It was 10:00 on the first day of our stay in Madeira, and we were made welcome at the school Da Torre in Camara do Lobos. After a brief visit to the school, a greeting by the principal and the welcoming dance of a group of students, we were divided into groups. The first part of the morning was devoted to some very interesting presentations by the students about Madeira’s history, geography and interesting features, and also about new technologies and web 2.0 tools useful in the learning process. After the break, we took part in a practical maths lesson using Facebook.
We had lunch in the school canteen, and then the teachers had the privilege to attend a lesson in Portuguese using Suggestopaedia. We finished the day’s activities with a pleasant walk to the city centre.
We spent the morning of the second day visiting Funchal, divided into mixed groups of students and teachers of all nationalities. The activity was designed to make everyone visit and take pictures of some of the most interesting landmarks in the city: the Santa Catarina Park, the presidential gardens, the Jesuit School, the Cathedral Se, the Mercado dos Lavradores… Then we enjoyed an interesting visit to an embroidery workshop, and could see the traditional techniques still used there. After that, we took the cable car to Monte, where we had lunch and enjoyed the views from this picturesque town. Some of us even got down by sleigh! The day finished with a visit to the Blandy Wine Lodge, where we enjoyed the opportunity of sampling some of the delicious varieties of Madeiran wine.
The morning of our third day was spent again at the school. We started the activities with the logo contest. After listening to the presentations of all the best logos submitted by each school, the votes of all the countries were counted. The winner was one of the logos presented by the Belgian students; the two Lithuanian candidates finished in second and third places. Then we had a collective lesson (teachers and students) about Netiquette and safety on the net. After the break, we met again for an interesting workshop on preventing hate speech in the net. We enjoyed a free afternoon to continue with our visits to the island.
A day devoted to outdoor activities and visits. We went on a jeep tour around the eastern and central parts of the island. The day included a hands-on lesson on reforestation and a visit to the Madeira Laurel Forest (nature reserve and UNESCO world heritage). We had a traditional Madeiran lunch, and then we enjoyed the breathtaking views from Balcöes, a visit to the picturesque village of Santana with its small and typical thatch-roofed houses, and a brief stop at the old factory which still operates with steam to produce honey and sugar cane liquor.
We spent the morning in the Estaçao de Biologia Marinha do Funchal, where we had the opportunity to see and touch some samples of the native marine fauna. Some of us even tried to fish in the sea! In the afternoon, we enjoyed an exciting boat trip around the island, and we were lucky enough to see dolphins… and even a sperm whale!
We finished our stay in Madeira with an excellent farewell party at the Quinta de Santa Rita. Great food and drink, music, dancing… and, above all, the feeling of belonging to a very special group of people, who will meet again soon in Barcelona.