We have had a great weekend here in the north of Spain!

Friday, we took a city bus up to Palacio Ayete (now known as Casa de la Paz). This stunning white mansion with its lush, extensive gardens was once the summer home to Spain’s former dictator, Franco. Basque people have a great reputation for taking something with a negative connotation and giving it new, positive life to carry it into the future. This is definitely true here! The property is now called Casa de la Paz, and is dedicated to promoting peace and human rights.
Casa de la Paz (4)
After walking around a bit, we got to some really important business: celebrating Maddie’s birthday! We sang happy birthday in Spanish, then shared yummy txutxes, or local candies.We had a box for Maddie and another for Shree, whose birthday we celebrated a few days ago in Madrid. We broke into 2 groups, found shady places in the park, and shared how our first week in Spain was going. The slow pace was just what we needed, as it has been quite a full week! After group discussion, we had some free time to explore the park before returning to the center of town.
Saturday morning, we boarded the bus and drove about an hour to the city of Bilbao. While we never left the Pais Vasco region, we did travel to a new province: Viscaya! The prestigious Guggenheim museum emerged almost just as we entered the city, and it was breathtaking! Bilbao is a bigger city that lies on the river Nervion, and is flanked on all sides by tall, evergreen-covered mountains. Our first stop was to the Guggenheim, where students took a self-paced audio guided tour and, throughout, were quick to identify which works they loved most, hated, and felt a connection to. They also decided to “be the art,” and take either a selfie with a work of art they identified with, or create their own version of it. The results were quite fun!
Month students pose with -Puppy- (2)
We then took the tram through the city to reach the historic casco viejo district. Two of our students, Sam and George, did a FANTASTIC job explaining the history and layout of the neighborhood ALL IN SPANISH! We then had free time for lunch and exploration.
Learning about Bilbao (1)
Sunday was a free day, and students were excited to have some unstructured time to discover their new hometown!