We have arrived at the final week of the Traveling Classroom: the week in Montañita. I will be staying here for three weeks in total. On the schedule: studying Spanish, learning how to surf, and a lot of relaxing.
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Sunday: a day on the beach of Montañita
We arrived on Saturday in the afternoon in Montañita, but we didn’t really do much after that. All of us were tired from the trip. Some of us went out though, because the Saturday night is the party night of Montañita. I didn’t go.
On Sunday, we decided to just make it a chill day and go to the beach. After three weeks of mostly rain and wind, we loved the sun! The beach is beautiful and really nice. We rented some chairs and parasols and just did nothing all day.
In Montañita, I’m staying in the Cabañas. This is a beautiful hostel with dorms, but also private rooms. There is a main area with a small kitchen, and which chairs and tables, and hammocks. All over the property – which is not that big – are hammocks to chill in, and all the rooms have hammocks in front of them as well.
The hostel also has a pool and jacuzzi, which is amazing because the weather is really hot! There are more chairs beside the pool to sit down on and read (which I did, a lot).
Monday: Spanish, work, surf and dinner
On Monday, the real deal started again. We had to be at the school at 7.45 a.m., which is a ten-minute walk from the Cabañas. We got a small introduction about the school, and then our classes started at 8 a.m. If you have a class at 8 a.m. (until 10 a.m.), you get breakfast at school. This consists of a croissant with butter, and juice.
After class, I went back to the Cabañas immediately, because I had a meeting for work. I did the meeting, worked a little more, and then made some lunch. We had to be back at the school at 1 p.m. for our next class.
The classes here take two hours, and there are two classes in total per day: so four hours per day. When you have the classes, depends on the schedule on the week. You either have classes from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. and 1 p.m until 3 p.m., or you have classes from 10 a.m. until 12 a.m., and from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. This week, we had the first option.
Then, there are surfing lessons every day. Because I do the Traveling Classroom, I have 5 lessons in total. These surfing classes are before or after your Spanish classes, depending on the schedule. This week, our surfing lessons were from 3 p.m until 5 p.m.
Because it is Monday and there are new students at the school (us), there was a welcome dinner as well. The dinner was at a really nice restaurant, and we went with a really big group. Afterwards, some people were going out (Monday is also party-night in Montañita), but I didn’t go.
Tuesday: the Monday on repeat
On Tuesday, I did the exact same thing as on Monday: Spanish, work, Spanish, surfing. All the days kind of look the same here, because the schedule only consists of Spanish lessons and surfing lessons. Then, there is also the occasional activity, but not every day.
The surfing went better today than yesterday. I was actually able to sort-of stand up (yesterday I wasn’t), although not fully. I can tell that this isn’t really my thing. I still like it though, and my favourite part is to just stay low on the board while catching the wave.
At night, we made dinner with a lot of the students in the Cabañas, and we made pasta. It tasted really good. Afterwards, we played some card games. Because there are a lot of Dutch girls, we taught everyone how to play “Bullying” (Pesten), which was fun!
Wednesday: party at the Hidden House in Montañita
On Wednesday, I decided not to go surfing. I have five lessons in total, and I stay here for three weeks. Even though the surfing lessons are included in the Traveling Classroom, I don’t have to use them all in the same week.
In Montañita, you can party every night if you want to, but there are four nights that are known for their awesome parties: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I didn’t go on Saturday and Monday, but I pinky-promised F that I would go at least once this week. That was today.
The hostel next to us, Hidden House, was throwing a party. For $6, you could enter the party, and use the open bar until 1 a.m. There were three cocktails to choose from: Cuba Libre, Mojito, and another one.
The party was really fun. It was outdoors, and there were some activities to do, but you could also just chill if you wanted to. I spend a good amount of time at the beerpong table. You didn’t actually have to drink beer: you could just drink from your own cocktail.
Most of the time, I was just waiting for my turn and cheering on the others. M and I played in a team once or twice, and we were actually pretty good. It was fun, but after a while we were a little bored and so we just sat down and enjoyed our drinks.
When the open bar closed, some of us went to a club, Caña Grill, to see what was going on there. It turned out to be kind of boring, so we went back to the Hidden House. We chilled there for a little bit. M and I then decided to just sit on the beach with a cocktail.
Thursday: learning the word “chuchaqui”
I had heard of this word before, but today was the first day that I actually experienced it (a little bit): chuchaqui. This is an Ecuadorian word that means “to be hungover”, or “hangover”.
It wasn’t too bad, but I did feel a little tired when I woke up. Therefore, all of us spend the day just relaxing and doing the bare minimum. I didn’t go to the surfing class today either.
A, F and I didn’t go to class in the morning, because it was way too early. I haven’t really missed a class before because of a party the night before, but here, it is actually normal to skip class on Thursday morning.
Skipping the Thursday morning class does have consequences for the next day though. You have to pay for your absence. Literally.
Friday: rooftop bar drinks at the Montañita Spanish School
Our school has a very nice rooftop bar, where there are drinks almost every Friday. A and I had to buy a bottle of alcohol because we skipped the Thursday morning class. We bought a bottle of tequila, some limes, and a bottle of Coca Cola.
During the day, we had our regular classes. I went surfing again today, because on Saturday, we’ll have a surf trip. Then, from 6 p.m., the rooftop drinks started. A and I were a little later, because we first had to buy the drinks, and then we took a shower to clean up after the surfing.
From the rooftop, we could see the sunset, with a nice view over the beach of Montañita. We talked, drank a little, and danced to some Spanish (and Dutch!) songs. After 9 p.m., most of us were quite hungry, so we decided to get some food. R and I got a pizza at “the $3 pizza place”. It has an actual name, but I’m not sure what it is.
The night ended around 11 p.m. for me, because I was tired from the whole day. I went to bed on time, so I would feel totally fine for the surf trip the next day.
Saturday: surftrip to Las Tunas
On Saturday, we went on a surf trip to Las Tunas. The drive to a nearby beach was about 40 minutes. Most of us were crammed into a van (and some of us went by taxi). The ride was not too comfortable, but it was very cozy.
I expected the surf trip to contain a lot of surfing, but it was actually more relaxing at the beach than it was surfing. The tide was not good at the moment we arrived, which was around 10 a.m. The waves would be good for surfing around 2 p.m, and so most of us just waited for that.
We all chilled in the hammocks and chairs, and on our towels on the beach. The nearby restaurant served us some fruits, and we could buy drinks there as well. A lunch was included on the trip. I shared rice with vegetables, and chicken, with A.
When it was finally time to surf, everyone went in the water immediately. There were no surfboards left, so I had to wait a little bit for my turn. I didn’t mind though, because I liked watching the others surf. Eventually, I also went in the water and tried to catch some waves.
We all watched the sunset afterwards, and then we went back to the Cabañas. The day was really chill but also very hot, and therefore tiring. We all just ordered pizza to the Cabañas when we got back, from the same place as yesterday.
At night, we went out (again), but not for too long. I think we were all tired from the long day, so we just danced for a little bit and then went back to the Cabañas.
Sunday: doing nothing, again
Sunday is for resting, and that was exactly what we did. It was a chill day of working, swimming, sleeping and reading. I went to the store and bought some food for myself for the rest of the week as well.
In the evening, some of us went to a restaurant that apparently makes the best empanadas. I went with them and tried it for myself. Now, I cannot say that they are the best empanadas, but they are really good!
After dinner, we just went back and had an early night in.
And that was my first week in Montañita! The next two weeks will most probably also look a little like this. The blogposts therefore might not be too long.
It was the last week of the Traveling Classroom as well. F already left to go to the Galapagos, a group of Islands in Ecuador. M has moved to another hostel; R has moved in with a host family; and L will leave on Tuesday.
At least I still have A at the Cabañas, who will be here for another week. After that, only R is still in Montañita, although not at the Cabañas but in a host family. I really hope I get to see all these people again some day!