Wood Middle School Students Travel to Spain

Romeo Ponsaran  Band teacher Mr. Reis runs from a bull in Pamplona, Spain.

Wood Middle School Students Travel to Spain

 

Part 2 of 2

Last week Marcella Welter took Alameda Sun readers on the first part of Wood Middle School’s trip to Spain (“Wood Students Travel to Spain,” May 26). This week Marcella concludes her description of the journey.

Traveling to the largest city in the Basque country, Bilbao, took a few hours. Bilbao is an interesting and beautiful city, where modern architecture meets the trademark historic influence found in most parts of Spain. Contemporary design flourishes in every corner, and modern sculptures and buildings seem to emerge from everywhere, giving the city a lively feel.

There we visited the Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry, featuring works by Andy Warhol and Richard Serra. In front, Jeff Koon’s popular sculpture “Puppy” stands, completely made of poppy flowers. We then wandered the Old Town until finally winding up in Cathedral de Santiago, where inside it is dark and exquisitely gothic. Soon we embarked on the journey through the city of San Sebastian on a cold and rainy day. After a guide showed us the city, we climbed to a high point, one of Napoleon’s old lookouts, where one can see all of Monte Igueldo. Despite the drab weather, the city did not cease to amaze and the water looked cold and clear.

On the eighth day in Spain, we arrived in Pamplona, where the infamous Running of the Bulls (Fiesta de San Fermin) originated. We walked the trail the runners and bulls follow that goes through Pamplona’s wide streets. Towards the end of our journey, as we moved southeast to Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, the bus had a minor wheel casualty that gave us time to stretch our legs and play a few games of soccer and “Heads Up” (a charades-inspired game) at a rest stop.

In Barcelona, we visited Plaza de Cataluña. After souvenir shopping and a paella lunch, we stopped in the much anticipated La Sagrada Familia, where we were awestruck by the enormity and detailed work on the inside of the church, which has been being worked on since it was started in 1882.

Antoni Gaudi, the main designer and architect, wanted the church to resemble nature. For example the columns that hold up the ceiling look like tree trunks and branches and the stained glass windows look like the day and night skies. You could spend hours gazing up at the stunning architecture and its mix of contemporary and classical styles. The last day spent in Spain, we saw Park Guell, designed by Gaudi as well. In this remarkable park, gardens and mosaics are recurring components used to identify Gaudi’s impeccable taste and playful style.

Finally, we had to part ways with our wonderful tour guide, Macarena, the Chicagoans, and our tremendous spring break. All in all, Spain was an extraordinary experience we will treasure for a very long time. There was a sense of independence in each of us, and we were finding the world in a different light than we were used to. I think we all matured as we explored Spain.

This experience will last more than the 10 days that we spent in Spain. It’s a part of us now, kept in a place where even when we forget each other’s names or lose the Tshirt we bought in Barcelona, it will be preserved. These fresh memories will fade and linger, but the experiences will stay.

Marcella Welter is a seventh grade concert band student at Wood Middle School.