During our last, sunny day in Spain, we took a scenic walk and hiked from our cabins to the farm. After arriving at the farm, the girls were divided into groups that rotated to the different workshops: picking vegetables, cooking, milking goats, making cheese from scratch, crafting rustic bread and baking cookies. Our lunch consisted of these organic foods from the farm. Total distance from the garden to the table? 80 feet.
While picking vegetables, Hewitt girls learned about sustainable farming practices and the importance consuming local produce.
The goats were very friendly, so most girls wanted to give it a try! After milking, time to make goat cheese!
After cooking and baking, it was time to enjoy what the girls had made. Lunch consisted of the farm's own charcuteries, goat cheese, vegetable soup, grilled tenderloin and more vegetables, all accompanied by the newly baked bread the girls had made, sprinkled with local e.v. olive oil. Delicious!! The fact that there was a fireplace in the dining room made it all even more enjoyable.
After some well-deserved rest, we went back to our buses for our last activity of the trip, a guided tour of Gruta de las Maravillas (Cave of Marvels), a spectacular natural landmark in the town of Aracena. There we explored the chambers of stalagmites and stalactites, limestone ceilings and colorful interior lakes. After the visit, we went for a walk in town, stopping at a bakery where the girls bought some homemade chocolate and other local specialties.
We are currently back in the eco-lodge. The girls are lounging in the lobby of the hotel checking their emails and chatting with their friends before heading to the restaurant for our last dinner in Spain. Tomorrow morning, we leave for Sevilla's airport for our flight to New York. We will be sad to leave, but we hope to have the chance to return and explore Spain again in the future.
Day 4 - Animal Rescue Center and Farm in the Mountains
Today we left Sevilla and headed to the mountains of Aracena State Park. On the way to the mountains, we made a stop and spent part of the day at an animal rescue center near Doñana National Park, an important migrating birds hub. At this center, Hewitt girls learned about environmental protection and about migrating birds in particular. The center needed to count the population of a specific kind of bird that at the lake, and the girls used binoculars to help them out!
We had lunch at the center's restaurant overlooking the lake and then boarded our buses to Parque Natural Sierra de Aracena (Aracena State Park). First, we checked in at the eco lodge Posada de Cortegana. We then went to the nearby Finca Montefrío, a sustainable organic farm, where we spent the evening learning about how Spanish ham is made. We saw the free roaming Iberian pigs in their natural habitats -- these are the breed of pigs used to make Jamón Ibérico. These pigs are raised in the open fields and eat a diet based on organic acorns and other plants.
This was our first day of activities at the farm. We went back to the eco lodge for a much-deserved rest and dinner.
Day 3 - Visit to local school and Spanish cuisine cooking workshop!
Today the girls visited San Francisco de Paula School, in downtown Sevilla. They met their Spanish pen pals and followed them during some of their classes. They spent recess with their Spanish friends, and went on a tour of the school’s facilities and learned what a typical day is like in a Spanish school. Some of them had some churros too!
Hewitt girls said goodbye to their Spanish friends, and headed over to Mercado de Triana. After a guided tour of the local market, they started their Spanish cuisine cooking workshop. They cooked a four-courses meal: a vegetable cold soup called gazpacho, espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas) and finally, paella. The girls did a great job, given the fact that despite the size of the paella, there were no leftovers! During the workshop, they also had a tasting of different kinds of extra virgin olive oil.
After enjoying a delicious dessert, our guide took the group for a short walk in Triana, a beautiful neighborhood with traditional Spanish patios.
After Triana, it was time for a scenic river cruise, where they could see the city landmarks from a different perspective.
Before dinner, Hewitt visited a local flamenco dresses store. In this store they sell and make professional dresses, not the touristy kind! The owner of the store explained to the girls what a makes up a traditional flamenco dress.
We ended the day having dinner at one of the best tapas bars in Sevilla, Bodeguita Casablanca, where they sampled a variety of local specialties.
Day 2 - Monumental Sevilla
Today we set out on our first full day in Sevilla. After enjoying breakfast at a local restaurant near the hotel, we started our sightseeing walking tour with our private guide. We started at the headquarters of the University of Sevilla, a majestic 18th building, originally designed as a tobacco factory, the 1st one in the Old World. We then proceeded to see the Palacio de San Telmo, an emblematic baroque building from the 17th century.
Our guide walked the group to visit the Reales Alcázares, Europe's oldest active royal palace and Spain's best example of Mudejar architecture. This was one of the two UNESCO World Heritage sites we visited.
Right before lunch, we went for a walk in the winding streets of Barrio Santa Cruz, Sevilla's medieval jewish quarter. There we learned about legends and stories from the Late Middle Ages.
Lunch today consisted of a tapas trail. The group went from one tapas bar to another, tasting the specialties from each venue. The girls mentioned that they loved the lively energy and the friendliness of the people. Some of the most popular tapas were salmorejo and papas bravas.
After the tapas trail, we went to visit La Catedral and its tower La Giralda. There we saw, among other things, the tomb of Christopher Columbus and his son's Diego. We climbed the ramps of the Giralda tower to enjoy panoramic views of the city.
The girls had some free time to go shopping or have a coffee, and then we headed to the Flamenco museum, where they attended a live performance. Some of them even got front row seats!
Day 1 - Hewitt Arrives in Sevilla
We arrived at Sevilla's airport, boarded our private bus and headed to the hotel to settle in before heading out for our first exploration of the city. Our first visit was Parque de Maria Luisa, Sevilla's most beautiful park, home to architectural jewels like Plaza de España.
After strolling in the park, the group walked to the nearby stadium to attend a Spanish league soccer game. At the stadium, the girls experienced the magical atmosphere of one of Spain's most popular teams. Hewitt girls cheered for Betis, as loud as any other fan!
After the game, we had dinner at El Rinconcillo. Established in 1670, it is one of Spain's oldest restaurants. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at Metropol Parasol, also known as Las Setas de Sevilla (Sevilla's mushrooms), a magnificent wooden structure with incredible views of the city. After some gelato, we returned to the hotel for some much needed rest in preparation for tomorrow, our first full day in Sevilla.