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Comenius Meeting in Murcia – On the Menu: Opening Doors to Nature and History

In the merry month of May Murcia hosted the Comenius crews for the second meeting. Unfortunately our Danish partners were not allowed to get on the plane to Spain due to a national school strike.

An impressive immersion in the region and its geological history was the screening of a documentary produced by INTEGRA which perfectly prepared us for a spectacular rafting trip down the river Segura,

that was topped off by an even more spectacular picnic.

We were amazed how many teachers of our partner school participated in this event. We learn that such excursions were regularly organized by the staff and some parents – on a voluntary basis as there is no real budget for such projects.

Three other outdoor activities and excursions made us discover a cave with impressive stone formations (Cueva del Puerto, Calasparra).

It sure felt like time-travelling when we were taken on a classical tour through the Roman ruins in Carthagena with its breathtaking theatre

and then out around the bay on a guided cruise.

”The past is never dead, it is not even past.“ The great American novelist William Faulkner said so and Comenius teachers and pupils likewise got a vague idea what he meant by that when they came to realize that Cartagena was built by Emperor Augustus – just like Augsburg.
In fact Emperor Augustus can be considered the pioneer of Comenius schemes as he quite obviously was very fond of initiating Eoropean mobilities from the German forests to the sands of Cartagena Bay.

Learning from history - this also applied to the visit of the Civil War Refuge museum in which we got an impressive what life had been like during the Second Republic, the Civil War and under Franco.

After the trip to the concentration camp in Dachau on the occasion of the first Comenius Meeting in Augsburg this journey back into dark and sad chapters of our past contributed to our learning from the past.

Apart from the delights of Murcian cuisine

– which gave rise to the idea of a common Comenius cookery book – our pupils were enthused by the warm welcome and incredible hospitality of their Spanish host families. We had expected to be confronted with the aftermaths of the economic crisis in Spain and we were more than overwhelmed by the generosity and genuine interest that were constant companions of all our Comenius activities.

The pupils enjoyed an international karaoke contest and a quiz based on the peculiarities and cultural phenomena of the individual countries. The cultural highlight in Murcia was the concert of Antonio’s Band DIVINE.

A town treasure hunt, a reception in Murcia’s town hall and a guided tour through Murcia

(remains of the Muslim wall, the Casino), perfectly rounded off a trip to sunny Spain.

In addition to all these activities we found time to discuss the similarities and differences in leisure and culture activities in the individual countries. We decided to accept Antonio’s offer to send the statistics and presentations to a company who would standardise the design for our Comenius website. Eventually there was a pretty blurred vision

of a final Comenius meeting in Augsburg in summer 2014 to present the director’s cut of the documentary on our Comenius project at the 37th Ballmertshofen Film Festival (www.filmfestkuh.de). To make a long story short: the second Comenius meeting in Murcia created great team spirit

as it made us realize how different our individual approaches to opening Doors to Lifelong Learning are and that we still have a long way to go to make all our great expectations come true.

Comenius project Opening Doors
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