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Barcelona 2017

We arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday 24th June and were welcomed by Estrella, our guide for our stay. Giddy with excitement, we arrived at Vilanova Park and were amazed at the chalets we were going to stay in. After being assigned to our chalets, we went for tea and then all went to bed.

 

On Thursday we went to the Sagrada Familia, a huge cathedral that still hasn’t been finished, despite the fact that construction started in 1882. The building was huge with intricate sculptures and beautiful stained glass windows. The influence and innovative design of Gaudi was apparent everywhere as we found out from our guide and the interactive tablets that we took around with us. We then went to Las Ramblas and the Boqueria to look at a very impressive and typically Spanish market with its huge variety of food and produce, before going back to the Park for the swimming activities. After our swim we went for a tapas tea followed by a salsa class which was so much fun!

 

On Friday we visited the Science Museum in Barcelona which had an impressive variety of interactive activities including an indoor rainforest complete with schools of huge piranhas!. We then went to the FC Barcelona Football Stadium for a tour. It was amazing, we had the full tour of the stadium, including the press rooms, the commentary positions, the dugouts and the away team changing-rooms. Then we went for a Ben and Jerry’s. Following our FC Barcelona tour, we went to Parc Guell where Gaudi’s influence is apparent for all to sea. After, we had a surprise trip planned and were delighted to find that we were being taken to the Hard Rock Café! After that we went to the Fountains Show which were lit up and massive. Anyone within ten metres was soaked through. We were much further away but we still had the spray hitting us. After this very busy day we were ready for bed.

 

On Saturday we went to Port Aventura (a massive theme park) for the full day, it was so good because the roller coasters were massive and so exhilarating when you went on them. Even if people didn’t like rollercoasters there was a lot of other rides that were suitable for them such as a water shooting pirate game. Everyone had so much fun and it was definitely worth the one hour coach journey. We went back to the camp early evening and played water polo in the pool and even had a mini tournament which got really competitive really soon! The girls’ netball team proved to be formidable opponents for everyone else. After we got out of the pool we went for a meal where we had a delicious paella and learnt about the romantic story behind its name (‘para ella’ = ‘for her’ eventually became ‘paella’). Once we finished our meal we went outside and had a mini disco which was fun.

 

Sunday was our last day so we went on a bit of sightseeing to the Olympic Stadium, which was also Espanyol’s home football ground until recently, the harbour area and MontJuic again for a picnic. Later we went to the Poble Espanyol which is like a themed village taking in all the regions of Spain. It had a lot of stalls and shops which contained everything handmade. There was also a concert getting going where no one could get in without a blue wristband but some of us managed to squeeze our way in for a quick boogie…..And then it was time to head home to England.

 

A huge thank you to Mr Smith, Mrs Arbelo-Dolan and Ms Sheldrick for taking us!

 

By G. Westwood and E. Fletcher 


Nepal 2017

During the Easter holiday, L. Furse, E. Crowe and A. Gloag had the opportunity to travel to Nepal to trek in the Himalayas and do some teaching in Bungamati School near Kathmandu. Here is their personal account:

 

We experienced the culture first hand, finding it to be a completely different world out there. From trekking up the Himalayas to meeting local people with incredible stories, to visiting the brick works, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking time.

 

At the beginning we spent a few days in Kathmandu, getting used to the climate and altitude. During this period we visited the three schools in which we’d be teaching in later. We also visited a brick factory where we were shocked to find how low poverty levels could go. There were no machines of any sort. Bricks were made by people who toiled away all day at their job.

 

For the next few days a coach took us down to a place called Chitwan where we stayed in a safari resort which was sheer luxury! During our stay we went on a boat and jeep safari and rode and bathed with elephants which was such an amazing and memorable experience. It was sad to say goodbye to this place but we were excited to carry on our trip and start our five day trek.

 

We started the trek a day late because we were stuck in traffic for a whole day because there was a landslide further up the road. The first day of walking was an easy day compared to all the others. The second day was the hardest because we climbed up steps for a full day. Day three of the trek began with our hike up to Poon Hill which was a breath-taking experience and one we will never forget for the rest of our lives. The last two days were mainly downhill and were easy although we ached quite a bit from the previous hills we had climbed earlier on in the trek. Overall the trek was very challenging, but looking back on it, it was definitely worth it for the early morning sun rise viewed from Poon Hill.

 

Another part of the trip that stood out the most was the teaching. We had to plan about 3-4 hour’s worth of lessons for three days teaching to 7-8 year old Nepalese children. This included a crazy Olympics that we organised for them on the last day. We went in expecting them to speak enough English so they could understand what we were saying but they barely knew any English at all! The first day of teaching was very hard because we had made our lessons too complicated so that night we had to sit down and re-plan everything. The final two days were much easier as we had simplified the lessons and we had got to know our children very well.

 

When it came to the time to say goodbye to Nepal, we felt sad to leave it all behind as we realised we may never go out there again and see all the wonderful people we got to know so well.

 

Overall our trip to Nepal has been a brilliant, breath-taking and memorable experience and one we will never forget!

 

L. Furse, E. Crowe and A. Gloag

 

 

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