Spring break in Spain
By Mara Krueger
RHS Spanish Teacher
Yes, 27 Hodag students from the Spanish Club of Rhinelander High School (RHS) visited the land of Cervantes, España. Led by trip leader Señora Mara Krueger and assisted by chaperones Taylor Kloehn, Linda Goldsworthy, Denise Zalewski, and Kelli Jacobi. These students had the time of their lives on a tour of Toledo, Granada, Ronda, Seville, Córdoba and Madrid.
Students explored a wide range of architectural styles from the Gothic cathedrals of Toledo and Seville to the Moorish influence of the Alhambra. Touring a Medieval synagogue and Moorish mezquita, students were attentive to the many stories and symbolism that invited them to reflect on the achievement of the impossible. Even during their free time, many students went out to explore small museums and exhibitions, adding comments that connected their prior knowledge with the sites.
Going from the old Visigothic capital of Toledo, exploring a Medieval Synagogue, and the treasure of a Gothic Cathedral, students stopped for a look at the most famous painting of El Greco, watched the sword making techniques and Toledo´s famous Damascene ware while enjoying their first experience with a large variety of tapas, mazapan, and churros with chocolate. Of course no multicultural experience could have been complete without the test of paella and the large Iberic variety of ham and sausages.
Catching the air of the windmills of Consuegra and feeling like Don Quixote ready for more adventures with his squire Sancho, we looked at the gorgeous Sierra Nevada Mountains, their old bull ranches, and the amazing olive plantation that gives a unique color to the landscape.
Students had a taste of Europe’s greatest Moorish legacy at the rhythm of Spain’s most famous flamenco dance while taking a dance lesson and later watching later a performance by the expert in the fascinating caves of Sacromonte. The fast-learning Hodag Flamencos can now show their swing!
We could not resist a visit to the Alhambra – the greatest accomplishments of Moorish art and architecture and their fabulous gardens. We continued with a picturesque route of whitewashed towns, “pueblos blancos,” connected later with the 18th Century bullfighting ring and the Cathedral of Puente Nuevo by the Guadalquivir River.
Students explored the immense Gothic Cathedral, burial place of Christopher Columbus and the Giralda Tower, and later connected with a calming fan painting session near the art school. Later they moved from the Moorish Mezquita to the modern capital of Madrid, digging into the details that captured for centuries the secrets of the past at the majestic Prado Museum. Students received a complete lesson of the past, present and future through the Spanish art of Velásquez, Goya, Raphael, Rubens and Bosch.
By the end of the trip, students had practiced the language so much that some were even dreaming in Spanish. Touring on their own during their free time not only forced them to practice the Spanish language, but gave them the confidence that will empower them and will shape their vision of the world.
This experience was possible due to the students’ hard work and the most needed support of many local business and organizations, to whom we are all very grateful. This year we surpassed our effort from our previous trips to Costa Rica and Perú, raising over $27,000. This was extremely important since the cost of the trip was $3,580 and many students needed this support to make their dream come to a reality.
Stories of this trip were flying right and left in the halls of RHS, and many pictures were shared upon the students return, which got others excited about the experience, therefore we can’t wait for the next adventure in 2021.
All of the travelers want to give a special thanks to those who helped them to expand their global education and cultural immersion. To all, muchas gracias because you are helping to inspire the next generation of global citizens.
A special thanks to our community members and businesses, Hodag Country Fest, Trig´s Brat Hut, the Lions Club of Lake Tomahawk, Bessey´s Meat Market, CT´s Deli, Walmart, Rouman Cinema, Rhinelander Cafe and Pub, and other private vendors. Thank you, gracias, to such a giving community!