Exchange travel Almería-Manchester 201019 mayo 2010 a las 19:25 | Publicado en Actividades, Educación, English | 7 comentarios
By Juan Avilés
On April 24th 2010 a group of students from Alhadra High School set off for Manchester, in order to carry out the second part of the Exchange Programme that has taken place between Longdendale Community Language College and our high school this year. Our English partners came in February and they had to cope with lousy rainy weather. For that reason we were thrilled by the nice weather we found as soon as we got off the plane. Two vehicles which were supposed to be taxis were waiting for us at the car park, located at the back of the airport. We divided up into two groups and were taken to the accommodation. It was a cosy hostel built for sea cadets’ instruction. The girls were given a room with triple bunk beds and the boys were assigned a storage room in which there were several metal bed frames with very thin mattresses on them, this was due to the fact that we should have travelled to England a week before but it was impossible because all the airports in the UK were closed thanks to the ash cloud that threatened to destroy aircraft engines. As the boys were in the storage room we had to ask for pillows and sheets and that is how we managed to make it into a nice place to sleep and chat. After that, Miss Kirby, who has done a great job organizing this wonderful trip to Manchester, came to the accommodation to welcome us and to take us to Manchester by train. Fortunately, the train station happened to be near the accommodation so we didn´t have to walk far.
The train took half an hour to get to Manchester and we were all tired of standing up on the train, it was quite a relief to be told to get off the train. We still had to walk a little longer till we could meet our English friends at Piccadilly Gardens. Our teachers gave us some free time to go shopping and eat something (we were so hungry). We went into a CD shop called HMV and we were amazed by the price of CDs, DVDs, and films. Loli (one of the students) was aware of this, I suppose that’s why she bought 4 CDs and a special edition of an English series. There is not much more to say about Manchester apart from that it is an urban city, there are plenty of people and it was a Saturday afternoon. That being the case, we saw lots of Manchester United fans going to Old Trafford to support their team in the Premier League (too bad they didn´t win!). The last thing I remember about Manchester was the ride on the Big Eye, a big wheel situated in the centre of the city from which you can see the whole city when you are at the top. It was a bit expensive, but it was worth it. We left the city by six and we headed to our friends’ houses because it was time to have something for tea with our English families. Many of us had fish and chips, a typical English take-away dish although many Chinese restaurants make it as well. It consists of haddock fillets coated in a mixture of beer, egg yolk, folded egg white and a pinch of salt and then put into a frying pan. It is served with chipped potatoes with salt and vinegar on them. Yummy!
Sunday was the family day. Some of us went to their school and played basketball, others went shopping or visited a farm and the rest of us spent the day in different ways. It is worth mentioning the party that we had in a cricket club. English families brought many things to eat. The problem was that we had just had tea and we were all full but we managed to try some food because we appreciated the effort they made. The reason why we were all so full is that the English eat more heavily in the evenings.
They normally have a sandwich or packed lunch at lunchtime and then it´s dinner that is the main meal. It was a very nice evening. We enjoyed chatting, laughing, joking and taking photos.
On Monday we were taken to their school and attended two lessons. We found it strange that they had twenty minutes every day for counselling and discussing tutorial issues. They were in the revision time before the GCSEs (exams that they have to pass before going to college). Next we went on a tour to Old Trafford. We enjoyed it a lot despite everything being explained in English. The pitch is wonderful, it´s so green and well-cared for. The patterns on the seating looked striking, the red and white colours just jump out at you. Moreover, the team have got many trophies and the history of Manchester United is very interesting for any football fan – whichever team you support. The tour lasted a little longer than we expected so we didn’t have a great deal of time to buy much in the Manchester Megastore, we did buy some gifts though. We went to our friends´ houses when we came back and the majority of us went to a public swimming pool.
On Tuesday we attended four more lessons and we left for Liverpool, Miss Kirby’s hometown. She had arranged a ferry ride down the river Mersey. We got marvellous views over both sides of Liverpool. One of them is the modern side filled with tall buildings representing the commercial business which takes place there and the other is the green side where traditional houses lie. When the ride was over, we went to the Beatles museum. This place is based on the story of the famous group. It tells of when they first met and how they became famous, the pubs where they played in England and their separation as a music band. Liverpool also has a big wheel that we could only see from a distance, since we were in a hurry. The fastest place to have tea that we could think of was Mc Donald’s. We can say that we tasted every kind of food while we were in England.
The last day was meant to be relaxing, peaceful and lovely and so the landscapes we gazed at were just what we were after. Their Maths teacher showed us round the Peak District, a natural protected area famous for its variety of animals and plants. We had an entertaining walk through the forest and he took us to the edge of the forest where we were shown an old tower that we all liked. Afterwards, we went to a little village called Castleton. At first we wanted to visit the castle but it was so expensive that we thought twice and changed our minds. We preferred feeding the ducks which were wandering around us. Miguel had a good time catching some ducks and throwing them up in the air. Time went by very quickly and we had to go meet our English friends at school. It was time to say goodbye to the families and thank them for all they had done for us. Before the final goodbye we went bowling for a while and then had dinner in an Indian restaurant. To my mind, eating at the Indian was a new experience that did not disappoint me at all. I had never tried Indian food and I must confess it is great. For those who have never tasted it, my advice is that you should definitely give it a try. It is spicy but you can ask for mild food anyhow.
Later on, we were told that we were leaving for the accommodation. It was then when some of the students started to cry. It always happens. The longer time you stay abroad the more difficult it is to come back home.
We hope to see them again very soon. Who knows?
Video by Ángela García Espejo