The Student News Site of South Windsor High School

The Bobcat Prowl

The Bobcat Prowl

The Student News Site of South Windsor High School

The Bobcat Prowl

Adventures and Escapades Across Europe

SWHS students visit France and Spain over April Break
Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • The Effiel Tower lights up after sunset, as students look on

  • The view from breakfast at the Paris hotel that students stayed in

  • Students toured the Palace of Versailles and basked in its beauty

  • Students pose at on a terrace above the Palace of Versailles’ gardens

  • The Louvre Museum’s pyramid as seen by students exploring the neighborhood

  • The Mona Lisa panting, as viewed by a few of the students

  • Students visited the Alhambra complex in Granada, taking a picture together

  • Students partake in a scavenger hunt across the Spanish city of Granada

    Maya Hathorn
  • Swords for sale at a swordsmith’s workshop that students visited in Toledo

  • A scenic overlook of the city of Toledo, a historic Spanish city

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

Staring up at the elegant steel-clad Eiffel Tower, watching the fairytale-esque French countryside roll by outside the train window, watching the cold green waves of the Mediterranean crash into the sand, and looking across the tapas table at an old friend. These were just a few of the memories that SWHS students will never forget after an incredible trip to France and Spain 

Over April break, 88 students and 14 staff members flew from Boston to Paris, traveled by train to Barcelona and Granada, bussed to Madrid, and then flew back to Boston. Almost everyone on the trip enjoyed it thoroughly, with many now considering studying abroad in college. 

The Bobcats began their journey by flying to Paris from Boston. After a sleepless night aboard their Air France flight, the travelers arrived in the cobblestoned streets of Montmartre, soaking in the panoramic views of the City of Light. The group then ventured to Notre Dame, saw the remains of the historic cathedral and explored the heart of Paris along with its jaw-dropping architecture. 

“My favorite part was seeing all the architecture … It’s so different from anything we see here. It was so beautiful, not just in the famous buildings but the regular ones as well,” junior Lauren Graham explained. 

The following day, French royalty beckoned as the group explored the majestic Palace of Versailles and its surrounding gardens. The day ended with students watching the lighting of the Eiffel Tower. 

Early the next morning, a handful of students crossed the still sleeping city to visit the Louvre, enjoying some of history’s greatest art pieces. Meanwhile, the rest of the group visited a perfume factory and a modern art museum. The day ended with shopping and exploring the Champs-Élysées, getting a glimpse of the Arc de Triomphe, and soaking up the fashion capital of the world. 

“I learned a ton of French phrases and appreciated European fashion for being so simple, yet elegant,” senior Zain Farooq told The Prowl.

As the trip continued, the group boarded a high speed train to Barcelona, getting to see the picturesque landscape of France’s interior. It was on this ride that The Prowl created the the SWHS Travel Club Instagram page that many have seen/shared their photos on. Finally arriving in Spain, the Bobcats were given the opportunity to watch the deep blue waves of the Mediterranean crash against the quiet pink sand. 

In Barcelona, students admired the city from atop a lookout park, watching the beautiful city’s hustle under the hot sun of Spain. Looking up, was the stunning and still incomplete Sagrada Familia. While admiring the structure, the travelers interacted with some of the other student tourists from across the world. After a scorching, yet fun, day in Barcelona, students were treated with the chance to watch the sunset over the Mediterranean from a now quiet beach. Many saw this as an exciting midpoint of the trip, a chance to reflect on what they’d seen thus far. 

“I thought Spain was the most fun because we had a lot of free time to explore the cities and the weather was beautiful,” sophomore Olivia Stoner explained. 

Headed by train to Granada now, the travelers got incredible views of the Spanish countryside – even a tease of Madrid. The first and only stop of the day in the gorgeous city was gelato, a staple of the trip given the general lack of air conditioning or ice in Europe. Despite the city’s magic and beauty, not everything in Granada was enjoyed by the Bobcats. 

The hotel chosen by the tour company in Granada would be a huge let down, given its abhorrent filth and complete disregard for sanitary or safety regulations. Students found mold, insects, hair, and even blood in the rooms. Although incredibly problematic and stressful, SWHS’ chaperones and administrators immediately leapt into action, saving the day and possibly the entire trip, despite being extremely exhausted themselves. 

After a long night, the Bobcats made their way to the Alhambra complex, a historic and religiously significant estate that overlooks the entire city. Previously, Mrs. Ruiz had told The Prowl that Alhambra was one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and many students on the trip seemed to agree. The group was amazed by the beautiful culmination of cultures and designs that created the complex.

Seeing the kids’ reactions to exploring these historical and cultural sites for the first time. Seeing them have class become alive before their eyes, that’s why we do it

— Mr. Mabasa

The visit to Alhambra was followed by a quick scavenger hunt around Granada, highlighting some of the most important facts about and places of the city. After sunset, students were treated to a traditional flamenco dance in a cave which was an incredibly unique experience for many. 

“My favorite part of the trip was singing karaoke on the minibus on the way to the flamenco dance,” senior Zain Farooq said. 

Finally, after a long day, students were brought back to a new hotel that was much nicer and cleaner for a good night’s rest. 

Boarding a bus, the Bobcats traveled up to the city of Toledo, widely seen as one of the most beautiful cities of the trip. Taking a walking tour, students learned about the Abrahamic history of the city, with it serving as an important locale for Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Spain.

After visiting an ancient synagogue and a breath-taking cathedral, the group visited a swordsmith’s workshop with some taking the opportunity to purchase one of Toledo’s world-famous swords.

Arriving that same night in Madrid, the travelers unpacked their bags at the last hotel of the trip. After a quick shopping run for snacks and cultural immersion, it was right to bed for the Bobcats.

Waking up to the bluest skies and warmest temperatures of their adventure, students made their way into the heart of Madrid, taking a walking tour of the city before heading towards the stunning Royal Palace. Afterward, some students took the opportunity to meet up with an old friend: Carla, the foreign exchange student who had studied in South Windsor the year before. For some, the opportunity to reunite with an old friend was the best part of the trip.

Ending their last night in Europe by strolling through the charming city of Madrid, the travelers bought some final souvenirs and snacks for the ride home. Many of the students were sad to be leaving the uniquely European feel that they’d grown accustomed to over the week, and others were ready to return to America. 

In reflection of the trip, many saw it as a great opportunity to expand their horizons and language skills.

“I learned how to effectively communicate with people who speak different languages and … about different cultures and lifestyles,” sophomore Jordin Foran explained.

In their time traversing the West of Europe, the Bobcats got to experience the uniqueness of other people and places; the weaving of culture and geography in a way unlike the US. Regardless of takeaways, the ability to explore and see a different life than your own is a necessary part of having a rounded worldview.

What was the Best City on the Trip?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Max Schwartzman
Max Schwartzman, Editor-in-Chief
In addition to his communication with over 60 world leaders, Max Schwartzman is the Editor-in-Chief of South Windsor High School’s award winning newspaper, The Bobcat Prowl. He is strongly committed to keeping our school’s newspaper great, teaching the writers about the art of journalism, and working alongside his incredible staff. In his free time, Max is the author of a book that originated from an article on The Prowl, as well as a dedicated volunteer for various non-profit organizations. Max has his sights set on a career in diplomacy and foreign service, and he’s willing to do whatever is needed to succeed. 
Eliza Blanchfield
Eliza Blanchfield is a South Windsor High School sophomore excited to write for The Bobcat Prowl. During her sophomore year, she looks forward to reporting on the many controversial topics at South Windsor High School. Eliza is an Editor for The Prowl, she will be able to guide new and returning writers while expanding her knowledge of Journalism. In her free time, she enjoys playing girls' volleyball in the fall for South Windsor High School, while participating in the Travel Club year-round. She loves reading, participating in sports, and hanging out with friends and family.