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Planning a Trip to Spain

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#1 Russel Tarr

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 10:17 AM

I'm planning to take my Year 10 and Year 12 students on a trip to Spain next spring. Although my main focus will be on the Spanish Civil War, I want to cram in as many cultural experiences as I can over the three full days or so.

My question is: what would you recommend as the "must see" attractions in Spain?

I'll then plot them all on a Google Map and decide how many I can incorporate!

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

#2 Nick



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Posted 09 May 2011 - 06:04 PM

Must see attractions for me are
the Alhambra (Granada)
Cordoba's Mesquita - just as impressive if less well known
I do like Seville a lot, it has a few great sites to see and is a good place as a base

Madrid isn't as attractive as it's a big sprawling city but it does have the Prado and Gurnica in another art museum
From Madrid there are several excellent one day trips - Franco's tomb is awesome, close to El Escorial, Philip II's pile.
Segovia is worth a trip, but best of all is Toledo - superb in every way, cathedral especially
Salamanca has lovely buildings but is further away.

If you want the Civil War I would use Madrid as a base and do the above. You might even get a football match in while you are there!

My favourite is Seville but it's better for Mudejar stuff and Moorish Spain rather than Franco.

I hope that's a bit of help. Enjoy.

#3 Richard Jones-Nerzic

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 09:44 AM

You could do worse than look at what we did back in 2004.

The problem of trying to make the war the focus of a trip is that it never really ended, it has just been forgotten. With el pacto de olvido, there was no peace and reconciliation and consequently (as far as I'm aware) no museums and heritage sites to take school groups.

Best thing is to make it a cross-curricular trip - if Spanish is important then it has to be Madrid. If Madrid then it has to be art. From Madrid (stay outside not in) you have a series of great one day trips to the beautiful cities Nick mentions. The war can be a minor reference point in each. In Salamanca you have the greatest plaza in Europe, the set of the inquisition scenes from Ridley Scott's 1492 and also a small plaque to tell you this was Franco's hq during the war. In Toledo you have the Cathedral but also the Alcázar which as a result of the siege was the symbol of Spanish nationalist power during and after the war.

Picasso's Guernica in the Reina Sophia can be a day's focus in itself with the Prado and Thyssen making up the golden museum triangle.

But for the students in 2004, the most memorable part of the visit was the Valle de los Caídos, Franco's memorial. The basic design concept was Franco’s; imitative of Nazi Germany’s classicism and the influence of Albert Speer, its intention was in his words ‘to defy time and forgetfulness’. And it works. How can you have a pact of forgetting with this beautiful, fascist monstrosity on the Madrid horizon? It raises so many important questions about the social role of memory and heritage. And the obvious one, what the hell should the Spanish do with it?
All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke

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#4 Russel Tarr

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Posted 03 September 2011 - 06:59 PM

Thanks Richard - obviously I checked out what you did in 2004 at it looks excellent - the challenge for me though is that we're having to base it around Barcelona rather than Madrid (in order to tie it in with a residential trip for the Geographers happening at the same time). I've found someone who does guided tours around Barcelona with a civil war focus, and I'll be building other things around it. All of Yr10 and Yr12 will be on the trip together to fill the coach. It will be taking place in the Summer after exams, so I'm still gathering ideas together for it, but hopefully it will come together...!

"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good" - Stephen Colbert

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