If you would like to hear a story about long distance journeys, boring holidays, or spending time in a traditional way, please look for it somewhere else but not here.
OK. So let's start.
Everything began in my school – Liceum Ogólnokształcące in Kamienica Polska, which almost every year takes part in international school projects. One of them is Socrates Comenius. The year 2005 was the time of the school meeting between two countries: Poland and Spain. The pupils spent together two weeks in Poland working and learning their partners' language. Of course a good fun wasn't missing but it was in September 2005. Now is June 2006…
I wouldn't like to say anything else because after reading this text you will understand exactly what I mean.
Ready????!!!!!! I think, yes. SO:
17 VI 2006 - Saturday
21 Polish people went to Spain: 18 pupils and 3 teachers. I had to wake up really early, at 2.30 a.m., because we had a flight to London at 5:45 and we had to get by bus to the nearest airport – Pyrzowice. For most people it was the first flight in their whole life - a little stressful but absolutely necessary experience. The best thing is - you are above the clouds. It took us about two hours to get to London. We had to transfer to another airport by car. What a strange feeling - driving on the left. I was really confused.
We had to wait for about half an hour for the next flight, this time to Oviedo.
When we got off the plane I saw the Spanish group waiting for us at the airport. They were very happy.
Today, at last, I met Cristina – my Spanish friend and we went to her house in Grado – it's a small town in the north of Spain, in the region – Asturias. Her father – Rafael was at home, and the first thing he said was "hola" – Spanish "hello".
I forgot to write that Cristina invited me to her house with Kasia – my older sister, and we are really happy to spend our holidays with our Spanish sister. After unpacking our luggage we went to meet other Spanish people in the pub. We tried a typical Spanish drink – Cidra. The way it tasted was a little strange for us.
Then we saw that boys poured it to glasses in a different way than we did. You have to hold the bottle very high in one hand and the glass very low in the other. We were surprised but heard about it earlier.
That day was absolutely busy because in the evening we went to a hockey match. It was exciting but now I'm exhausted. I'm going to bed.. See you tomorrow, my Diary.
18 VI 2006 – Sunday
In the morning Kasia, I, and Cris went to the church. It was beautiful but the mass was in Spanish and I understood very little:) Later we went to another hockey match because it was the last competition.
Cristina's friends became the winners!! They won the most important competition and got medals. Congratulations!!! Then we went to the swimming pool but I didn't swim because it was quite
cold, we were just talking and laughing sitting on the towels. Great fun! In the evening we went to Cristina's grandmother's house. I have never met a person like her. She always smiles. She has got a very beautiful garden which we admired for a long time. Despite my little understanding of Spanish she talked to me
all the time and I think she got used to me and my sister – Kasia. Later we went to a restaurant with Cristina and her parents. We feel as princesses!
19 VI 2006 - Monday
Time is running away very quickly! Earlier we experienced enormous hospitality of Spanish people but now it's time to work. Today we went to I.E.S. Cesar Rodriquez school and were working on Comenius Project. Moreover, we watched in the computer classroom the film scenes which we recorded last year in Poland. But not only… We also saw the films from the Spanish trip to Poland. Gil, Carmen and Maria Eugenia – Spanish teachers, gave to all Polish people materials about Asturias. There were maps, advertisements, and other very useful things.
Then our Spanish friends invited us to Oviedo (it is about 25 kilometres from Grado – we got there by train) to a big department store, where we could buy souvenirs and everything what we liked. We had a really nice time.
20 VI 2006 - Tuesday
This morning we spent at school, too. We worked on the project and then we took a photo of the whole group: Spanish, Polish. But it wasn't a normal photo. All of us were wearing special T-shirts, which we had made in our school, Liceum Ogólnokształcące in Kamienica Polska, before we went to Spain. The text on the
T-shirts says " Europe unites us but Socrates makes us friends ". This sentence is written in two languages. One of them in Spanish: "Europa nos une Socrates nos hace amigos" and the second in Polish:" Europa nas łączy, Socrates czyni przyjaciółmi". What is more there are flags of Spain and Poland with a logo of Socrates Comenius, and in the background we can see the sketch map of Europe. Then we could go to play sports. The most popular was basketball and volleyball. We were very tired after the games. In the evening we went with Cristina to her aunt and uncle. They are really intelligent and friendly people. Cris's uncle told us about famous cities in Spain and the interesting places we should see.
Then we met their little son – Hugo and he sang for us several beautiful, Spanish songs. Me and Kasia gave him a few Polish cakes and sweets. He was very satisfied!
21 VI 2006 – Wednesday, a trip to Madrid (3 days)
The journey from Grado to Madrid took about five hours. After that we had to check in very comfortable bungalows for four people. I stayed in one bungalow with Kasia, Agata Duszel and Ewa Olszewska. It is a really good camping-site with swimming pools, tennis courts and sport fields.
We unpacked and we could go together to the swimming pool. The weather here is better than in Grado. It hardly ever rains and now it's about 38 degrees in the shadow!!
22 VI 2006 – Thursday
The centre of Madrid. What a beautiful place! I have waited to see it for a long time. At first we went to the famous Prado Museum. We saw many spectacular paintings, for example by Picasso, El Greco, Bosch, Velazquez and many others. It was amazing to see the great works of art and we learnt a lot about the painters and Spanish history.
In the afternoon we went to a large theme park. Adrian told us that it's one of the biggest places like this in Europe. Me and Kasia were so excited. Most of the time I felt my stomach in my throat but it was the kind of positive stress.
When we came back to our bungalow we spent the evening with our Spanish friends: Marcos, David (Piru), Nestor, Cristina (my Spanish sister), Juan, Carla, Rebeca, Marta, and Polish: me, Kasia, Agata, and Ewa. There were about 15 people in our small bungalow but we had a really good fun, we were talking all the time and I collected almost all home addresses of my Spanish friends!
23 VI 2006 – Friday
We had to pack our things because it was time to go back to Grado. We took the last photos in our bungalows and we had to say: "good bye Madrid". But before leaving the centre of Spain we visited el Escorial, the place where the bodies of Spanish kings lie. We visited a beautiful monastery, a rich cathedral, and the king's library. We heard that the royal library is now a public place and everyone can borrow books there. What is more, for a lot of centuries near the palace has been functioning a catholic school.
Then, for those who wanted to go (me – of course, everywhere, always) there was a possibility to visit the underground of the monastery and see the plans of buildings, tools, beautiful carpets and the pictures on the walls. Later we went to another city – Salamanca.
It's very popular because of the University. The building is in the pretty style of baroque. In front of the University there is a big, famous wall. The history says that if you find on this wall a sculptured frog (but only on your own), you will pass all your even the most difficult exams and successfully finish your studies. I must admit that Marcos helped me to find it on that wall. But fortunately I'm not superstitious. In Salamanca there is also a large, beautiful cathedral. I went there with Kasia. After the day we were absolutely exhausted but we came back to Grado very excited and I couldn't go to sleep earlier than 3.00 a.m!!! Cristina's parents were very pleased that we came back happy and in good health.
24 VI 2006 – Saturday
We slept for a long time because we were really tired. We took a rest for almost the whole day. Me and Kasia bought some postcards and sent them to our family and friends. At night we went to Oviedo to the disco.
25 VI 2006 - Sunday
The disco was great! Absolutely different than in Poland. I liked it more because I could hear a typical Spanish music. I usually don't go to discos but this time it was a very good experience. And Oviedo at night looked so beautifully. I slept today until twelve o'clock. At one o'clock we went to the church and then for a walk round Grado. Every Sunday there is a market where you can buy everything. Today Cris's mum gave us beautiful T-shirts and scarves from Asturias, which she bought in that market. We are very, very grateful! Muchas gracias!!! In the afternoon we went to another Cristina's grandmother. There were her uncle and aunt who we met last time in Grado, and both of their sons – Hugo (3 years old) – I wrote about him earlier, and Pablo (1 year old). We spent a really nice time in the small village – Cuero, because Cristina and the boys showed us my beautiful places. After that we were playing "football" together with two dogs – Pol and Luna. Later Cristina's dad let me try to pour Cidra to a special glass. I was very excited! On Sunday evening, traditionally, we went to a restaurant. I realized today that we have already been in Spain for one week! Time goes so fast!!!
26 VI 2006 - Monday
Today we went canoeing. What a beautiful day!!! I love doing extreme sports! I love travelling in canoes! It was the best feeling in my whole life. It was my first time in a canoe and I hope not the last one. A canoe is a boat for one or two people. I canoed with Kasia all the time but other people were changing their places during the trip. We travelled down the beautiful river for about three hours! Everyone was very happy because nobody had to use lifeboats…:) I enjoyed myself very much!!! After caneing we went to the most important sanctuary in Asturias. The name of this place is Covadonga. It is a very beautiful monastery situated on the hill. Cristina told me that this place has a similar importance for Spanish people as Jasna Góra in Częstochowa for Polish people. We bought souvenirs for our family and then came back to Grado.
In the evening I went to a bar with Cristina and other Spanish friends We were very tired so we stayed there for a short time.
27 VI 2006 – Tuesday
Today we went to school. We were working at the project and surfing the Internet. In the afternoon, we went to Oviedo to see Cristina's mum at work. She works as a shop assistant in a very exclusive jewellery shop. She was very surprised to see us. She is such an open and friendly person! Since 9.00 p.m. we have been watching a very important Mundial match between France and Spain. Unfortunately the result is 3:1 for France. What a pity! Cristina is very unhappy now.
28 VI 2006 – Wednesday
We went to Aviles, the place situated on the coast, which is famous for a big fish industry. We spent some time in the fish factory where we learnt how fish is prepared to go to the supermarkets. Then we went to the centre of the city, where we could see a very large and beautiful park, the main square, and the king's palace. It is a lovely place.
In the evening, we went to a party to Sandiche where David lives. We had a good fun, made a grill and ate typical Spanish food or hand-made hot-dogs:). I learnt new, very useful Spanish words: "hasta luego" – "see you";)
29 VI 2006 – Thursday
We spent almost the whole day in Oviedo. First, we went to the parliament where famous politicians always meet and talk about very important matters of Asturias region. Our quide was a Polish woman who has been living in Spain for 40 years! Then we went for a walk around Oviedo and she showed us the Cathedral of San Salvador with over 1000 years of history and the university. After that we had free time and we went shopping with Cristina and Carla. When we came home a little surprise from Cristina's grandmother was waiting for us.It was a delicious desert made of rice, cinnamon and milk…:)
30 VI 2006 - Friday
Today the whole group went to the house of culture in Grado, where we had a meeting with the local authorities. When we came inside the building, we were greeted by Rebeca playing bagpipes. What a strong and interesting sound!!! Rebeca played a hymn of Asturias. She is such an intelligent and capable girl. I like her very, very much! I am so proud of her. Then we took a part in an important meeting with the chief of the house of culture and some representatives of the local authorities. They talked about various activities happening in the house, Comenius Project, pupils and our visit in Spain. It was a very friendly meeting. In the end our headmaster Marian Kaźmierczak was given a book about Asturias and he presented a book about Poland to the authorities. Later, we were listening to Pablo playing the piano. I knew that he could play the piano because he lives on the third floor and we live on the first. He sometimes practices. I enjoy his playing. He is fantastic! He played for us a piece of music by Chopin. It was very moving. Later we could try some typical Spanish food. In the evening we went to our last disco in Spain…
01 VII 2006 – Saturday
The day before the last day in Spain. What a pity. Que pena (new words:) Today we had good bye dinner in a restaurant which officially finished our trip to Spain. We had to come with the parents of our Spanish friends. Cristina's mum couldn't come because she had to go to work but we went there with Cris's dad. Polish students thanked the Spanish families with flowers and "our father"was very moved and pleased. In the restaurant we watched together a film prepared by the Spanishgroup for the Comenius Project. We had a really good fun because our Spanish friends were good actors:) All of us were laughing because it was a very funny film but everyone admitted that the Spanish students did a good job. Then we took some more photos. The parents were very, very happy. They were singing songs, one of the fathers brought an accordion and he was playing all the time. "Our father" sang the most loudly because he belongs to a local choir. I forgot to write it earlier… He is the best. I love my Spanish family and friends. But I want to go home, too. I was very confused all the day.
02 VII 2006 – Sunday, TIME TO GO HOME
The last hours we spent with almost all Cristina's family.Her grandmother, uncle and aunt with Hugo and Pablo came to her house. They gave us presents. We were very happy but very sad, too. At the airport all families met together. Everybody was crying… It was time to say good bye but in my heart the faces of my best friends will stay for ever.I went to Poland very happy but I'm going to miss my Spanish friends. They are like a family and I will never forget their hospitality and what they did for us. The Comenius Project taught us how to find new friends. We realised that in spite of all the cultural differences and different customs deep inside we are the same. For me it is the most important thing. It is the end of my Spanish Diary. All the facts described here are true.