Intro|Intermediate|Practice lessons for teachers Starter

Read about Benidorm and answer the questions

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Benidorm in the 1950s

One man’s dream

In the 1950s Benidorm in south-east Spain was a small fishing village. But the mayor of Benidorm, Pedro Zaragoza, had a dream. He wanted Benidorm to be a big tourist town. He started to build hotels. In the 1950s in Spain women couldn’t wear a bikini on the beach. Mayor Zaragoza changed the bikini rule in Benidorm. In 1959 the first tourists from Northern Europe started to arrive…

Answer the questions

1. Was Benidorm big or small in the 1950s?

2. Who was Pedro Zaragoza?

Listen to a journalist talking to a local historian. Complete the information about Benidorm

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Interviewer Mr Soriano

Interviewer: Mr Soriano, what differences are there between Benidorm today and Benidorm in the 1950s?
Mr Soriano: There are very big differences. For example, today there are 65,000 people who live in Benidorm. In the 1950s there were only about 3,000 people.
Interviewer: Wow! That’s a big difference! What about tourists?
Mr Soriano: Today there are four million tourists a year. In the 1950s there were only maybe 300 tourists. And they were Spanish. Now tourists come from all over the world.
Interviewer: Was there an airport near Benidorm in the 1950s?
Mr Soriano: No, there wasn’t an airport then. Today there is a big international airport in Alicante, which is only 50 km from Benidorm.
Interviewer: How many hotels are there now?
Mr Soriano: There are 128 hotels in the town.
Interviewer: That’s a lot! And in the 1950s?
Mr Soriano: In the 1950s there were only three.
Interviewer: Benidorm is famous for its nightlife. How many bars are there?
Mr Soriano: About 600! In the 1950s I think there were maybe only ten bars in the village, and there wasn’t a supermarket, only some little shops. Today there are264 supermarkets and hundreds of shops.
Interviewer: Thank you, Mr Soriano.
Mr Soriano: You’re welcome.

Look at the sentences in Benidorm today and Benidorm in the 1950s.
What is the past of there is and there are, and there isn’t and there aren’t?

Benidorm today Benidorm in the 1950s
There are 65,000 people living in Benidorm. There were only 3,000.
There are four million tourists a year. There were 300.
There’s an airport 50 km from Benidorm. There wasn’t one.

there is → there was

there are → there were

there isn’t → there wasn’t

there aren’t → there weren’t

Listen and repeat the examples. Then read the rules

There was a station. There was a road.

There wasn’t an airport. There wasn’t a swimming pool.

There were some hotels. There were ten bars.

There weren’t any big shops. There weren’t any tall buildings.

Was there a park? — Yes, there was
Was there a shopping centre? — No, there wasn’t.

Were there any hotels? — Yes, there were.
Were there any restaurants? — No, there weren’t.

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Write the sentences in the past

Roleplay a conversation about a holiday. Answer your teacher’s questions

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You went on holiday and you stayed at the Sea View Hotel. You had a very good time.

Read the information about the hotel.

Sea View Hotel ***€50 a night

swimming pool ✓ (and a children’s pool)

restaurants ✓ (two, very good)

a spa ✓(fantastic)

a gym X

beach ✓ (very beautiful)


Did you have a good time?

Was there a…?

Your teacher went on holiday last week too. Ask your teacher the questions

  1. … you have a good time?
  2. Where … you stay?
  3. … there a swimming pool?
  4. … there a good restaurant?
  5. … there a spa?
  6. … there a gym?
  7. … there a nice beach?
  8. … it expensive?

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You went on holiday and you stayed at the Palace Hotel. You had a terrible time! Read the information about the hotel.

Palace Hotel **** €400 a night

swimming pool ✓/ (but very small)

restaurants ✓ (one, food was very bad, service was very slow)

a spa X

a gym ✓ (but closed!)

beach ✓ (10 km from the hotel)

  • One man’s dream
  • Benidorm
  • There was/there were
  • Good or bad holiday?