Despite an extremely early meet time of 3.30am in John Lennon Airport, 40 of our Year 10 Spanish cohort turned up on time(!) Saturday 24th June in great spirit; the excitement they had shown almost daily since the trip was announced November last year beating the tiredness.
The first afternoon was spent enjoying the pool and getting to know the immediate area of Malgrat we were staying in. The shops along the beachfront were a particular hit, with the boys learning some crucial life skills bartering with the stall holders.
Sunday morning we headed out beyond the tourist part by the beach into the main town of Malgrat. First we visited the local market where those haggling skills were refined further and then after a bit of early afternoon pool time, we set out on an activity trail across the town of Malgrat where the boys had to do different tasks to find local landmarks and practise their Spanish. We were joined by our trainee from earlier in the school year, Miss Lopez, who is from the region and enjoyed seeing the boys again.
Monday was our big day out in Barcelona. After a hot and crowded 75 minute train journey we arrived in Plaça Catalunya ready to explore. We started off with a stroll down Las Ramblas, giving the boys time to explore it, as well as La Boquería food market and the Gothic Quarter. After an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch, we hopped on the metro to visit the Antoni Gaudi designed cathedral: La Sagrada Familia. After admiring the architecture and nearby park we headed towards the place that the boys had been most excited about: Camp Nou. As the stadium is currently shut for refurbishment, we were unable to sit in the stands and go out the tunnel. However the new interactive museum proved a hit, with its new 360 immersive experience and VR room. After using a fair bit of their spending money on kits and other souvenirs, some of the boys were approached by an Argentinian football vlogger and quizzed on their knowledge of Argentinian footballers. The resulting video can be found here: (5:15 onwards) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Tqbo3dn5T8&t=569s
On Tuesday we visited PortAventura, a two hour drive away in Salou. Here the boys enjoyed the rides and arcades, showing great patience at queuing in 30 degree heat.
To sum up, the boys had an amazing time and it was a privilege to be able to take them on their first school trip abroad. Their behaviour was exemplary – complemented by airport staff, airline staff, hotel staff and members of the public. They practised Spanish throughout and most importantly, created memories and bonds that they will look back on fondly for many years. In particular, seeing them all dance to the Macarena in the hotel disco will be something I personally will never forget!