Darlene Foster's Blog

Pueblo Ingles – A True Spanish Experience

Posted on: August 11, 2011

I want to share an amazing experience I had a few years ago that I will never forget.

Imagine waking up each morning in your own villa, to fresh mountain air, dew glistening on terracotta-tiled roofs and the melody of Spanish songbirds. Imagine wandering around well-kept, lush grounds, as picturesque as a pastoral painting, a pond to contemplate by, a welcoming pool, shady trees and sunny meadows. This was not a dream. I actually enjoyed eight days in this four star resort, nestled in the mountains of Spain – for free!

I had come to this surreal spot as a participant in a program called Pueblo Ingles. All I was required to do to enjoy this marvellous place at no cost, was speak English all day to Spanish speaking professionals who wished to improve their communication English. That was not difficult for me, as I love to talk. I was only responsible for the cost of the flight to Madrid.

Everything else was included such as a fabulous buffet breakfast to please any pallet. Chocolate filled croissants piled high, wedges of Spanish Tortillas, exquisite hams and cheeses from the local farmers, fresh fruit, creamy yogurts, fresh baked bread, toasted or not, with the finest olive oil drizzled over or, for the brave, spicy Spanish tomato sauce, and the smoothest coffee I have ever tasted. The “work” of communicating in English began at the breakfast table where two English speaking and two Spanish participants were seated together. The first breakfast proved awkward as the Spanish tried to keep up with the various English accents – Canadian, American, Australian, British and Welsh.

Lunch and dinner comprised of two equally delicious homemade three-course meals, served by an accommodating staff, complimented with a carafe of local red wine. We shared stories, experiences, idioms and culture with the Spanish-speaking participants while we ate. In between meals, we conducted one-hour one to one lessons while going for walks, making phone calls, relaxing by the pool, or discussing business practices; all in English of course. The only rule was, no speaking Spanish. By the end of 8 days, the Spanish were able to follow our conversations quite easily. One gentleman from Pamplona said he was starting to dream in English.

A short walk from the resort was the medieval village of La Alberca where we were magically transported back to the 15th century. We followed the narrow cobblestone streets that wound their way past wine cellars, stone watering fountains, huge wooden doors, houses built the year Columbus sailed and a cathedral with a stork nest perched on top and a stone pig on the steps. Bright flowers spilled out of windows and balconies. The older folks, dressed in the local costume, nodded solemnly as we passed by. I had fun choosing a set of castanets and a package of saffron from a local vender to take home. Our visit included a medieval feast at The Cathedral restaurant and a chance to try drinking wine from a wine skin without spilling it down our front! The Spanish proved to be much better at this.

Every night at the resort the entertainment made us laugh so our sides hurt and, for those who were able to keep up with the fun loving Spanish, there was dancing until the wee hours. Thank heaven for the tradition of siesta.

From the moment I arrived, until the tearful goodbyes eight days later, I shared many interesting stories and conversations, formed amazing friendships and created wonderful memories. The warmth, sense of humour and eagerness of the Spanish participants, taught me more about Spanish culture than I could ever learn from books. I hope to return one day. If you are looking for an inexpensive, fun filled holiday, I suggest you check it out. To learn more about this program and the various sites, visit http://www.puebloingles.com/

15 Responses to "Pueblo Ingles – A True Spanish Experience"

This post brings back fond memories – I’d forgotten the chocolate filled croissants. It makes me feel very lucky to be going for a second session in October.

You have no idea how envious I am of you to be able to return. I am sure you will have an amazing time again. Have a chocolate filled croissant for me while you are there.

Wow, Darlene! What a fantastic experience!! Having never really traveled, I’m in awe.

Thankas laura. It was incredible. A good friend had told me about this place a number of years ago and I had always dreamt of going. I was very lucky to have had a chance to experience it four years ago.

What an amazing time. I’m glad you were able to do this.
I ordered two “Amanda” books today for my granddaughter’s birthday.

Thanks so much Patti. I hope she enjoys the adventures.

What a wonderful opportunity! Imagine — just being able to talk and have people hang on your every word!!!

There is nothing like it Charmaine!

HI Darlene – well I was there with you and you took the words out of my mouth – and boy does it bring back great memories – all those wonderful Spaniards and Anglos – what a great adventure it was – I will do it again in a heartbeat someday….so let me know when we should do it….thanks for the trip down memory lane. Jayne Boyer

Yes, a good time was had by all. An experience neither of us will ever forget. Thnaks for stopping by my blog Jayne.

hi Darlene, will be part of the program end Jan. Would u be able to recommend an economical hotel for the previous night?

Thanks – Kay

Happy New Year by the way!

We stayed at a wonderful Hostel called Felipe IV on the main street in Madrid. The rooms were small and sparse, but clean and inexpensive, the staff were so helpful and pleasant. It was an easy walk to the Prado Museum, the metro and the main shopping street in Madrid. I later recommened it to another friend who also enjoyed her stay there. Have a fabulous time at Pueblo Ingles!

Thank you, How much did it cost for 1 night?

and I assume you took the metro to the Bus pick-up point, or did you take the taxi?

thanks again for your assistance – Kay

It was a couple of years ago so I don’t rememebr but I found a couple of websites that may help you. it appears it is about $40.00 – $50.00 a night. We took a taxi as it wasn’t far and three of us shared. There are always others from Pueblo Ingles staying there. Good Luck!

http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Hotel_Review-g187514-d569580-Reviews-Hostal_Felipe_V-Madrid.html

http://www.budgetplaces.com/madrid-bed-and-breakfast-16209-hostal-felipe-v.html?lp=00002-EN-001-12-BPL-012-CAD-016209-03-0-000-0000-00000&kw=hostal%20felipe%20v%20%2Bmadrid&gclid=CNeHrOuDs60CFQ1ahwodMhnAEQ

Thanks a ton.. All the best for the New year

Kay

email : zsxdc2000@yahoo.com

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