We met our immersion language classmates on Friday night and walked to the school for a short overview of our next six weeks. Then we headed out to a group dinner. The group seems congenial. I don't hate anyone yet. There were fourteen at dinner with the logistics person - referred to as GL (group leader). Saturday we had a full day with an overview of the city and tour the Jewish Quarter and the Cathedral with all meals together as it's the first weekend.
So Saturday morning we gathered for a walk to breakfast and the GL led us around the block the long way to a coffee shop where we had an excellent croissant or bagel and coffee. Several people pointed out that we could have just walked around the corner from our hotel. (It was literally the closest place for breakfast! And some folks had eaten there a few times) then we walked to school (it's a 15 minute walk) and to the GL's surprise the school was closed So I am beginning to see a pattern here.
She tells us the school won't open for an hour so she will give us an orientation walk to the river. So we walk by the bullring to the river and along the river and then by the Cathedral where she tells us we will come back this afternoon for a tour with someone who knows about it. We head back to the school and she puts up a power point about things for us to do on weekends when we aren't in school. But she confuses much of the group by not being clear that these are just ideas for us. While she can help arrange the activities, these are for time on our own at our own money. Finally we get to the end of a very disorganized presentation and she tells us she will show us the lunch restaurant and then we have free time until 2pm when we have to come back for lunch. We decided to just ditch the useless trip to the restaurant and go home for a bit and meet up for lunch.
So by now you may have figured out I am not a fan of group travel. Luckily once we get past this weekend this trip will mostly be on our own. But this morning we waited 15 minutes for a guy who didn't show up before the GL finally consented to just leave and find him later (he overslept, then got lost, and it was three hours later by the time we saw him) I think I mentioned I am not a fan of group travel.
So anyway this afternoon we have a cathedral tour by someone who "knows about the cathedral" and then free time until dinner. So I am giving thought to serious day drinking.
Shown in photos - the tile of the school lobby. (Stunning building I'll post more of when we are on our own and don't need to be following the GL) and the bull ring with a bullfighter statue in front, the river, and the watchtower by the river from middle ages, then carriages near the cathedral.
A walk (after lunch where we were allowed to sit down and drink) still on Saturday, to the Cathedral and Giralda. The Cathedral was huge and elaborately decorated - it still seemed less intimidating than others we've seen. Phil went on to the Jewish Quarter while I ducked out after 5pm. We are walking to dinner and at the point I left we were just under six miles today - so with the evening meal walk I think we will make it firmly past six. Some folks just arrived yesterday and this kind of "touring" was challenging, so we lost about a quarter of the group by the time I left. Tongiht we have dinner scheduled together and then Sunday lunch is our last group meal. We switch to independent travel for the next six weeks (except for two out of town trips). Thank God - as we always said in my family "she's done being friendly." (At the time we were referring to my grandmother but some DNA managed to make it at least three generations. I got the travel gene from my Grandfather so you take the good and bad as they come. )
Dinner was a return to the area of the Cathedral where we got a terrific evening view of La Giralda - ran across a super colorful fan shop (likely made in China per the GL) and had dinner at a lovely place in the heart of the old city. Phil liked the paella the best and I liked the bacalao (which was fresh not the preserved version we usually see in the US). So by dinner we were only a group of four and the GL.
An update on my "views" of the group members. As could be predicted I found the person who I will avoid from this point - and I came to this conclusion after she told the GL that she was not going to dinner and asked where the grocery was as she wanted to buy some lettuce. The GL and others gave her directions to Aldi. She said she didn't want to go there because their lettuce wasn't good at Aldi. #enoughsaid Others skipped because they had enough walking today. Others had made other plans (or said they did). We may have a real life example of entropy going on here, as by dinner on Saturday (a mere 24 hours after first convening) we had shrunk from 16 to 4 LOL
Phil did the entire day's walking and had over 21,500 steps (9.5 miles) and a number of folks just couldn't even think about walking anymore. Since I had taken a cab home from the Cathedral, I only had 16,750 (@ 7.4 miles) and agreed to walk home from dinner. Anyway I was fine with dinner being a smaller group.
So Sunday we have begged off the one activity - lunch - and finished with the group part of the pre class program. We will see everyone on Monday at school and classes everyday thereafter. Meanwhile we are looking forward to the arrival of daughter, Angela and her hubby Lee. They are arriving Wednesday and will stay until Monday.
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