Last weekend we took the bus to Es Trenc and spent the day in the sun. We relaxed, hung out, and a couple of the students went paddle boarding! Courtney the pro. Courtney and Rachel testing their balance on the board.Dakota's first time.
Palma is a small enough community for our students to really integrate in the community life of the city, and participate individually or in groups in local events.
Several CIEE students joined an event in an elementary school named “English Day”, and devoted their morning to teach English to children with passion and dedication. They ended the morning event singing in a karaoke competition in front of all the school. And in the end they received a diploma by the Director of the school. This public school was very thankful to CIEE and our students for this voluntary work.
Also, some students volunteered to do presentations in English about American culture at the University of the Balearic Islands, for students who are learning English.
Many of our students love hiking in the beautiful mountains of Mallorca and have completed the different series of trails along Sierra de Tramuntana, World Heritage Site for its natural and historical landmarks.
Another example of individual commitment to joining Palma events is Michelle, who run for the marathon of Palma, as you can see in the picture bellow.
And our adventurous student Alex participated in a popular local event in a little own of Mallorca, Es Firó. During this festival, the inhabitants of Sóller re-enact the invasion of the Turkish and Algerian fleets of pirates and their successful defeat. Held with great passion, this colorful and realistic festival celebrates Sollerics’ cultural heritage while they dress up as both the invaders and the locals, in traditional costumes of the period (1561). You can see Alex bellow being “kidnapped” by the “enemy”, and more pictures she kindly shared with us.
It is so fun to burn calories and learn new vocabulary words while exercising with others! Today, I went to the UIB gimnasio and had a sweat fest! (Sorry for the visual) It was so awesome. The facilities are top of the line, and the class schedule is INTENSE. I can't wait to join some more. If all the other instructors are half as demanding as this guy I met tonight, then I will be in good shape, literally. He yelled things like, "¡Sube Medio!" and "¡Arriba!" En inglés, "Up the resistance!" and "Get up (out the saddle)!" It was great, and the music was hot too! The only songs I recognized were Rehab and Apologize during the cool down. He was serious about stretching, which I appreciated so much. We cooled down for nearly 15 minutes, but I KNOW that I will still feel this tomorrow.
Cross Cultural Note of the Day: To my knowledge, all buses stop at a certain bus stop for a "break," or whatever it is they really do! I took the bus home from campus tonight. When the bus finally arrived, he drove for about 3 minutes to another stop and stood there for more than 10 minutes. He was reading or talking on the phone. YES, this happens almost everywhere, from Detroit to D.C. to Palma de Mallorca. I was flabbergasted!
On october 15-16, the CIEE Palma de Mallorca fall 2011 group spent two days walking in the mountains of Mallorca. We slept in a mountain refugee by the sea, near a lighthouse and an unbelievable view of Soller's harbour. Spending time in this beautiful nature, without any classes stress helped us to get to know each other really well.
Another activity we have done this semester is biking along the coast of Palma. As you can see, we like hiking, biking, walking, swimming... It is possible to be abroad and healthy :-)
Thanks to Matt Mantikas for letting me use his pictures for this post
So after class, the group meets up with native students who are studying English and Psychology at the same university. They're called out "guardian angels" and they take us on daily excursions. We took bikes out to a beach about 30 minutes away.
The beaches were huge and had sand bars out more than 200 yards where you can stand waist deep. There aren't any waves on the beaches and there are a LOT of fish in the water. I stepped on one getting in the water for the first time.
On the ride back a lady thought she was going to run into my bike and called me a "coño". It means asshole. sweet. Anyways. I don't think I've seen a city with as many beautiful people in it. The topless beaches always catch me off guard - especially because its surprisingly not the old fat ones going "desnuda". Heres a picture of the group in the sandbar and a picture of the coast line during the bikeride:
Today was looong. I had a class from 10-12; 12-2; then 2-4! No breaks in between either!
In any event, I finally found a place to do yoga. There's a place about a two minute walk from my casa (!) called Temple Natura. It's a fabulous organic grocery store, cafe, and yoga studio, and they even did my style of yoga. The studio is absolutely beautiful. You walk through a garden with palm trees, orange trees, and other bushes and plants with fruits and flowers to get to a studio made of all glass looking out at it. I had such a great time in class, and I could understand everything! Even better, I stayed for a while after talking to the guy who owned the shop, and got to practice my Spanish for a while. I was challenged on my distaste for tea, because apparently the tea that they make at Temple Natura is the best in Spain. I'm going to class again on Thursday and gonna try some of Alejandro's "famous" chai :).
I feel so much better after a yoga class, especially since it's been so long since I've been able to practice. However, I also feel so great about being able to practice Spanish so much too! I spend most of my time here speaking English, because the people I know are all Americans, so that was really nice. Also, the person who owns the place told me that he's been organizing an intercambio with his other American friends to help his Spanish friends learn English. Basically, this is where I would speak to someone in Spanish so I could practice, and they would respond in English to practice with me. We'd do this in the cafe before yoga, so I'm totally in! (PS: everyone I talked to tonight was very impressed with me. nbd. I feel like a bamf Spanish speaker right now)
PPS: this is the view from the studio. Just in case things needed to be more beautiful.
El pasado fin de semana nos fuimos de excursión a la Serra de Tramuntana (la alineación montañosa más grande de Mallorca y el espacio natural más extenso, candidata a patrimonio mundial por la UNESCO).
Last weekend, we -a group of seven students and two staff (Antonia, RD, and I, Susan, Resident Coordinator) -went on a hiking excursion to Sierrra de Tramuntana. This is the largest mountain range as well as natural area in Mallorca, currently a candidate to UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Partimos en bus desde Palma hacia el Puerto de Sóller, en la costa norte de la isla, desde allí, con un mapa y muchas ganas iniciamos la aventura, caminamos a través de la montaña durante dos horas, para llegar a un refugio donde pasar la noche.
We took a bus from Palma to Puerto de Sóller in the north coast of the Island. From there, with a map and really looking forward to the adventure, we started walking. We walked in the mountains for two hours to reach a refuge (Muleta) where we would spend the night.
El refugio de Muleta es muy confortable y está situado junto al faro del puerto, posee unas vistas inigualables hacía el mar abierto y también hacia el puerto. Al llegar pudimos ponernos cómodos, comer, hacer distintos juegos de mesa y conversar, pasamos una velada muy agradable, a las once de la noche nos fuimos todos a dormir.
This comfortable mountain refuge is located by a lighthouse named Cap Gross by Soller’s harbour. It has incomparable views to the open sea and the harbour. When we finally arrived to the refuge, we dressed comfortable, ate something, played cards and Taboo, chatted, and at 11pm we went to sleep in bunk beds.
Al día siguiente desayunamos pronto y emprendimos la marcha sobre las nueve de la mañana, nos esperaban tres horas de camino hacia Deià, caminando por la montaña, cruzando carreteras, pequeñas poblaciones costeras y muchísima naturaleza.
Disfrutamos de un día perfecto, con mucho sol, muchas sorpresas por el camino y un pequeño descanso para comer.
Deià es un pequeño pueblo, de los más bonitos de Mallorca, con un paisaje único, llegamos allí a medio día, donde disfrutamos de un último paseo por las pequeñas calles de piedra, del sol y el aire de la montaña. Los estudiantes, acostumbrados a ir a la playa y a la ciudad de Palma, se sorprendieron de que también hubiera una montaña tan hermosa en la isla.
Deià is a small village, one of the most beautiful towns in Mallorca, with a unique landscape. We arrived at 1pm and were able to wander around its narrow and steep streets built in stone. We enjoyed the sun and the air of the mountain. Students, more used to go to the beach and the city, were surprised that Mallorca had such beautiful mountains.
A las tres de la tarde, volvíamos en bus hacía Palma, fue una experiencia corta, pero intensa y muy gratificante para todos los que participamos, algunos estudiantes la definen con adjetivos como: hermosísima, divertida, única, bonita.
At 3pm we took a bus back to Palma. It was a short intense experience, very gratifying for all of us. Today I asked students around how would they define the activity, and they said, of course in Spanish: “hermosísima”, “divertida”, “única”, and “bonita”.
Four days ago, on February 7 of 2011 he has been honoured as the 'Laureus Sportsman of the Year” in Abu Dhabi after enjoying the best season in his career in 2010.
He is also the first man since 1969 to win the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles in the same year.
Let me quote what he said when receiving the award: “Hi everyone, Thank you very much for all of the support you give me. To be given this award is a huge honour and I feel very happy to be holding this statuette.”