Posted by Jim on April 30, 2012
Speekee fans might recognise these two: Joe and Maggie, the siblings who appear in each episode. We see them immersed in Spanish culture, having fun at the fair, at the zoo, in school etc.
Seven years have passed since their arrival in Spain.
Maggie is a fine linguist, and Joe is a budding actor.
Posted by Aaron on April 28, 2012
The gorge at El Chorro, Andalucia, is a world famous destination for climbing and is perhaps best known for “Camino del Rey” – King’s Path – the precarious and dizzyingly exposed walkway perched high on the side of the gorge.
Only a one hour drive from Malaga we were able to take a trip there last weekend – arriving on Friday night, climbing all day Saturday and Sunday, and getting the flight back home from Malaga around 9.30pm Sunday evening. ¡Perfecto!
Finished in 1905 the walkway was constructed to provide access to the workers who were building the hydroelectric power plants at El Chorro. A railway tunnel also runs through the rock of the gorge, peeking out from time to time. The walkway gained its name after the visit of King Alfonso XIII around 1921. It is built of a thin layer of concrete resting on steel rails, and despite having many holes and being generally in a poor state of repair, seemed to me to be in pretty amazing condition given its age.
There are many climbing routes in the gorge but these are less popular than they once were with the focus of climbers shifting to crags such as Frontales and Las Encantadas outside the gorge. In fact, we travelled through the gorge on Camino del Rey, but our destination was the crag of Los Cotos, at the North end of the gorge. To get to Los Cotos you take the walkway until a path leads down through a tranquil orange grove and easy river crossing, after which a tunnel under the railway takes you to the base of the climbs. I say an easy river crossing, but by the time we made the return trip the river was much higher (I guess some water had been released from the dam above) and the crossing back was more exciting.
A steel wire runs above the walkway, and equipped with a climbing harness this allows you to navigate the walkway “via ferrata” style. There are a couple of steps where the concrete has fallen away and I was glad to be clipped into the wire:
Thanks to Maggie at Casa Magel for looking after us in El Chorro.
Posted by Jim on April 23, 2012
This week we are still visiting an authentic Spanish classroom. We worked on “Who is it?” and “It is…”, also “Who are they?” and “They are…” This activity uses a cute worksheet in which the Speekee actors’ faces are blurred out a little and your child guesses who they are. I thought this was a neat idea. We also watched a Dino and Lupi sketch a few times, before muting it and attempting to speak the dialogue on our own. My favorite phrase is “Te quiero (I love you)”. My 3 year old has so much fun watching the Speekee videos. My 10 year old enjoys the extra activities, like acting out various scenes and dialogues.
Posted by Aaron on April 11, 2012
We rolled out a bunch of improvements to Speekee TV yesterday. Most of these are behind the scenes technical things but you will also notice a smoother user experience.
Perhaps the most obvious addition is the “Sign out” link which now appears in the top right hand corner of Speekee TV:
A lot of people told us that it was inconvenient to enter their username and password each time they use Speekee TV. So now the system will keep you automatically logged in. If you do want to log out then you just need to click “Sign out”.
Posted by Jim on April 10, 2012
This week we started the lessons on “La Clase”. We watched the video and enjoyed seeing inside a Spanish classroom. We drilled on introducing ourselves with either “I am …” or “My name is …”. We also practiced handing each other items while taking turns with “Toma”, “Gracias”, and “De Nada”. My 3 year old preferred to watch the short clip and say the phrases along with the Speekee children. This week’s lesson also includes a short song to introduce us to several prepositions and school supply terms. We all found ourselves singing along with the captions turned on.
Posted by Jim on April 9, 2012
Every year, as Easter Week comes to a close, Arcos de la Frontera hosts the Día del Toro. The Day of the Bull. Well, two bulls actually.
The first of these is let loose on the main street in town at 12pm, and then another is released at 3pm; by which time the alcohol has worked its magic on so many ‘brave’ onlookers that they fancy their chances as amateur bullfighters.
They say every picture tells a story. Here’s one showing yesterday’s action:
You get the idea, don’t you?
Bull chases young men down street for a while.
It’s a day of high excitement, loved by my kids!