Review: Spanish Exchange

Category: Trips

Galicia welcomed Marlborough’s two linguistic pilgrims with its usual hospitality and, with two days of unseasonal weather, revealed a side to itself that earlier Marlburians had seldom glimpsed in these first months of the year: warmth and sunshine.

For Max Olivier (SU U6) and Tom Sykes (C1 U6) the visit began in the very heart of the city of Santiago de Compostela, wandering across the rooftops of the extraordinary cathedral – the façade remains cloaked in scaffolding, but newly-cleaned towers gave a glimpse of how it once looked, and will do again – before squeezing beneath the altar to see the silver sarcophagus of St James. 

Sacred turned to profane over the following days with trips to test brain and sinew: on one day a local climbing wall, where Marlburians and students from the Colegio Manuel Peleteiro – our partner school – raced each other to the top in friendly competition; on another, to the rocky coastline near A Coruña and the very top of the 57-metre-tall Torre de Hercules, the oldest working lighthouse in existence. As friendships developed and stuttering conversation became increasingly fluent, Max, Tom and two or three different partners each day explored the science museum, toured a local vineyard to taste its Albariño wine, and blended in with other students by attending lessons at the Colegio. All the exchange pupils were reunited for the final visit to Ourense, where hot springs have been enjoyed since Roman times, although seldom in the slightly surreal surroundings of a Japanese onsen.

We welcome the ten Galician pupils to Marlborough in early March, but the foundations to a congenial and productive relationship have been laid by a wonderful visit to Spain and the linguistic efforts and charm of our two Marlburians.

Alex de Trafford

Head of Spanish

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