Querido Familia y Amigos!

Jueves, el 27 de Junio 

In our third day of Spanish classes, we set off on another field trip!  This time to the beach boardwalk, a mere 3 blocks away, where we conversed with local Malaguenos asking them about Malaga’s monuments, typical dishes, and culture. On the way home from school we stopped at the local market and bakery, where Emily continued using her Spanish skills to buy us fresh peaches, baguettes, and cheese for tomorrow’s lunch!  In the afternoon, Ashley, our Leader of the Day, led us downtown on the Number 3 bus where we reunited with our buddy (and teacher) Fran from the Alhambra Institute for a tour of Malaga’s Cathedral.  Also known as “La Manquita” as we had learned earlier that morning while talking with conversing with local Spaniards, the Renaissance cathedral is a real gem.  “This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen”, Emily said, as she stood in awe admiring the alter, organ, stained glass, and Baroque detail of the facade.  

On Friday we packed our dancing shoes for our 12pm Flamenco class!  Aside from being one of our Spanish teachers, Sandra is a professional Flamenco dancer!  Flamenco is highly expressive and passionate, characterized by percussive footwork, hand clapping and intricate movements. As we followed Sandra’s stacacco motions as best we could, giving her castanets, bullfighter cape and dance shoes a whirl, we couldn’t help but chuckle together with each step, especially while posing for pictures at the end; our fearless leader and sole male group member, Cole of course sporting the female Flamenco costume!  After a scrumptious picnic lunch on the beach, a little soccer and a quick swim, we took Malaga’s boardwalk straight to town to meet Fran for famous churros and chocolate. Gorging on “Spainish doughnuts” and chocolate as thick as soup, we impressed our friend Fran with our newfound bravery and mastery of the present tense.  Returning home for mouth watering homemade pizza by Helena and Courtney, we finished the day with an evening circle of legendary “scar stories” and appreciations.

Saturday marked our first excursion outside of Malaga!  Our first stop was Mijas, an authentic “Pueblo Blanco” (“White Town”) high on a high hill. According to Andres, another one of our teachers as well as local guides, the quaint antiquated white architecture of such towns was originally intended to combat the malicious heat, a trademark of summers here in Andalusia.  Today, the precious breeze made for a perfect summer day as we enjoyed breathtaking views overlooking the Mediterranean.

The next stop along the journey was Marbella, one of the most coveted beach spots on La Costa del Sol.  Here we feasted on local fish (as fresh as it comes!), Spanish Tortilla (omelette), and gazpacho before hitting the sand for a short siesta.  It was not long before Cole and Courtney were fish in the water among the flamboyant aqua waves of the Mediterrean.  Before boarding a sleepy bus back to Malaga, we took a short walk through Marbella’s ancient Old Town (“Casco Antiguo”) and enjoyed our new favorite snack, “Principe” cookies! 

On Sunday, we were off again, however this time to precious Seville, a 2,200 year old city and today’s capital of Andalusia.  A full schedule ahead of us and harsh 40 degree heat to beat, we explored the Alcazar, where Columbus’s voyage to America was organized and the Seville Cathedral, renowned as the third largest in the world.  Olivia marveled at the classic Spanish architecture and storybook narrow streets of the Santa Cruz neighborhood before we set off for a peek of Plaza de Espana.  Enjoying a little taste of Italy for dinner tonight back in Malaga, we decided that Helena will someday open a “Natilla” restaurant in the Hamptons, which will serve up the soft Spanish custard with cinnamon and newfound novelty desert that we discovered and drooled over tonight. The decor will be pink and it will be a great spot for our 5 year group reunion :). Until then we are excited for our second week of classes, salsa and a little Piccaso!  

Un abrazo grande de Malaga!