Student exchange with Madrid

On 09.03.23 it should be so far. We had been waiting so long to finally fly to Madrid. With some students from class 7g and also from the eighth grade, so my class, and their class teachers we started the journey.

For me, the flight there was already exciting, but when the landscape appeared below us during the landing flight, I was even more excited and I think many of my classmates were too. Excitedly, we watched through the window the mountains that appeared in our field of vision. A little snow was shining on their peaks, even though the rest of the surroundings seemed rather dry. As we landed, I already noticed the trees, which seemed so foreign to me and yet were really beautiful and extraordinary.

The excitement grew even more when we left the plane and the warm but pleasant wind blew in our faces. It was a wonderful feeling, but the best part was yet to come.

After we got our luggage back, the Spanish students were waiting for us full of anticipation. At first I was really overwhelmed and had to admit that I didn't know what to say at all. But already on the way to school and especially there the tension relaxed and I started to talk more and more with my exchange student. What really overwhelmed me was the incredible friendliness and curiosity of the Spanish students. We were greeted from all sides in the school, we were waved at and within a day I already knew many friends of my exchange student, which did not bother me at all. These meetings happened even more often in the next days. Again and again I was warmly received by friends and especially by my exchange family.

I admit I was very fascinated by everything, but the incredible friendliness of the people there was really something incredibly beautiful. I was greeted by the parents, quite typically, with a kiss on each cheek.

The next day we went on an excursion with our exchange students, first to the most famous park in Madrid, the "Parque del Retiro". We entered the grounds through one of the large, beautiful gates. The paths were decorated with small fountains and of course all kinds of plants. And then in front of the monument of King Alfonso XII we met the first "living statue". In the "Parque del Retiro" there are a lot of costumed people and you meet them at every corner. Fascinating was the feeling of being in such a big city, but still seeing so much nature and trees everywhere. Not only in the parks of Madrid you can find plants, they are practically everywhere. Even between big streets there are green strips where trees and bushes are planted, as well as flowers.

The trip to the park was followed by a visit to the Prado Museum. We divided into groups and explored the museum only with our exchange students at our side. I myself was very positively surprised how much my exchange student could explain to me about the different artists. The main attraction in the museum was of course the famous painting "Las Meninas" by Velazquez, which was very understandable. The paintings, some of which were huge, had an almost intimidating effect on me. I always have to imagine how much time the painters spent creating these masterpieces. These works of art definitely deserve everyone's respect. After this day we were all pretty exhausted, but also in the following days we would not be less on the road.

After an exciting Saturday at the amusement park "Warner", we made a trip to the not far away Escorial on Sunday, where we visited the "Real Monestario del Escorial". The palace is not only beautiful from the outside, but also from the inside. The library, basilica, pantheons and chambers of the building were all beautiful in their own way. While in the Basilica and the Pantheons I admired the rich decorations and many details, in the chambers and the library it was of course also these, but to which were added the, sometimes gigantic paintings. The size of this former royal palace was also almost overwhelming, but in a good sense.

At the end we visited part of the gardens, where I was fascinated by the courtyards decorated with arcades.

Then, on Wednesday, we arrived at the "Templo de Debod" for sunset, which was a very pretty sight. The bright colors of the sky and in the foreground the small but very beautiful temple. In the evening we walked through the "Gran Via", probably the most famous shopping street in Madrid.

Also on Thursday we saw the "Gran Via" again, but this time in daylight. Through the crowded streets of Madrid we then came to the "Puerta del Sol". On this big square you can admire the famous statue "El oso y el madroño". A funny fact that our guide shared with us is that it is actually not an "Oso", a male bear, but a female one, an "Osa". Also located in the square is the "Kilometro Cero", which you may have heard of. From there we went on to the "Plaza Mayor", which is very fascinating. One stands there on a rectangular square with a statue in the middle, surrounded by houses like walls, all of the same color and design. The rich orange creates a joyful atmosphere, but one wall looks different. Between two small towers, the wall of the house is decorated with paintings and patterns, like so many houses in Madrid. Even if you drive through the streets by car, you can not miss the pretty reliefs and decorations.

Our excursion with the exchange students and the city guide finally brought us in front of the "Palacio Real", the royal palace in Madrid, in which the royal family does not live. Surrounded by gardens, this building stands there, kept in a pure white. On the roof you can see some sculptures, some of them also placed in the gardens, due to a dream of a former inhabitant of the palace. She dreamed that one day a statue would fall on her head, which is why some were removed from the roof and distributed in the gardens.

Unfortunately, Friday was already the last day in Spain. In the morning we got a breakfast from the school, which consisted mainly of churros and chocolate. I can only recommend churros, but especially with the chocolate.

In the afternoon I did something with the family of my exchange student, as I do every day. Everything I experienced in Madrid was just something great for me. The many excursions together with friends and families were very eventful and especially fun. On Saturday it was really hard to say goodbye, even though I was already looking forward to seeing my family.

Madrid will remain very positive in my memory. The many activities, the new friends and especially the different culture that I was able to get to know made me very happy. I already miss the people there and hope that I can fly to Madrid again soon.

Mathilda Tomandl, student from class 8 of the TRIAS Gymnasium Elsterberg

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