2022 Pacific Ridge Spain Cultural Journey
|Travel Dates:||May 29, 2022 - June 10, 2022|
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What to Expect
Please read through all of the information below. More details will be added as your departure draws closer.
We do everything possible to run safe, engaging, and immersive programs for our travelers, but given the unpredictable nature of international travel we must remain flexible in our planning. Changes to a schedule are uncommon but if inclement weather pushes us off course or an unexpected opportunity arises which travelers are excited about, we reserve the right to adjust programming in the best interest of the group.
|May 29||USA - Madrid||Today the group will travel from the USA to Madrid, Spain, arriving the following day.||Airplane|
|May 30||Madrid||We'll arrive in Madrid and settle into the hotel after the long day of travel. Later, we'll hold an orientation meeting to discuss the upcoming trip in details before heading out to explore our neighborhood and have dinner near Plaza Santa Ana.||TOC Hostel Madrid|
|May 31||Madrid||Today we'll visit the Prado museum, to admire the collections in one of the most impressive art museums in the world. In the afternoon we'll stroll through the Retiro Park, once the king's personal refuge, and enjoy churros con chocolate along the old winding streets.||TOC Hostel Madrid|
|June 1||Madrid||For our final day in Madrid, we'll spend the day exploring Spain's metropolitan capital by foot. Depending on what students are interested in, we may visit the Royal Palace, the Temple of Debod and the West Park or visit the famous Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.||TOC Hostel Madrid|
|June 2||Madrid - Toledo||This morning we'll embark on a scavenger hunt around town and practice our language skills in Mercado San Miguel. After lunch, we will leave Madrid for the famous "City of Three Cultures," Toledo. We will we will discover why Toledo is known as "The City of Three Cultures" by visiting the Jewish quarter and the district of the convents with a guided tour of the area. ||Hotel Abacería|
|June 3||Toledo - Granada||This morning we will be exploring the city a little bit more and have a chance to get some souvenirs. We'll get a chance to enjoy some coffee in the city and see the city's two most important monuments: the Cathedral and the Alcázar fortress. After lunch, we'll hit the road for Granada, taking in the beautiful countryside as we wind through the Castilla-La Mancha and Andalusia regions of Southern Spain. We'll get settled into our hotel tonight upon arrival and rest up ahead of our upcoming adventures.||Hostal Atenas|
|June 4||Granada||We'll have a guided tour of Alhambra during the day, one of the most photogenic places on the planet. Afterwards, we'll have some free time to wander through the old quarter, possibly visit a traditional Moroccan tea house, and attend a flamenco performance in a cave above town this evening.||Hostal Atenas|
|June 5||Granada - Ronda||Travel to Ronda, in the heart of Andalucia, and visit the precipitous ravine before enjoying a bike tour around the outskirts of this ancient city to Setenil de las Bodegas, a spectacular pueblo blanco partially built into a cliff-face. In the evening we'll have dinner with some local Spanish students where we can take turns speaking in Spanish and English. ¿Que guay, no?||Hostel San Cayetano|
|June 6||Ronda- Sevilla||Morning departure to Sevilla, stopping on the way at an olive farm where some of the finest organic olive oil in the world is produced. We'll arrive in the afternoon to Sevilla and have a dinner of delicious tapas.||TOC Hostel Sevilla|
|June 7||Sevilla||This morning we'll explore the city, including the impressive cathedral where Christopher Columbus is buried. After a lunch of tapas we'll go up to the "Setas de Sevilla" to take in the impressive views. In the evening we'll prepare our own authentic Spanish dinner in a cooking class!||TOC Hostel Sevilla|
|June 8||Sevilla - Cordoba||After breakfast we'll make our way by train to Cordoba, one of the most prominent Islamic centers during the Moorish empire's reign in Spain. We will check in to our hotel and grab lunch, before setting out to explore and get our first taste of this fantastic city. We'll take a walking tour of the various Jewish, Muslim and Christian neighborhoods that call this city home. We will take some time later this afternoon for some group activities and reflections before tapas this evening!||Albergue Inturjoven Córdoba|
|June 9||Cordoba- Madrid||This morning we will visit the exceptional moorish mosque, La Mezquita, possibly the most spectacular in Europe. We'll then catch a train from Cordoba back towards Madrid, passing beautiful countryside scenery, in order to get ready for our final full day in Spain. Dinner in the capital this evening.||TOC Hostel Madrid|
|June 10||Madrid - USA||Today we will head to the airport to catch our international flight home. ¡Hasta luego!||Your own bed, eventually!|
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In order to provide a safe and memorable experience, we follow strict guidelines when choosing program accommodations. Walking Tree partners with locally-operated, three-star equivalent hotels and guest houses which are centrally located, clean and safe.
TOC Hostel Madrid
TOC is a spacious and hip hotel located in the heart of Madrid, just minutes away from the metro and major tourist attractions. This is a modern and hi-tech hotel with a friendly staff and a great breakfast! Free Wi-Fi access throughout the building keeps everyone feeling connected. Travelers will have rooms and bathrooms which are exclusive to our group.
Albergue Inturjoven Córdoba
Cordoba Inturjoven Youth Hostel is located in the heart of the historic centre of Cordoba. Only two minutes from the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba and within the old Jewish quarter, this youth hostel is ideal for exploring the prime monuments of the city. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
This hostel is located in the heart of Granada in one of the main streets in the city, Gran Via de Colon, a five minute walk to the Cathedral. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
Hostal San Cayetano
Hostal San Cayetano is located downtown in Sevilla Street in Ronda (Málaga), just 250m from the city’s historic bullring. The hostal is perfect for travelers who want to know Rond’s streets and its famous and historical monuments. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
TOC Hostel Sevilla
TOC Hostel Seville is situated in an exclusive modern building at the heart of the city and is surrounded by the main places of tourist interest. This is a modern and hi-tech hotel, includes security technology with fingerprint room access control system, 24/7 Reception, , safes for your personal belongings and other features, such as free Wi-Fi, bar & restaurant, kitchen, main living room, and a playroom. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
The Hotel Abacería, is located in an orchard in the residential area, “Los Cigarrales”, in Toledo, and is surrounded by nature and views of the historic quarter. Its location allows guests to get to the monumental zone in the center of Toledo, World Heritage Site, in just 20 minutes on foot. This charming and modern Hotel Abacería offers a variety of services, such as equipped rooms, a restaurant, outdoor pool in the summer, parking, garage, complimentary Wi-Fi, and a function room for meetings. Students will be grouped in their rooms according to gender and availability.
|Type||Carrier Name||Carrier Code||Flight Number||Departure Airport & City||Departure Date and Time||Arrival Airport & City||Arrival Date and Time|
May 29, 2022 at 5:55pm
May 30, 2022 at 1:50pm
June 10, 2022 at 12:25pm
June 11, 2022 at 3:45pm
Once your flight has been secured the itinerary will appear here. Walking Tree will secure a seat on the group flight for each participant unless otherwise instructed.
Travelers are responsible for checked baggage fees. Please visit the airline’s baggage webpage to learn if you should expect to pay anything.
We will provide a group manifest – complete with reservation codes and ticket numbers – to the Group Organizer/s before departure, but travelers will need to check in at the airport in order to receive their boarding pass and have documents verified. We recommend arriving no later than three hours prior to the scheduled departure, but contact your Group Organizer for specific details on exactly where and when to meet on the day of departure.
FLIGHT INTERRUPTION DELAY OR CANCELLATION
Air travel is unpredictable, especially in a pandemic. Regardless of proper planning, there may still be instances when a flight is delayed or cancelled due to staffing shortages, weather, mechanical problems, etc. Please note that in such an event, Walking Tree Travel (WTT) is not financially responsible for unanticipated costs incurred by travelers en route. Our programs officially begin and end in the destination country, and because our staff doesn’t fly with the group, Group Organizers (the traveling faculty member/s) become the front-line advocate for the group in the event of a delay. In most cases of cancellations or delays, the airline will be the one who re-books travel or possibly arranges a hotel and food the night. Our primary role will be to keep families updated and provide support to the Group Organizer to reach a quick and effective resolution.
Host Community and Project Details
What follows is a sample packing list but you know yourself better than we do so please adjust accordingly. We recommend you bring a larger piece of luggage like a roller, duffel bag, or backpack, as well as a smaller backpack that you can bring on daily outings, weekend excursions and shorter activities.
“Less is more” is a packing tip we encourage for all our travelers. The list below should cover everything you would need, but know yourself and what you are comfortable traveling with. We suggest bringing only as much as you would be able to carry on your own.
Finally, we recommend consulting a weather forecast for your destination.
Most importantly, be sure to remember your PASSPORT!
CLOTHES (quantities depend on your trip length) :
- Socks (a mixture of good active socks and casual socks)
- T-shirts (some quick dry)
- Long sleeve shirts
- Sweaters or sweatshirts
- Warmer jacket
- Warm hat
- Scarf and Warm gloves (optional)
- Rain jacket
- Travel/athletic shorts that are breathable and light
- Comfortable, everyday pants
- Nice shirt/top to be worn to more formal dinners (girls might want a skirt or something a little nicer for such occasions)
- Durable athletic/walking shoes
- Sandals (optional)
TOILETRIES: BRING THE BASIC TOILETRIES YOU NEED PLUS:
- Sunscreen (you will use a lot)
- Mosquito repellent
- Band Aids and Neosporin
- Hand Sanitizer
- Medication in properly marked original container
- Journal and pen
- Camera (digital, disposable, waterproof)
- Power Converter
- Alarm Clock and watch
- Debit card/US Dollars (we recommend about $50-$150, depending on amount of desired souvenirs, extra items etc.)
- Durable water bottle
- 1 quick-dry towel
- Deck of cards or other portable games
- STUDENT ID
- Spanish/English Dictionary
At a minimum, one experienced Program Leader will travel on every trip. In addition to this full time leadership presence, Walking Tree has additional support staff in all destinations and 24/7 support from our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. Below you’ll find a list of the team members involved in the planning, organizing, and leadership of your program.
Co-Founder of Walking Tree Travel and Business Lead - Denver, CO
Colby College – B.A. International Relations and Government
While at Colby, Gabriel spent a semester in Spain at the University of Salamanca studying contemporary Spanish politics and Spanish language. He also lettered for four-years on Colby’s lacrosse team and earned All-American honors. After graduating, Gabriel hit the road. He fished commercially in Alaska, taught in Chile and China, led programs for students in Spain and Costa Rica, and traveled to over 50 countries and all 50 states in the USA. Regardless of where Gabriel is located, he is constantly haunted by his naive faith and unconditional love for Denver sports teams.
Kansas Univerity – B.A. in International Studies
Her hobbies include hiking, binge watching Netflix, solo traveling, and learning languages. She was born in the US to Mexican parents, but she spent her childhood in Canada and Brazil and speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese. This experience and later trips to follow inspired her to study Global and International Studies and to keep traveling. After finishing her degree at KU, she went to Nuremberg, Germany for a year, where she fell in love with the European lifestyle. Patricia moved to Spain years later to teach English and decided to pursue a career in international education.
Hillary Mora Vargas
Escuela Liceo la Virgen; Escuela Chilamate
Hillary was born in Sarapiqui, a small town with a rich culture in the heart of Costa Rica. Growing up in Costa Rica gave her the opportunity to be in touch with nature and in close contact with animals in their habitat. Since an early age she was passionate about exploring the world and everything in it, but it wasn’t until she finished high school that she realized she loved to teach and communicate to others about the environment and the world we live in. Since then, Hillary has worked as a guide in nature reserves in the region she grew up and has also directed collaborative environmental education projects with students, including some of her own design. Hillary currently resides in Galicia, Spain, where she lives with her partner, and continues to pursue her passion of exploring the world and helping others to do so as well. She currently works in local tourism and facilitates programs for Walking Tree Travel as the Spain Country Director.
UNC Wilmington – B.A. in Spanish
Below is a list of the travelers enrolled on the program.
- 1 Aava Sikchi
- 2 Abel Martinez
- 3 Alexander McCline
- 4 asdad adsas
- 5 Aydin Abudawas
- 6 Celina Steinberg
- 7 Connor Elmore
- 8 Craig Lowry
- 9 Daniel McLoughlin
- 10 Dylan Powell
- 11 Elisabeth Basanese
- 12 Erick Maganda
- 13 Gabriel Duncan
- 14 Isabella Miller
- 15 Kaitlyn Hradnansky
- 16 Kelsey Babin
- 17 Lisa Campillo
- 18 Luke Mueller
- 19 Michelle Margolin
- 20 Naia Riggenbach
- 21 Nicole Ramirez
- 22 t k
Blog and Communication
During travel we will work hard to keep families updated as frequently as possible with blogs and photos, giving you peace of mind that your traveler is safe and thriving on their program. Students regularly contribute to these posts, giving parents a great way to vicariously track the progress of the trip. You will receive an email notification when the first blog is posted, after which we recommend you check in regularly via the black “Program Blog” button at the top of this page.
Beyond this proactive approach to communication during the trip, most destinations are wired enough to allow participants semi-regular access to WiFi so you can also expect to communicate with your traveler directly. Ask your Walking Tree representative about the degree of connectivity on your program.
Walking Tree has developed a curriculum of activities meant to help travelers get the most out of their trip before departure, during travel and after they return home. These simple and engaging activities are meant to spark discussion, frame experiences, and prepare participants to travel ethically and effectively both on this trip and on future adventures.
For more information about student learning objectives and the format of the curriculum, click on the ‘learn more’ button below.
To view and complete the Pre-Program Activities, visit our online portal at the button below.
Standards of Behavior
In order to run a safe and successful program, it is important that we create an environment of trust, security and respect. All individuals participating in our programs are required to take responsibility for their actions and adhere to a high standard of behavioral conduct.
- Possessing, consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Associating with participants while they are in possession of or are consuming or distributing alcohol or illegal drugs.
- Behaving in a way that consistently damages the group dynamic or jeopardizes personal or group safety. This includes consistently displaying a negative attitude, intimidating or excluding other participants, sneaking out, disobeying group leaders, and any other behavior that is not conducive to an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.
GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL OR IN-COUNTRY CONSEQUENCE
- Failure to abide by COVID-19 restrictions.
- Stealing, or deliberately damaging or defacing any personal property, buildings or materials.
- Possessing weapons.
- Riding mopeds, motorcycles, or any other type of unauthorized vehicle.
- Getting a piercing or tattoo.
- Being out after curfew.
- Breaking group rules.
These standards of behavior are essential for the successful completion of your program. Please take the time to review these as a family and make sure everyone understands and agrees to them.
Health and Safety
We strongly recommend visiting the CDC Spain website to get the most updated information on health and vaccination considerations in your destination country. In addition, we encourage you to consult with your personal family physician so you can be as informed as possible when making important decisions about vaccinations and other necessary health-related preparations before travel.
Our in-country staff prepare meticulously for all programs. Walking Tree will register our programs and travelers with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) in case of emergency. In country staff also verify the safety records of our partner organizations, vendors, and transportation providers, thoroughly vet homestay families via in depth interviews and home visits, and keep up on important current events in the region.
Program Leaders are seasoned travelers who are CPR and First Aid certified, undergo thorough training in crisis management, and participate in a multi-day leadership training retreat. We do our best to prepare for any eventuality and have detailed emergency protocols for our leaders, in-country staff and U.S.-based staff.
We receive medical disclosures from all participants to ensure we are able to meet every students’ needs during the program. Please inform us immediately of any additional health issues that you did not list during your initial registration process. Program Leaders will also hold an online information session before your departure, as well as an arrival orientation in-country, in order to give participants important instructions on food safety, hygiene and preventing injury and illness. Leaders and in-country staff always respond immediately to any mental, physical or emotional health issues and follow comprehensive emergency protocols.
While we work hard to ensure the safest experience possible for our travelers on program, experience teaches that travel is never without risk. For this reason, we recommend that all travelers consider a travel insurance policy with two additional provisions: Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Bed Rest. Detailed explanations of both provisions can be found on the link below.
To provide families with a quality option, Walking Tree has partnered with Travel Insured International, one of the most respected providers in the industry. Begin by getting a quote here.
IMPORTANT NOTE: in order to secure coverage with CFAR included, you must purchase the plan within 21 days of your deposit/first payment. You must also insure 100% of your trip cost, so program tuition + flight.