In much cooler weather, we hiked for 16km over the course of the day. The landscape was picturesque with rolling hills covered with yellow speckled flowers, gently undulating underneath us.
After a good hike, we arrived at the rock pools to swim. The water was cold, but very refreshing in the heat! We paddled around and generally relaxed in the beautiful, natural pools. We then hiked to a picnic spot in an area of tall pines that gave us a lot of shade.
We then slowly meandered back to our hotel for the night, the Parador, which was a royal hunting lodge. The hotel is beautifully decorated and it is quite a treat to be out of dorms into our own double bedrooms. We all dressed in our smart clothes for our final evening dinner! Tomorrow, we leave very early for our flight to Heathrow, arriving at lunchtime.
Today, the groups switched over to complete activities they had yet to experience, be it horse riding, cooking or mountain biking. We also partook in some community service.
Highlights included the mountain biking instructor running his bike around the route as one student’s bike got a puncture. The best omelette was cooked in the kitchen (parents: all students can now chop onions, peel potatoes and whisk eggs!). We also cooled the horses down in the river, which caused general chaos to our single file trotting.
The students got a lot out of the community service projects in particular. Two groups had to chop down bushes and put twigs into a clearing to prevent wildfires. The other two groups went litter picking in a local village, and successfully cleared five bin bags of rubbish! Tomorrow, we leave the Gredos Centre for a long walk via rock pools to our hotel for the final night.
We are now fully in the swing of things at the Gredos Centre. We woke up to another glorious day in the mountains and ate another delicious breakfast. We split into four groups for various activities throughout the day: horse riding, archery, mountain biking, cookery, and t-shirt painting.
The morning saw the mighty ‘patatas bravas’ team excel in archery, another group speed around the hilly mountain bike route (a good 2-hour ride!), and one group trot along on horseback. We also saw a lot of artistic talent during the t-shirt painting sessions, and fine cookery skills to produce light and fluffy Spanish omelettes in the kitchen.
After a long lunch, we swapped activities and enjoyed the cooler afternoon heat. This was rudely (and amusingly) interrupted by an enormous rain shower that left us all absolutely sodden. After a lot of laughter and general amusement that the rain can bring, we all made it back to the centre for a warm shower and another great dinner.
In typical Spanish style, we woke up at a leisurely pace and ate breakfast at 9am. We then split into two groups for either the rope park or orienteering activity. Everyone grew in confidence during the rope park activity, comfortably harnessing themselves in and navigating their way around the various ropes, steps and zip wires.
The centre put on a huge picnic lunch for us, set in the middle of the forest, which was absolutely delicious with huge platters of meat, cheese, veggies and bread. A late afternoon pause (we’ve shifted the activities back to avoid the sun) saw an impromptu kick of the rugby ball and an equally impromptu ‘let’s get the stuck ball back out of the tree’ game. Safe to say that the ball was never recovered, and we then swapped activities for the late afternoon.
Most groups successfully orienteered themselves along the route, and those that didn’t now understand how to use a compass. Another long evening in our beautiful setting to complete the day!
Despite the 38 degrees heat, the group had a great time exploring the city, eating lunch and an ice cream or two! It was then time to head to the Gredos Centre. We travelled through stunning, expansive countryside surrounded by impressive mountain ranges, before arriving at our home for the next four nights.
The centre is beautiful and completely isolated so we were able to roam free, playing football, volleyball and games. We also celebrated Lexie’s birthday over cake at dinner!