I had a truly lovely week at Pueblo Ingles. All the people were really nice and the venue was fantastic. It's tiring having to talk so much, especially as I was (apparently) the fastest talker in town and had to keep slowing down...
We had breakfast 9-10, a buffet of almost any breakfast you could want. Then 4 hours of chatting - for the 1st 3 you get one Spaniard per hour, but you must give them a 10 minute rest at the end of each hour. (It's really hard for them as Spanish is completely banned all week). For the last hour it's a 2-2 session, they give suggested topics but the main thing is just to talk naturally and correct systematic errors.
Then it's lunch hour when you can choose from 2 dishes, but there are 2 courses and dessert and a bottle of wine per table. Then siesta until 5 when we gathered again for group activities.
This is usually some kind of TESOL game like 'all those who', or your group must invent a fantasy product along with ad (which you must act out), jingle, poster etc. Or you may have to choose the next leader of the world from a set of personalities, etc. There will be a certain amount of performance to do but it's always comedy ('Ladies, are you always tired when your husband comes home? Just slip new Super Drooper in his tea and your troubles are over!' was one example!) and there are costumes, and it's only a couple of minutes, so don't worry, it's a scream.
Then you will have some more one to ones or a presentation to watch, or you may have to do a telephone conversation. You get one of these hours during the week as free time.
After that there was some kind of entertainment provided by Anglos or Spaniards, then dinner: more lush food and wine, then the bar opens and you are encouraged to hang out there and chat more.
We had two excursions into La Alberca, the nearby medieval town which is lovely and full of history. The scenery was beautiful and enough to give mental relaxation despite 100 hours of talking! We had dinner in town twice and learned to drink from la bota - the leather bag of wine - what a rush!! I managed 19 seconds, but the Spanish could do over a minute no worries.
All in all a great time for the cost of the flights and two nights in a cheap Madrid hostel. The MC, Richi and the PD, Marta were really nice and without their understanding it would have been hard for me on the Wednesday when it was the 1st anniversary of my father's death. They made everything ok; I would definitely go again, and I would surely recommend it for anyone - you learn how to listen! Very important - and how to explain a word without translating, and some useful classroom activities.
The Spaniards in the group were almost all from Madrid and they are still arranging to meet up in bars and have mini Pueblo Ingles for more, regular practice. Everyone has eachother's email, which you can opt out of, and there is a group site on Photobucket, so everyone is still in touch.