On the 4th of May our school had the amazing opportunity to live new experiences and come in contact with various kinds of civilizations, languages, habits and traditions. We met students and teachers from Germany, Poland, Portugal, Finland, Turkey and of course Spain. We all learned about the Spanish culture and met new friends with different traditions. Fortunately, our timetable was not exhausting, but it included many entertaining and educational activities.
On the first day of our journey, we met our Spanish hosts in Barcelona, where we managed to visit the most popular sites of the city. First of all, we visited the large expiatory Catholic church, "La Sagrada Familia", designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a completion date -- 2026 or 2028, more than 140 years after it was started. The exterior of the church was not only imposing, but also elegant. What had impressed the students and the teachers was the details on the walls, where many scenes of the history of religion take place. The interior was a large area full of columns in various shapes and some part of the walls and the ceiling were covered with colorful glass. After the tour in the church, we had 15 minutes to buy souvenirs from the boutique out of the church.
After that, we went for a walk in the street in central Barcelona, La Rambla, popular with tourists and locals alike. Its popularity with tourists has affected the character of the street, with a move to pavement cafes and souvenir kiosks. We were free for one hour and a half to walk and buy souvenirs from the local shops and taste some of the traditional dishes, such as paella. In the afternoon, we got in the bus and we visited Camp Nou, the football stadium in Barcelona, which has been the home of Football Club Barcelona since 1957. It seats 99,354, making it the largest stadium in Europe and the 5th largest association football stadium in the world terms of capacity.
At first, we went into the FC Barcelona Museum which includes a collection of photos, documents and trophies detailing the club's history on an interactive glass wall, allowing us to touch the screens and see information wall. There is also a private art collection which exhibits works by local artists as Dali, Miro and Tapies and a section including a trophy-room with every trophy, or a replica thereof, that the club has ever won. Then, we got into the stadium, where we were able to take photos, but our tour was limited for safety reasons, but we could make a small tour for 10 minutes in the boutique of Camp Nou and buy souvenirs, related to the club. In the evening, we left Barcelona and we travelled one hour and a half to Lleida at the school, where the host families where waiting for us to go home, take some rest and get prepared for the next day.
On the second day in Spain, May 5th, we all woke up early in the morning and went to school, where some Spanish participants made a tour with us in the whole school. We met students from all the classes and we had to introduce ourselves and answer their questions. Some of them had prepared surprises, like flowers and bracelets. After the tour we were led in a room, where the authorities had prepared a speech for us and every group took photos with them. The Spanish teachers offered bags to the participants with gifts like bracelets and a book related to the history of the school. When we got out in the yard, we were all happily surprised. All the classes where gathered in circles and in the middle of them, there was a flag from every country. We all believed that it was a wonderful idea to welcome us to their school. We wanted to spend much time with them but they had to go back to their lesson. We tried to get some free time to do activities together, but we had to go back home in order to get prepared for the evening celebration.
In the evening, we went back to school where the Spanish students had prepared a presentation with acrobatics, tricks and other activities for us. Then, some local professionals danced according to their tradition and invited us to learn how to dance. After that, each country should present its own traditional dance. We tasted also other traditional dishes and we had a big party with songs and dances of different countries. After this big celebration, we were all exhausted and we went back home having these unforgettable moments in our minds.
On the third day of our amazing experience, we woke up much earlier than the previous day. We started our walk to go to Lleida hill, where a church is located. The Cathedral of St. Mary of La Seu Vella is the former cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lleida. The Seu Vella is the defining monument of Lleida, the symbol of the city, being visible from its hilltop site anywhere in the city. We spent our time taking photos of the impressive architecture and the beautiful garden in the middle of the church. We could also enjoy the superb view of the whole city, including houses, streets and the river. Two hours later, we visited a famous winery, named Raimat, where we had the chance to taste the local wines, learn how they are produced and buy them in low prices. In the afternoon we visited a stadium in Lleida. On its roof there were photovoltaic installations and we learned about their price, advantages and materials. After this tour, we went back home to take some rest for a while, because later we had to visit the mayor. At 7, we were at the town hall, where we gave our presents to the mayor. He was really friendly and kind, he gave us his best wishes and we took lots of photos with him. Afterwards, we had free time for all the afternoon and we decided to go to the football match of a Spanish student and we thought that is would be great to support our friend. His team finally won and at 10 we hanged out all together to celebrate the victory.
On Thursday 7th of May we spent a wonderful day in the Pyrenees, where we visited the national park Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici. There a tour guide showed us the fauna and the flora of the mountain. After that we visited two Romanesque Churches of the 12th century , St Climent de Tahüll and Santa Cecília d’Erill la Vall. The wall picture οf St Climent de Tahüll representing Christ and 12 disciples was transferred to Catalonia National Arts Museum in Barcelona using a very special techique. Instead of the picture, we could see a projection of the original picture. This is the first place where such an indoor projection is used in the world. 30 minutes projection show is fascinating.
On our last day, Friday, the students of FEDAC Annunciata Dononiques of Lleida presented The Golden Mirrors Awards Ceremony at school, full of glamour and with their students’ band playing. It was the moment to know the winners of the scale models, journals, and of course, which was the best short film! Greece was awarded for the best scale model about Portugal and the best actor of the short film. Well done, Greek team!
At night we had the chance to enjoy an amazing human towers rehearsal and the wonderful fireworks from the Seu Vella.
Our meeting in Spain with our Comenius Family was extremely interesting. We enjoyed our time with our classmates and teachers from other countries and it was a lifetime experience.
Fotini Kokkinou - Lydia Mpatila - Eri Konitopoulou