This provided a very Spanish ending to our trip in Castilla La Mancha.
We all had a thoroughly enjoyable trip, which was backed up by the incredible weather and blue skies, and we were able to form valuable opinions on the region which will form a vital part of our exam in the summer. The three of us would like to thank Señora Giraldo for organising the trip and both Señora Giraldo and Señora Semenzato for driving us around and providing us with great company.