After 24 hours of connecting flights from Saint John through Montreal and Frankfurt the tour group finally arrived in the Spanish capital of Madrid. We already experienced a few small miracles. Student Zach Smith had his video camera returned to him in Montreal after leaving it on the plane from Saint John, in part because our next flight was delayed due to needed repairs. Travel leaders Walter and Carol Thiessen also managed to join the rest of the group on the final flight from Frankfurt against significant odds because of our flight delays. And the group is very thankful for the small window of sunshine in Madrid that allowed us to set up the tents before three steady days ranging between sprinkling and full on down-pouring rain.
Students have been learning much about Spanish political history, in particular about the Civil wars. They have seen contemporary and ancient pieces of architecture ranging from General Franco´s Valle de los Caidos to the Roman aqueducts of Segovia. Art pieces by Velasquez, Goya, and Picasso have also been student favourites as they have been exploring Madrid galleries such as the Prado and the Reina Sophia.
We have already had our first injury. Student Hannah Beck lost a significant portion of the tip of her left big toe while playing frisbee in a Carrefour parking lot during our first grocery trip. She has an amazingly positive attitude and is still hobbling alongside the rest of the group, but we are concerned that the wound may become infected from its constant exposure to mud and polluted rain water on the streets of Madrid. I´m sure she would appreciate prayers for a quick recovery.