Group photo overlooking the city of Toledo, Spain.

By Asiah Wimot ’19

On the morning of April 11th, 2017, three freshmen, four sophomores, nine juniors, eight seniors, the Von Vogts, the Basses, and Mr. and Mrs. Bass’s daughter Tally departed from Lincoln Academy for their eleven day trip to Spain. The Lincoln Academy International Club (run by the Von Vogts, Mrs. Bass, and Madame Welch) is a program that offers the unique opportunity for any students with an interest in traveling the world to do so. The International Club, led by the Von Vogts, has been going on annual rotating trips to Spain and France for the past thirty years.

The bus departed from Lincoln Academy at 9:55 am and brought us to Concord Trailways, which is the bus company that we traveled with to Logan Airport in Boston.  From Boston, we had a flight to Miami, followed by a layover and finally a flight to the airport in Madrid. After gathering our luggage and leaving the airport, we took a three hour bus ride to Salamanca.

La Plaza Mayor in Salamanca Spain.

Upon arriving in Salamanca, each student was paired off with their host families who then walked them home. All of the host families lived within walking distance of Enforex, the language school we would be attending. The homestays lasted for ten nights and included two provided meals, breakfast and dinner.  

During the first few days of the trip the primary focus was Salamanca. The entire group explored the city together; exploring historical buildings, going out for chocolate and churros, going to parks, and out to lunch as a group. Later that day students became more comfortable with splitting off into groups for “paseo.”

In Spain it is traditional for everyone to go out for a walk in the afternoon, starting around 6:30 pm. This time is known as paseo. Some also go shopping or to the park, but the main reason is to get out and go into town. Almost every day of the trip we were given the opportunity to participate in this cultural tradition for a few hours. We became familiar with the city by walking throughout the Plaza Mayor and to other shops, parks, etc. throughout the town in the streets of Salamanca.

Spanish travelers in Avila.

Once we started having lunches on our own and had a few more meals with our host families, we learned more about typical Spanish food. Breakfast for most of our students included packaged muffins and coffee or tea, which seems like a small breakfast for some, but in Spain, as we learned, people eat smaller meals for breakfast and dinner because they usually eat a rather large lunch. In fact, on the first full day of the trip we went out for a group lunch at a three course restaurant, which is not out of character for a midday meal in Spain. Some of the more common Spanish foods are tortilla, paella, salads (as a side), and most places are known for their specialty dish. For example, Segovia is best known for its suckling pig, which a lot of people from our group tried while we were there.

The first two excursions were to Madrid and Segovia. In each city we looked at cathedrals and churches, learning about different the different styles of the buildings due to the different time periods in which they were built, and other landmarks including statues, plazas, bridges, walls, and more, which was “very interesting and fun to learn about,” said sophomore Becca Potter. As we explored each town, our tour guides and Mr. Von Vogt would tell us facts about the places that we were in and the things that we were seeing to give us more insight into the culture.

After the excursions to Madrid and Segovia, we took a three day break to stay in Salamanca beforing also visiting Toledo and Avíla. We attended three hours of class each morning, then have lunch on our own then a couple more hours as a group, and finally we would have some free time until returning to our host families by 9:30 pm. In the classes we learned/reviewed vocab and conjugations and spent a short time learning about Spanish history and culture.  

A street scene in Toledo, Spain.

Though that classes did cover some things about Spanish culture, most of the cultural things that we learned about were through experience. Not only was it a huge experience to go off on our own into stores and restaurants and have to order things from and talk to people who spoke only Spanish, which immersed us very much into the culture, we happened to be visiting Spain during holy week, which is the week leading up to Easter. We watched two processions on the night before Easter, one in the morning, one at night, and we ran into a few in the streets of Segovia and Salamanca throughout the week.

In the early hours of the morning on April 22nd, the group that the chaperones had deemed “one of the best groups [they’ve] taken on this trip” met at the Enforex Language School at 6:45 am to catch a bus to the airport in Madrid, this time followed by only one flight, from Madrid to Boston. From there we took a Concord Trailways bus to Portland, and one final bus ride from Portland to Lincoln Academy where the luggage was unloaded from the back of the bus and everyone was picked up and brought home by their parents.

Asiah Wilmot is a Lincoln Academy sophomore in the Yearbook and Communications class. She traveled to Spain with the LA International Club in April 2017.