Eastern Spain meets Western Maine!

October 24, 2012

OVERHEARD IN AN ACTIVITY VAN: (Student from Spain speaking)- “How can I survive at Gould Academy?  I need at least 11 hours of sleep at night!”

Last March a group of 8 Gould students traveled to eastern Spain, to visit the Juan de Lanuza school (translation: “John de Lanuza school”) in the city of Zaragoza (winner of the “City with the most Z’s in it’s name” award, 2011).  It was a great, whirlwind trip during which we visited cathedrals, castles, magnificent cities, and Moorish palaces.  So this week Gould is hosting the return-trip side of this student exchange, and eight students and one teacher are here in sunny (cloudy, warm, chilly, rainy, windy- this IS Maine in October after all) Bethel.  The “Españoles” are being hosted by some of the students who traveled last March, and some who hope to go to Spain next March.  It’s a new experiment at Gould, this exchange, and I for one think it has, so far, been a super success.

So after a trip filled with historical buildings, magical palaces, and ancient cities, what do we do in western Maine to stimulate, entertain, and fascinate teenagers from western Europe?  It’s simple.  All we have to do is to come up with a good list of the treasures of our little corner of the world.  It really wasn’t that hard.

We took them to Marden’s.

For those of you reading this Glog that have not visited Marden’s, I assure you- it’s worth it.  Maybe later this year I’ll write a Glog about this gem of an experience.  For now, just imaging a shopping experience as far from the brilliant boutiques of Barcelona (all alliteration aside) as you can get.  High fashion?  How about major markdowns.

Anyways, we didn’t ONLY go to Marden’s.  No no, mountainous New England has many hidden charms.  You just need to unearth them.  On our list of other Bethel-like activities are:

  • Pumpkinland (no joking; we are going there on Friday.  I hear the corn maze is really cool!)
  • The Conway Scenic Railroad (AND Zeb’s General Store.  How fun is THAT???)
  • Formal dinner at Gould Academy (a Bethel institution since 1996)
  • The Portland Head lighthouse (I hope it’s sunny on Thursday) and L.L. Bean.

And of course my favorite, Step Falls.  Or should I say, “Hermes-falls-into-Step Falls.”  Yes, we took a short hike into a beautiful Maine waterfall, and within 2 minutes one of our Spanish boys was wearing remnants of the waterfall up to his knees.

Ahh, nature.

Actually, come to think of it, nature is really what we have bets to offer here in Bethel.  Our mountains, lakes, rivers and waterfalls in truth are our cathedrals, castles, and palaces.  We should make sure to remember this, even after our city-Spanish people depart next week.  Take some time, readers, and visit some of our wonders.  Just bring a second pair of shoes if you fall into one of those wonders.

Eight Spaniards, far from their natural habitat.


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