June 22, 2022
As you know yesterday was the final day of the trip that consisted of a lot of travel; nonetheless, it was a fantastic end to our journey together. Yesterday morning we woke up early in Morocco so we could have enough time to spare in the airport before our flight. We gave the kids enough time to pack their luggage before breakfast, but Santi had packed his the night before and helped some other boys with their packing. Our guide played us some Saharan rock on the ride to Marrakech, which surprisingly helped everyone relax.
We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare before our flight. Once on the flight, everyone settled in and prepared for our trip back to Spain. Claudia got to enjoy a whole row to herself! The flight was quick and easy, and everyone was ready to go once we landed in Madrid. We took the metro to our hostel which was close to the center of Madrid. Harrison and Henry helped carry the heavy trip leader duffel bags through the Metro, which helped our trip through the metro go more smoothly. As we exited the last metro station into a populated square in Madrid, Cameron was blown away by the unique architecture of the surrounding buildings. Once at our hostel, the kids settled in and got ready for a final dinner with the group. We ate tacos from a popular taco spot in Madrid. Stellan found us a great dinner spot in front of the royal palace. Caroline decided to try some roasted cactus tacos which she enjoyed. Everyone else enjoyed their steak, Al pastor, and chicken tinga tacos. After dinner, we treated the kids to some gelato. Victoria, Bays and Lilly B ordered their dessert in Spanish!
After Gelato we returned to the hostel to let everyone shower and get ready for the last Moonup. We found a cool park near the hostel that was iconic for the Egyptian ruins that we monumented in the center of the park. During our walk to the park, Lilly Z and Claudia kept the energy up by playing leap frog. Once we arrived, we stumbled across a massive crowd surrounding what seemed to be a concert. We almost didn’t check out what was going on, but Henry’s curiosity motivated the group to see where the music was coming from. We got up the hill and found an orchestra preforming in front of the Egyptian ruins! We stuck around for one song and everyone enjoyed the live music. Morgan even got up on Stellan’s shoulder to get a better view of the show. Shortly after leaving the orchestra, we found a nice patch of grass to have our final Moonup. Hugh and Morgan led us through a memorable Moonup that left everyone a sad to say goodbye. We got close, we laughed, and most importantly, we explored new places together. We had an incredible session, so thank for letting them come with us on the journey!
LG and Diego
June 16, 2022
Hi Spain and Morocco parents!
We just completed an amazing few days trekking through the incredible Picos de Europa full of incredible views, challenging climbs, and lots of laughs. Our first day the clouds cleared, and the peaks revealed themselves as we passed over the bright rolling hills and up the mountain. After our past few days of overcast, we were all energized by the sunshine and clear skies. Lilly B and Harrison were our LODs that day and did an amazing job reading the map with Dario, our mountain guide, and leading the group through the day. Stellan and Lilly Z were at the head of the group the whole day and kept the pace and energy up! With our lunch spot in sight, the group pushed through our uphill battle with zero complaints and smiles on their faces. We enjoyed a long picnic lunch in the shade with the most incredible view all around us and had a delicious Spanish chocolate wafer as a treat that was Claudia’s favorite! Most of our trek for the day was behind us, so we headed for our Refugio after lunch and enjoyed an afternoon of free time. We arrived at the Refugio and everyone was blown away by the beautiful view that encompassed us from every side. After the group felt well-rested, and the girls finished journaling, everyone met in the lodge to start up another competitive game of cards. While Henry, Bays, and Lilly B played an intense game of EHS, Hugh was adventuring around outside and found a beautiful view that he shared with the group. We ended this amazing day with another Moonup under the stars and with a perfect view of the full moon.
The next morning, we woke up early to beat the heat and to begin our big summit day! Before we began our hike, we walked to a natural spring to fill up our water bottles with the fresh, crisp, cold mountain water and then got on our way. We began our trek and immediately were greeted by a family of sheep and a group of beautiful horses that had all the students in awe. We had a long, steep trek up to our summit, but the group was up for the challenge and encouraged each other every step of the way. Caroline kept everyone feeling comforted and cared for as she consistently checked in on her friends and even our guides. Victoria and Morgan were so positive and appreciative of our surroundings and enjoyed staying in the back, taking their time on the way up, and taking in the view. As we continued up, we passed by two crystal clear lakes, traveled over snow patches, and worked hard up the path to our final destination. We were immediately rewarded at the top with an unreal, panoramic view of the mountain and another delicious picnic lunch that seemed to taste extra good that day! We headed down the mountain feeling full and accomplished after our tough morning. The group loved the end of our hike because we got to ride the cable car down the mountain and made friends with some French students passing through Spain! Our final Refugio of trekking was in a beautiful quaint mountain town and was the perfect spot for the group to hangout and end our day. Lilly Z and Cameron both got delicious prosciutto sandwiches and filled the group in on their encounter with their new French friends! Our night ended with a delicious dinner of pasta with homemade tomato sauce, chicken, and ice cream for dessert! We woke up early to complete our last morning of hiking and the views were unbelievable. We walked on a cliff side, through caves and tunnels, and had the river flowing below us and waterfalls all around. Santi, our last LOD, did a great job keeping the group motivated through the heat and leading the group off the trail and to the end of our trekking journey. After a long five-hour drive, we finally made it to Madrid and can’t wait for our adventures that await us in Morocco!
– LG + Diego
Now, some shoutouts from the kids:
Cam – hey dad! I’m having so much fun and making so many new friends. I hope Wills is having fun at Wake and Sarah has fun at camp! Love y’all and happy early Father’s Day.
Lilly Z – hi mom and dad! I miss y’all tons and I’m having so much fun. I’ve made so many new friends and memories. Happy Father’s Day!
Caroline – hi mom dad and Thomas. Miss y’all – I’ve been doing things I thought I would never do before. I hope Thomas has had the best week at tennis camp. Love y’all and see y’all soon.
Morgan – hey mom and dad! It has been so much fun and happy late bday mom! Love y’all.
Claudia – hi family! I’m having an amazing time! Happy Father’s day and bday to Reid! Love y’all!
Lilly B – hi mom and dad! Miss y’all but I’m having a blast! Happy bday mom and happy Father’s Day!
Harrison – hi family! Happy Father’s Day and I hope y’all are having fun on vacation. Miss and love y’all!
Stellan – Hi papi and mami I love you.
Hugh – hi mom jacq dad! I’m having so much fun – love and miss y’all
Santi – Hola feliz dia del padre esta muy padre los amo
Bays – hi I hope y’all are doing good I love and miss y’all. I’m having a great time! Happy late Father’s Day can’t wait to see y’all soon.
Henry – hi mom and dad hope y’all have been well. I’ve been having fun and I miss yall
Victoria – Hi mom and Dad love and miss you! I am having a blast! Hope everything in Cincinnati is great. And Happy Father’s Day!
June 14, 2022
Hi Spain + Morocco Parents!
After our long day of travel, we finally landed in Madrid, packed up our van and headed to Llanes to begin our adventures canyoneering and surfing. We arrived at our first Refugio enthusiastic and excited to begin bonding and getting to know each other. Morgan immediately began a big card game that quickly became competitive and had the whole group on the edge of their seats. After spending time playing games, we headed into town for a local dinner with our awesome outfitting guides, Dario and Midiri, and got to learn about them and their experiences in Spain. Bays practiced her Spanish in conversation with Dario and has been working on expanding her vocabulary since we arrived! We ended our night with Moonup under the stars and surrounded by the beautiful Picos de Europa and headed to bed early to prepare for our first full day of activities. Our morning began with a leisurely outdoor breakfast of toast, fruit, and orange juice and a briefing our day ahead with our first leaders of the day (LODs) Hugh and Lilly Zaks. We headed up the mountain to our first stop where we put on wetsuits and helmets to prepare for our canyoneering adventure. Our morning was amazing; everyone had a blast as we headed down the canyon sliding down little waterfalls and jumping off rocks into the beautiful blue water. This activity was completely new to the group, and everyone was specifically proud of Henry for overcoming his fear of heights and eventually eagerly leading the group down! Santi and Victoria were particularly excited about our opportunities to jump off the rocks and proved to be the bravest of the group as they cannonballed into the water every opportunity they got. We were all smiles after our morning of canyoneering and worked up a big appetite for lunch. We sat down and each had a big Margherita pizza with lots of leftovers that Stellan was excited to help us finish. After lunch we celebrated our first day with gelato, which we got to enjoy on the steps of a beautiful cathedral. Although it began to rain, the weather did not slow the group down from an amazing afternoon of surfing. With our wetsuits back on and some practice in the sand, we were ready and eager to hit the waves. After many attempts to get up, and some hilarious wipeouts, the group started to hang of it. Lilly B impressed the whole group by riding every wave and showing off her natural surfing skills. It was so fun to see the group begin to get close; they collectively filled the day with so much laughter and fun. Our last stop of the day was a family style dinner that began with our favorite first course, sourdough bread and olive oil, and continued with ribs, calamari, salad, and chorizo! Just when we thought we couldn’t eat one more bite, Cameron and Hugh ordered lemon sorbet that came out in the prettiest presentation – a hollow sugar coated lemon as the cup! We ended our second night with another Moonup filled with laughter from Hugh’s hilarious stories and an exchange of nicknames for everyone in the group. We had another leisurely morning followed by our last bit of surfing. With yesterday’s experience under our belt, the group was ready to get out and test their new skills. Harrison ended our surfing section with a celebration after getting up for the first time. We were so impressed by the groups attitude and willingness to learn something new and continue trying, despite the challenge. As we set out for the mountains, we waved goodbye to the ocean and arrived at our beautiful new Refugio where we were greeted with a stunning view and a perfect sitting spot. Claudia and Caroline were quick to start up a game of mafia that kept the whole group entertained for the remainder of the afternoon. We were sad to leave the beautiful beaches of Llanes, but excited to start our next adventure in the Picos de Europa to begin our trekking portion!
Until Next Time,
LG and Diego
June 10, 2022
Hello Spain + Morocco Families!
We just heard from our leaders that the group has landed safely in Madrid and are settled into their first hostel of the trip. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!