On April 9th , 17 modern language students and teachers of the Government High School left for Cuba on what was to be a exciting holiday for all and a modest language experience for those who were studying Spanish..
Arriving in Cuba at about 7:00PM that Monday, we settled into the Panamericano Hotel. The next day students and teachers went downtown to the Plaza de Artesanía and later that evening, linked up with students from St.John’s College who happened to be visiting at the same time and staying at the same hotel.
On Wednesday we enjoyed a city tour on which we visited the Plaza de la Revolución where the leader Fidel Castro is still capable of five-hour speeches to thousands gathered there. Another impressive sight was the Capitolio housing the second largest indoor statue in the world..
Thursday was a full day for us. The two groups took to the road in a large tourbus and headed for the Viñales Valley, where we were treated to such sights as the the ancient cliffside painting (with mule rides thrown in), and a combined hike / boat trip through the famous Indian Caves. Highlights here included the small rock formations that seemed to take on human form e.g. “el Indio con Pito”. Later, students were enthralled by the “Cañonazo a las Nueve” – the firing of the 9 o’clock cannon - where they could revisit a history of Caribbean-style forts common to both Cuba and the Bahamas. More Pics
Throughout the trip, students could be overheard trying out their Spanish, albeit tentatively, and, judging from questions posed to our main tourguide, they seemed to have gained a significant and surprisingly mature appreciation of the reality of social and political life in Cuba. We also got a dose of Cuba’s rich musical culture in the various tourbadour groups which would entertain us when we ate out.
After a full day of relaxation, students returned home on Saturday April 14, filled with an experience they would not soon forget, but which they were eager to top in the next year school year.