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Hola, today, as your personal travel guide, I will tell you a few things about Cadiz and what you need to see!

Before I start – I want to mention that as part of the cultural activities Spark offers a visit to Cadiz – and the more who join in, the better.Cádiz 1

“What makes Cadiz so beautiful?”

For me, it’s the old parts of Cadiz that make it so beautiful! Just walking through the City is…wonderful

The old houses.. streets.. Cadiz is basically the definition of antiquity!

“What can I do in Cadiz ?”

1.) I would definitely recommend going for a Meal at a Spanish restaurant –

Try the fish in Spain – you will taste the difference!

2.) Go for a Walk through the Barrios like Barrio the Santa Maria –

it will blow your mind!

3.) Who doesn’t like shopping? In Cadiz are many small clothing stores –

with clothes which you wouldn’t easily find in your country!

Cheap prices and good quality – sounds more than perfect, doesn’t it?

4.) Hot day? Why not going to the beach and get a tan?

…last but not least…

5.) Cadiz Cathedral, Torre Tavira, Castle of Santa Catalina.. so many sights which need to be seen!

You will fall in love with Cadiz!

– ¡Ven a Cadiz!

And don’t forget a great way to combine visiting Cadiz is to also study Spanish in Spark 🙂

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Hola, today I will tell you a few reasons why staying with a Spanish Host family is a good decision!

First of all, during your time in Spain, you’re a part of this family so you will definitely notice the different way of living and get to know the culture in a much more personal way!

“What are the benefits of living with a Host family?”

  1. You’re never alone! You always have somebody around you and maybe you get a Host sister or Host brother at your age who would love to do something with you!
  2. Your Host family will show you many places in El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz or Sevilla just as mine did – and it was wonderful!
  3. You always have the opportunity of practising your spanish skills – and not only that – you will learn words and phrases which are only known in Spain
  4. Just as I said you will get to know the Spanish way of living for example eating habits! Spanish people eat a little bit late but the Spanish cuisine will make you always Hungry – Tapas, Paella.. ¿Tienes hambre?


….Last but not least..

5. You will have a really close relationship with your host family that will  hopefully            stay for years – and let’s be honest – it’s really nice to know someone or a family                  from an other Country!

I hope you have enjoyed reading my Blog entry and hopefully you will love your host family just as I do!

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El Puerto de Santa María is a beautiful coastal town and if you are a beach lover, you probably will never get tired of this city! However, you might an explorer who likes to go places or might have spent an entire week crossing paths in the city centre already.

If you are thinking about somewhere else to visit or looking for a change in atmosphere, you have arrived at the right blog post. Here are six places we are sure you will love, which are only a short travelling distance from El Puerto and suitable for both day trips and weekend breaks. And if you are taking Spanish courses at Spark, you have the whole afternoon and evening free (and weekends of course) so plenty of time to explore the region of Andalucia!

 

1. Cádiz

Cádiz is a port city sticking out to the sea in the south of Spain. It’s a city that is surrounded by water in all four directions (yes – like an island but it’s connected to the land). At this point I am sure you can imagine what it is like to look at the sea from the shore in Cádiz – it is breathtaking. Definitely, go up the cathedral in Cádiz to see the whole city, I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

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How to get to Cádiz: There are both buses and ferries from El Puerto to Cádiz. Ferry fare is around €2-3 each way, with daily frequency of every half an hour and each ferry trip takes 25-30 minutes. The earliest ferry runs from around 7 AM until midnight from El Puerto and also from Cádiz. See ferry timetable here.

Buses from El Puerto have a frequency of every 2-3 per hour and each way’s duration is around 40 minutes. The bus station in El Puerto and Cádiz are located in front of each respective train stations. Check bus timetable here.

 

2. Seville

Seville is a beautiful city and a popular tourist destination with many things to do that you might want to spend the whole weekend exploring the city.

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How to get to Seville: Train from El Puerto takes 1h10’ and costs €26 approximately for both ways. Bus from El Puerto takes 1h35’ and costs around €22 for both ways. When arriving at Seville, you should get off at Seville San Bernando station, which is the closest to the city centre (cathedral, castle, shops and restaurants). Myself and a few other students went to visit Seville as a day trip on one Saturday and we wish we actually spent the whole weekend there! As we arrived at Seville, we went on a free walking tour for 2-3 hours (the most time saving way to see all the main sights) and spent time enjoying sangria! If you have time, definitely watch flamenco shows or go on a tapas tour!

 

3. Sanlúcar

Sanlúcar is also a coastal town located just half an hour away from El Puerto by car. The coastline is long and there are many apartments for rent if you want to spend the weekend there. There is not much to do at the city centre but the beach was spectacular. It is not too filled up with people, which make it so attractive because you won’t feel too much of a tourist! Besides spending time at the beach, go up to the café on level 11 of Hotel Guadalquivir (probably the highest building in Sanlúcar) to get a view of the whole city!

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4. Jerez de la Frontera

If you take the train from Jerez airport to El Puerto, you will go past Jerez. It is the largest city in the province of Cádiz and the birthplace of flamenco! The culture associated with Jerez is viticulture so definitely pay a visit to the vineyards.

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How to get to Jerez: Train from El Puerto takes less than 10 minutes and you can just buy a ticket as you show up at the train station. A bus takes about 1-15 minutes and it is an inexpensive journey of around €5 each way.

5. Rota

Rota is on the west side of El Puerto, and it is a naval base that has a large American presence. Most restaurant staff speaks English! It is definitely worthwhile to visit the Town Hall and they also offer an English tour.

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How to get to Rota: Bus from El Puerto (from Plaza de Toros – the bull ring) takes half an hour, which would drop you 2 km from the beach and the old town of Rota.

 

6. Gibraltar

Gibraltar was a British colony and this town is sometimes called ‘Mini England’ because of the English presence here. You can find many English brands including Morrison’s and Mark and Spencer! Arriving in Gibraltar you are required a passport to cross the border as you are technically leaving Spain. Top things to do here include going underground and visit the rock cave, see the mosque at Europa Point or monument spotting!

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How to get to Gibraltar: Bus takes 2h30’ approximately so the best way to get here is to drive (it’s only an hour and 20 minute drive from El Puerto)

 

Leave in the comments below if you have more destinations for a day trip or a weekend. Let’s immerse in the Spanish culture together and while you are at it, why not have a look at our Spanish course page? Maybe you can combine some studying in the morning and travel in the afternoon/ evenings. Speaking the language is one step closer to understanding life as a Spaniard!

El Puerto de Santa María is a beautiful beach town in the south of Spain, in the province of Andalucía. Considering whether you should visit or spend your summer here studying Spanish, here are 5 reasons why you totally should.

 

  1. Beautiful beaches

El Puerto de Santa María is home to 22 kilometres of coastline, 16 of which are beaches. In the summer, they are literally filled with people from morning till late. Some of the renowned ones are La Puntilla, Valdelagrana, Muralla, Santa Catalina and Levante. Playa de La Puntilla is the most popular beach by far in this town due to its proximity to the city centre (only 15 mins on foot) and it’s where our students often find themselves relaxing after lessons.

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We organised a welcome drink for all new students in the second week of July. Location: Casa Pepe restaurant in Puerto Sherry on the beach of Muralla.

 

  1. The famous port

The name of El Puerto de Santa María suggests it is a port city and it has been famous for allegedly being the port that Christopher Columbus has departed for his second trip to the Americas!

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  1. Friendly locals

In our previous blog about ‘How to choose the best language school in Spain’, I mentioned that very few locals speak English. However, they are really friendly (especially with some drinks) and you definitely learn a thing or two that most tourists won’t know about El Puerto!

 

  1. Buzzing nightlife

Spain is famous for its long nightlife that extends to the early hours of the morning and El Puerto is no exception. You will find the locals eating dinner at 10 PM and start their nights out at midnight. The day is long here in El Puerto and in the summer, it is buzzing with people all evenings during the week. Every day from 10 PM until 2 AM, for two months in the summer, you can find a night market along the river (near La Cristalera bar) where locals set up shops to sell souvenirs and other lovely products from Spain. It’s definitely worth checking out!

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Handwritten mugs in Spanish!

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Our students enjoying un chupito gratis (a free shot) after ordering a bunch of tapas! Yes it’s a thing in El Puerto.

Now that you know why we love El Puerto, head onto our Spanish course page to learn more about the types of courses we offer at Spark, from General Spanish course, summer camps, to work and study experience. Adventure awaits you here!

Una procesión es un desfile religioso que involucra a personas que recorren de un lugar a otro, o bien partiendo de un sitio y volviendo a él, como muestra de su creencia y de su respectiva fe religiosa.  En Semana Santa en España se realizan estas procesiones coincidiendo con la Semana Mayor. En estas procesiones participan distintos colectivos agrupados en cofradías o hermandad religiosa bajo el reconocimiento eclesiástico. Así pues, los cofrades salen a las calles con sus hermandades acompañando a un paso de Cristo o Virgen adscrito a un pasaje de la Pasión. Los integrantes realizan las estaciones ataviados con túnicas: penitentes o nazarenos. Normalmente cada cuidad de España tiene una semana con una o más pasos (procesiones) cada dia. Abajo puedes ver la programación de Semana Santa en El Puerto de Santa Maria.

If you want to see one of the pasos in El Puerto refer to the pasos timetable below, curtesy of Turismo el Puerto . If you want to learn Spanish in Spain don’t hesitate to look at our Spanish Course options.

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El Puerto de Santa Maria is hidden gem on the costa de la luz in the province of Cadiz and region of Andalucia. The numbers of foreign tourists to the province of Cadiz is much less than nearby Malaga but this is all the more reason to come, explore and of course learn Spanish and immerse yourself in majestic Spanish culture 🙂 Read More

Spark´s location in El Puerto de Santa Maria in the Province Cadiz is great during the summer for going to the beach and doing watersports like windsurfing and kiting when the days are hot and long. But what to do when the days “get colder” during fall and the nights are not made for long party nights at the beach anymore? For one who loves being on the road like me there is only answer: Travelling! And who is not curious to see the beautiful and with history stuffed cities and little towns of Andalucía?

In my 8 weeks with Spark I study Spanish every day during the week and work during the afternoons for my Work-Experience-Programme but my free weekends I love to use for getting to know new places and the Andalusian history and using my new learned Spanish in real life.

The towns in the Province of Cádiz are all easily reached and seen during a day trip and especially the cities Jerez de la Frontera and Cádiz are in a 20-min reach of El Puerto de Santa Maria and a must-to-see for everyone studying Spanish here, no matter the length of the stay. Most of the other towns of the province we visited during the cultural events like San Fernando, Sanlúcar and Vejer de la Frontera and were organized by Spark.

But of course, Andalucía has even more to offer than the beautiful region around El Puerto and so my first weekend trip took me to Córdoba in the north of Andalucía, the second most important city. With its small alleys and yards, white painted houses and lovely little patios has the old town a lot to offer. The most famous monument is the Mezquita once built as the main mosque of the Islam and today used as a cathedral it´s the most important foundation of Moorish-religious building in Spain.

My second destination was Seville, the capital of Andalucía, where I went with a group of Au-Pair girls also studying at Spark to a night experiencing not only monuments but also real Spanish night life. Seville is only an 1h 20 train ride from El Puerto de Santa Maria away and therefore a relaxed weekend destination when going with a group. We visited the Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede, the third biggest church in the world and the Real Alcázar, a king´s palace with beautiful yards, halls and Arabic gardens where (eyes open, all GoT-Fans!) in the moment the new season of Game of Thrones is filmed. On our way to a touristic Flamenco show at night we met a group of Spanish teenagers who were on their way to a Flamenco show themselves. Luckily we chose to accompany them because what we got to see then, in the streets of Seville, was them dancing and singing Flamenco themselves. This continued in one of the local bars and gave us definitely the “real” Flamenco experience.

Together with two friends our next trip was to Granada a week ago. Granada is located at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada and famous for the Alhambra, the most visited monument in Spain. It´s definitely recommended to buy tickets for a visit in advance but since our trip was rather spontaneous and we didn`t want to miss out a visit we got into the line at the entrance at 6:30 in the morning and waited for two hours to get in. Our will and patience was honored because the palace of the Nasrid’s was simply breathtaking and the view across the city and the Sierra Nevada in the rising sun matchless. Also the Generalife, the fascinating park of the kings of Granada next to the Alhambra invites to go for a relaxed walk after the visit. The Muslim quarter  of the city, Albaicín offers a great view on the Alhambra and has a magic flair itself with small alleys and Arabic stores and restaurants.

Andalucía has a lot more to offer, but this should give you a little view on how great El Puerto is not only to study Spanish but also as a basis for travelling here. So why don´t join Spark and experience it yourself?!

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Anna

Studying with Spark also means living in El Puerto de Santa Maria, a lovely town in the province Cadíz. El Puerto de Santa Maria does not only have a variety of historic features and beautiful beaches to offer but also the harbor Puerto Sherry, where I took two of the students at Spark yesterday as part of my Work-Experience-programme. From Spark the walk takes approximately 50 minutes down to Playa Puntilla and along the coastline heading west on a beautiful walkingpath viewing the bay of Cadíz. Puerto Sherry itself is one of the biggest marinas in Andalusia with more than 800 moorings and a range of other water sports like windsurfing and diving. In history the harbor played an important role in shipping the sherry produced in the sherry triangle Jerez-Sanlúcar-El Puerto de Santa Maria abroad, but today, as we discovered, it is a quiet place to relax and let some time pass while sitting in one of the little cafés to enjoy the view on the marina and Cadíz. After having some typical Spanish coffee and fresh juice we made our way back to Spark and enjoyed the walk talking and practicing our Spanish.

Going on cultural activities with other students provides a great opportunity to not only practise the Spanish learned in class during the mornings but also to explore new places and make friends along the way! If you would love to know more about El Puerto de Santa Maria and the Spanish language, why not join Spark and experience it yourself?

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Anna

 

Learning to cook like the Spaniards

This week is my last week as an intern for my work & study program at Spark. In the six weeks I have been here, I wrote blogpost about the Spanish cultural events at Spark. This week we had our third Spanish cooking class since my arrival at Spark. It is a fantastic cultural activity dedicated to the delicious cuisine of Andalusia and Spain. Moreover, these cooking activities are good to practice your Spanish vocabulary. The students will choose or write a Spanish recipy and secondly they need to buy the food in the Spanish supermarket. During the activity we try to speak as much Spanish as possible!

In our first cooking class we made Paella (a must) and Tortillitas de Camarones, which are small shrimp fritters or cakes. You can make them easily by mixing wheat flour, water, onion, parsley, small shrimps (camarones), salt and pepper. Paella is a dish that every Spanish food-lover knows, and you have many different versions. In our class we made one with ‘sea fruits’, and it was delicious!

The second cooking class was also a great activity to experience Spain’s rich cuisine. We made Huevos a la Flamenco, a typical and a very popular Andalusian dish. The eggs are baked atop a thick, spicy tomato sauce, with a lot of vegetables and different herbs. You should try this once, it is absolutely delicious! You can make it for lunch, or serve it for dinner, and it will be a hit every time.

In the third cooking class we made ensalada mediterranea (Mediterranean Salad) and huevos fritos con chorizo, pimientos verde y patatas , a delicious dish with fried potatoes, peppers, chorizo and eggs. It is easy to make and it is perfect when you do not have much time to cook, but still would like to have a yummy dish.

Would you like to read more about the cultural activities programme at Spark or are you interested in the cultural events with Spark? Read the blogposts about cultural events!

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Exploring El Puerto de Santa Maria

Why study Spanish in El Puerto de Santa Maria? El Puerto is ideally located in the Cádiz province and you can visit beautiful cities in its surroundings, such as Cádiz, Sevilla, Jerez, Granada, Ronda, Córdoba, Málaga, Gibraltar or smaller cities such as the famous Pueblos Blancos or beautiful towns at the coastline. But, El Puerto itself has a lot to offer too! So, this week we focus on our beloved and beautiful El Puerto de Santa Maria in our cultural events programme! The cultural events enable our students to discover the best of Spain: ‘Descubre España’! Read More

On Saturday we went with a group of Spark students on a daytrip to the wonderful city Cádiz. Spark organizes cultural events for students to experience the Spanish lifestyle here in the Cádiz region, which give Spark students a total package of learning Spanish. Since Cádiz is not only the capital of the province Cádiz but also the oldest city of Europe, it is a must-to-see during your stay in El Puerto de Santa Maria. We took the boat at 12.50 pm across the Bay of Cádiz and because of the sunny weather we enjoyed a nice boattrip and a beautiful view. Read More

Food related cultural activities with Spark

This week I organized two food related cultural activities in El Puerto de Santa Maria as an intern at Spark for my work experience program. So, besides learning Spanish at Spark, we are able to explore the Andalusian culture and cuisine.  Read More