Amazing Gloucester High School trip to Spain and Portugal

Over the April 2017 school vacation, Gloucester High School students and chaperones traveled to Spain and Portugal. Report from the trip:

Mr. Celestino Basile, World Language Coordinator at the High School, led the group through visits to Madrid, Toledo, Cordoba, Seville, Costa del Sol, & Granada, as well as many other fascinating spots in Spain before heading to Lisbon, Portugal. Basile has brought many groups of GHS students to Europe over the years. While in Seville, on Easter Sunday, some of the Spanish exchange students who had visited Gloucester in September 2016 (staying for 3 weeks with GHS students and their families, and attending GHS with their hosting student) were able to meet up with and visit the Gloucester group. What an amazing opportunity for these kids, thanks to Mr. Basile! Highlights included a flamenco evening, an evening cruise, visiting the beach at Costa del Sol, and re-connecting with the exchange students who had visited Gloucester.

In Gloucester,MA, one must experience Fisherman at the Wheel,  the iconic bronze memorial by Leonard Craske installed in 1925. While in Madrid one must visit Oso y El Madrono– the bear and strawberry tree– the 1967 monument to the symbol of Madrid by artist Antonio Navarro Santafé.  Bears are common symbols worldwide but a bear leaning on a strawberry tree and eating the fruit heralds solely Madrid. Before that sculpture commission, Santafé modeled Madrid’s Bear of Berlin as well as sculpture gifts for dignitaries based on Madrid’s memorable coat of arms. Madrid’s bear was modeled on a local one* captured in the Picos de Europa mountains and sent to the zoo in El Retiro. “The bear, more than Difficult, it is ungrateful, because it is animal in a heavy way, and the sculptor has to guess its anatomy through its imposing fur coat. Anyway, like everything done by God, and for Nature, it is beautiful.” 

“My bear, which is the Bear of Madrid, in the fabulous wheel of the Puerta del Sol!” Antonio Navarro Santafé

The Gloucester High School students were there! And the Prado, and…



Antonio Navarro Santafe, Parque de Berlin Oso de Berlin, Madrid




Spanish language teacher and chaperone, Heidi Wakeman, sent two photos and summarized the trip for Good Morning Gloucester:

“37 students, 6 chaperones, 2 countries and 1 Spanish tour guide = ONE AMAZING TRIP! The GHS trip to Spain and Portugal was an exciting, educational and exhausting excursion!  We landed on Wednesday, April 12 and started sightseeing right away (El Prado museum, to see Las Meninas, el Greco, among other masterpieces).  There were cathedrals, churches, plazas and palaces.  A highlight was the reunion with Spanish students that lived here in Gloucester last fall. Students spoke and listened to a lot of Spanish, then Portuguese as we finished in Lisbon.  As a middle school Spanish teacher at O’Maley, I was so grateful for the experience: my first time chaperoning an overseas trip, and my first time to Spain! The kids will never forget this trip, and neither will I!”- Heidi Wakeman

Sevilla, Spain from Heidi


Chaperones, Toledo Spain, from Heidi

GHS spain 2017


*Local inspiration:

Anna Hyatt Huntington modeled Joan of Arc at her Annisquam home Seven Acres in part from poses of her niece, Clara, and Frank, a ‘magnificent Percheron’  from the Gloucester fire department. The Gloucester cast is a monument to the WW1 heroes of Gloucester. Leonard Craske’s Gloucester Fisherman at the Wheel is a debated composite.


oral history transcript 1969 A Hyatt Mayor Adores his Aunt Anna Hyatt Huntington (read by Marie Demick)

GHS In Spain

Cathy Lawson Submits-clip_image008

On April 10, 2013 forty-five Gloucester High students left for a ten-day visit to Spain. The trip began in the city of Madrid. They visited Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the Retiro Park and the Royal Palace, which has more than 2,800 rooms.

The following day students traveled to the picturesque city of Toledo, the old capital of the country, which lies an hour outside of Madrid. In Toledo students walked through winding streets, visited the beautiful Medieval Cathedral, and visited the church of San Tome where they were able to see one of the most famous paintings by Velázquez, El Entierro del Conde de Orgaz. In the afternoon students visited the city of Segovia with its famous 2000 year old Roman aqueduct and the beautiful Alcazar castle.

From Madrid, students travelled toward the north of Spain. The first city they visited was Burgos. This city has an impressive Gothic cathedral made famous by the legendary hero, El Cid. The following day, students continued on to Bilbao where they visited the famous Guggenheim museum. The building itself is a masterpiece, designed by Frank Gerah.

The following day, using money from the fundraiser, students visited Biarritz, the playground of the rich and famous in France. In the morning, they had the chance to put their feet in the Atlantic Ocean, speak a bit of French and, of course, sample fresh croissants. Students spent the rest of the afternoon playing on the beach, swimming, or sunbathing.

The tour continued to the city of Zaragoza en route to Barcelona. Students visited the beautiful Basilica of our lady of El Pilar. Zaragoza is a Roman city where Emperor Caesar Augustus had established a Roman settlement.

The final destination was Barcelona. In this beautiful city, students visited the Basilica of La Sagrada Familia designed by the architect Antonio Gaudi. They also had an opportunity to walk through the Güell, Montjuïc Hill Park and one of Gaudi’s houses. On the last day, students visited Montserrat, famous for its monastery, caves and its amazing mountain with its weirdly shaped crags of rock. The town lies just 40km northwest of Barcelona and is a summer escape for many. The highlight of this visit was hearing the children’s choir sing the Salve Regina and one of the local songs.

Throughout their trip, students were able to experience authentic meals such as paella, tapas, local fish, different hams and other gastronomic delights. On one occasion, students had the opportunity to see — and participate in — an evening of Flamenco dance.