On the 6th April 2017, in the crisp air of 1.15 a.m., 31 Pres Currylea students and 4 teachers waved ‘Adios’ to cold and gloomy Tuam and set off for a five day fun-filled journey to the glamorous and lively city of Madrid.
We began with a dark bus journey to Dublin, and then a surprisingly speedy and easy airport process, despite there being a large number of excited and tired teenage girls trying to get from on busy spot to another. In what then seemed like no time at all we were far away from Ireland and walking the streets of sunny Madrid.
Upon arrival, no time was wasted and the tourist activities kicked off with a guided bus tour of Madrid, giving us a chance to see the whole city, as well as sneak a peek at some of the places we would be seeing over the next few days. Then, like something out of a movie, we headed to the heart of the city and boarded the Teleferico Cable Car, where we were truly able to see the city from every stunning angle. We then returned to a restaurant near our hotel and feasted on pizzas before crashing out in our rooms, exhausted but excited for day two.
Our first stop on Friday morning was Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial – a monastery and church built in the sixteenth century. We spent the morning exploring this monastery along with the small town of El Escorial, where we had lunch. In the afternoon we went to the Reina Sofia art gallery, just a short walk from our hotel, where we got to see various artworks, including some by Picasso himself. After dinner we spent the evening bowling and mastering claw machines.
Saturday had probably been the most anticipated day of the tour. We set off at 10.30 am to spend the day at the Parque Warner theme park. We arrived just as the park was opening, giving us time to fully take in the atmosphere. All things Warner Brothers were represented, from Scooby Doo to Looney Tunes, and of course there was a roller-coaster around every corner. We couldn’t be happier! After a day of fun we went out to dinner in the city and strolled around buying souvenirs and trying ‘chocolate con churros’ from Chocolateria San Gines.
On Sunday morning we experienced true Spanish life by going to a vintage Flea Market and we left with bags considerably heavier than when we arrived. After a short coach drive we looked out to see crowds of soccer fans and knew we had arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, home of 2 time FIFA Club World Cup winners, Real Madrid. After touring the stadium and seeing over one hundred trophies (and about the same number of photographs of Christiano Ronaldo!!) we left for dinner and then spent the evening being mesmerised by an authentic Flamenco show.
Finally on our last day we started off by taking a bit of time to enjoy the beautiful city and the gorgeous weather before heading for the Food Lover’s Literary Quarter Market, where we were able to taste-test a range of hams, olives and cheeses. We spent the rest of the afternoon shopping in the heart of the city.
Reluctantly we headed off to the airport , eventually arriving in a cold Dublin city, exhausted but armed with countless memories that would last for ever.
Niamh McCann – Transition Year