A group of 34 Key Stage 3 Spanish pupils have just returned from an action-packed trip to Valencia. The boys were accompanied by Mrs Sinéad Mc Gonigle, Mrs Ailish O' Kane, Mrs Rachael Craig and Señora Laura Pozo.

During the trip, pupils enjoyed and engaged actively in a guided tour of the historic centre of Valencia. The tour was conducted entirely in Spanish and our guide was impressed with pupils' understanding and level of participation. We visited the city's Cathedral, home of the Cáliz Santo, or Holy Grail; Torre del Miguelete; the Mercado Central - Valencia's bustling food market, and La Lonja - the Silk Exchange, a beautiful Gothic structure. This year, we also visited the Fallero museum, where we saw the fabulous "Ninots" - sculptures saved from the fires of the Spring Fallas festival of fire. Our final stop on the tour was the city's bullring, where our guide, Teresa, explained to pupils the different stages of the bullfight.

Boys also enjoyed a trip to the Museo de Artes y Ciencias - the Arts and Science museum. They attended workshops on the subjects of Magical Chemistry, Space and the Story of Electricity, as well as visiting the exhibits which ranged from the importance of wood as a natural resource to the wonders of the human body. After the visit, boys loved zorbing, canoeing and cycling in the great outdoors of the museum, located in the Turia gardens.

On day two the largest aquarium in Europe was our next destination. Here, boys saw species from all over the world and watched a dolphin show with a strong educational message about our role in looking after the environment.

Our visit to the Albufera Natural park was one of the many highlights of our trip. Boys went on a boat trip on the lake in El Palmar, surrounded by the rice fields which provided the main ingredient for our paella lunch. In addition to paella, the boys also had the chance to try other traditional Spanish tapas, including calamares.

We also packed in trips to the Malvarossa and Arenas beaches, the Mestalla football stadium and of course the rooftop pool in our hotel! Boys practised their ever improving Spanish and developed their social skills in many different contexts.

The boys received compliments and praise galore throughout the trip; from fellow passengers on the flight and on public buses; from hotel staff and staff in every public place we visited. We, as teachers, were very proud of them. The boys represented their school with distinction throughout. We hope everyone had a great time. Until next time! ¡Hasta la próxima! Current Year 8 Spanish pupils will be offered the opportunity to go on the June 2018 trip when they return to school in September.

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