Madrid 2014

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I think that we all can agree that the Madrid Exchange Trip was one of the most amazing experiences we have encountered. We met so many lovely people and will treasure or memories with them forever! On Saturday 19th October, 16 pupils, Mrs Patterson and Mr Graham all met up at the Rainey, all eager and excited to get on with our journey. We said our goodbyes to our family and had a photograph together before we started our descent to Dublin International Airport. As we coped with the 2 hour bus journey, time soon flew in and we arrived in Terminal 2 of the airport. We checked in our baggage and then we had some free time to ourselves.

Quite a few of us went to Starbucks which we realised would become a daily routine for us! Time flew in once again and soon enough it was time to board our Ryan Air flight to Madrid. As we took off the runway the adrenaline all built up and we couldn’t wait to get there and meet our Spanish partners. 2 and half hours later, we touched down on Madrid ground and departed the airplane. We collected our baggage and had a surprise waiting for us, and had made posters for our welcoming. We had a quick greeting with them before we got onto our bus which took us to the place we would spend the majority of our holiday at, Hotel Mediodia, which our guide on the bus pointed out to us meant the midday hotel. We then started to get settled in and then meet our teachers’ down in the lobby to explore and find somewhere to eat outside. Once we found a McDonald’s to eat in, we got to try out our first batch of Spanish on ordering our food. It took a while for our heads’ to get into gear but finally we all made a measly attempt of ordering our meals! Once we finished off our meals we headed back to our hotel to get a good night’s rest for the big day ahead.

Our first day in Madrid! It was a struggle for some to get out of bed after the long day of travelling but for others, not so much, as Emily, Greta, Sarah and I all set our alarms on our phones an hour ahead, not realising they already had done automatically. So it wasn’t really the highlight of our trip getting up at 6:20 in the morning! We had our first breakfast together down in the restaurant and then we met up with our Spanish partners properly for the first time! It was lovely getting got meet them for the first time, and we all had the “two kisses on the cheeks” tradition! We headed out on our 3 hour guided walking tour of the city, and I think we all needed a new pair of shoes after it, but it was lovely to get to walk around and see the beautiful city at this view! We visited famous streets and buildings like the King’s Palace and Plaza Mayor! We really had worked up and appetite from this so went to find some food and have some free time to ourselves to get to know our new Spanish friends. We then got to take our first metro ride! We bought our tickets which lasted us our holiday and then got the metro to the “Vodafone Sol” stop. We visited beautiful gardens which we took a stroll around to take in the scenery and the lake. I think it’ safe to stay say that we all fell in love with Madrid! We were all excited to have our first meal at FresCo and the food was lovely there! We had a selection of salads and meats and to top it all off, there was a self-service frozen yogurt machine! With full stomachs, we headed down for our evening entertainment, the Flamenco Show! We walked into a typical Spanish bar, and instantly fell in love with it! It was decorated beautifully with polka dot chairs and tables! As our entertainment began, we fell intrigued with the music and the dance! It was all so delicate and dancers could move their feet so fast!  As our entertainment came to an end, we walked back to our hotel and called it a night, exhausted from our day!

The second day in Madrid was, in my opinion, the best! We had no Spanish guides to help us around, but we managed fine by ourselves! We started out by taking the metro to the Plaza de Toros, the bull ring! We had a half hour wait until the gates opened so off course our group started to take selfies with the statues!  When the gates opened and we headed in, we me our tour guide, Lara, who showed us around the ring and gave us explanations about what everything was about! She was very helpful, and answered our questions, so in the end we had very good knowledge of bull fighting and the history behind it! We walked around the ring and went backstage where we saw a video on bullfighting. When we finished that, we took the metro back to “Vodafone Sol” (proving to be very popular for us!) and got something to eat and had some free time to go shopping. When we met up again we all had done some shopping and everybody came back with something! We then took a trip on the metro to “Santiago Bernabéu, the Real Madrid stadium, proving to be a very popular choice with some of us Football Fans. When we got our tickets, we entered the colossal building and were gobsmacked to see the size of the pitch when we got to the top of the stadium! We could only imagine what it would be like when a match is being played! We then got to take a look through the trophy rooms and the changing rooms, and then we got to take a walk along the side of the pitch and sit on the subs’ benches! Even for the Barcelona fans, it was an extremely eventful day! When we got back to Vodafone Sol, we met up with our Spanish partners once more, and we headed around for some shopping (and of course Starbucks!). We then headed down for our Fresco meal, before we went and had some free time with our Spanish friends, who already, we had become extremely attached to! Before long, it was time to say goodbye once more and head back to our hotel for a well-deserved rest!

Our last full day in Madrid! This was a very special day, as we got to go and visit their school, San Martín! We took the metro once more, and arrived at their school. We were greeted once again and showed into the Gym. We had no idea what they had planned for us! Firstly, they lead us in some games where we had to translate Spanish to English or vice-versa, but the best part was still to come, they made us join in in the Macarena and other various Spanish dances. We soon realised that we were very good at the Macarena, and we secretly knew we were victorious in their dance- off! We then had lunch, which was a two hour break for them and we had our lunch in their school cafeteria. We got to try various Spanish meals, like the Spanish omelette and chick pea soup. We really appreciated the food they made for us! We then got to go outside with the Spanish and explore around, walk around the streets with them! Time flew spending time with them and soon enough it was time to go back inside and do some Spanish lessons! We got to complete our booklets that Mrs Patterson put together for us and socialise with some students! We were sad to leave the school and their hospitality, but we then went for some last minute shopping and of course Starbucks! We then met up with Spanish friends once more and had a FresCo meal together and go for our last walk around Madrid. When we got back to our hotel, we remembered this would be our last night with them, so we hugged before heading up to get some sleep before our travelling the next day!

Our last day! This was the day we had all been dreading as we didn’t want to say goodbye to our newly made friends! As we shared our last breakfast together, we went to do our last batch of packing before we headed off to the Prado Museum, the most famous museum in Spain. We met up with our Spanish friends and we got one last group photo together before we entered into the building. We say many paintings by many famous artists and it took us at least an hour to see one section of the building, it was that big! As we finished up inside the building, we had to say our goodbyes to the people we had become so close to the past 5 days. It was a very emotional goodbye for some and a lot of us did tear up! As we said goodbye we walked back to the hotel (some of us still crying!) and got onto our bus that took us back to Barajas Airport and further onto Dublin. Madrid was an amazing experience for us, and we would surely all dream of going back there. We cant wait to see our Spanish Partners in the future as we have made amazing friendships with them which we shall treasure forever!

By Erin Henry




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