It was an early rise in order to catch our flight to Madrid so well done to the Year 10 and 11 students who arrived at school for 3.30am! Unfortunately, due to an alarm clock error poor Mrs Elphick was almost late, but managed to be out of bed, get a taxi and arrive at school in just 25 minutes flat – feeling rather flustered to say the least.
The object of the visit to the Spanish capital city was to soak up the culture, visit some of the best art galleries in Europe and practise the language.
In the three days we were there we enjoyed several arranged visits including a trip to the Bernabeu stadium (home of Real Madrid) which was great for the football fans amongst us, and interesting for those less fanatical about the sport. The stadium is one of the world’s most famous and prestigious football venues with a capacity of 81,044. It was fascinating to wander round the luxurious treatment rooms, locker rooms and see all the trophies that had been won by the team over the years.
We also visited the Prado Museum which is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world’s finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century. One of the highlights of this museum is the work of the Spanish artist Goya, who is famous for his portraits, genre scenes and rather gruesome “Black Paintings”.
In contrast, the gallery Reina Sofia houses a fine collection of twentieth century art and is home to one of the most famous paintings in the world (and Mrs Whittaker’s favourite), Picasso’s ‘Guernica’. Here, we spent a couple of hours engrossed in some of the best art of the last century, notably by Picasso and the surrealist artists including Salvador Dali. It was a real treat for art lovers.
Other visits included a cultural centre, The Círculo de Bellas Artes, which occupies a superb building, designed by Antonio Palacios and completed in 1926. Here we saw some smaller art exhibitions and enjoyed the magnificent architecture which included a rooftop terrace with incredible views over Madrid. We picked a perfect time to visit, when the sun was shining and the terrace fairly quiet so we could photograph the views and sit in the sun soaking up the atmosphere.
The students were keen to practice their Spanish, and the trips to the shops and restaurants were ideal times to do this. We also visited Retiro Park a piece of calm in the middle of a very busy city where the horse chestnut trees were displaying magnificent autumn colours. It was a very busy trip but immensely rewarding and enjoyable – altogether (according to Mrs Whittaker’s watch) we walked over 75,000 steps in three days!
Well done to all the students who were a credit to the school. We look forward to the next time!