Bustling in Barcelona
/ Categories: Student Newsletter
Viktoria Malabuyoc reports from the recent Y10 trip to the Spanish capital...
Before dawn on Monday, 7th of October, I flew into Barcelona, Spain. The flight itself was a comfortable one and three- quarter hour journey and we landed just on time: I, however, did not anticipate how different the weather would be! I stepped out into the gorgeous sunny heat of El Llobregat Airport. Keep in mind, we boarded the plane in pitch black cloudiness.
On day one we travelled to our Hostel. Simply by driving past in the coach, I noticed how beautiful the city was. It was a mix of modern architecture and traditional old apartments with balconies – I felt like I was watching a movie. When we arrived, we were given a key and a Wi-Fi password – thank goodness! – and were sent off with our chosen roommates to our assigned rooms. The hostel itself had a small communal area for socialising and rooms accommodating up to seven students for the boys and up to four for the girls, and we luckily had individual plugs for our own chargers, which saved us from having to fight over a single plug! We left our luggage there before walking to a shopping centre nearby to grab a bite and shop (essentially free time, we were allowed to split into groups of at least five with our friends!)
My friends and I spent the entire two hours finding a McDonald’s and struggling to order! We got there in the end after a quick Google Translate and an awkward ‘Gracias’!
The next activity was a guided half day tour through Catalonia, which we reached by Underground. The Underground was very familiar – similar to London’s Underground, but with humid, hot air that makes it hard to breathe! Thank goodness for the air conditioning within the train. A political movement was happening at the heart regarding Catalan independence from Spain. Patriotic flags of Catalonia hung proudly from the balconies and apartments, and people grouped together chanting for independence. You could also see where the city’s heart was and how it was built outwards over time. At the heart, you could make out the old traditional apartments dating years back, even an old library. As you walk more, the roads change shape and begin to widen, and more new shops and accommodations that were built more recently can be clearly seen, the contrast prominent.
After our tour we were treated to a Spanish (obviously) Tapas meal at a restaurant accompanied by a Flamenco Dance performance. The food was delicious; bread with sliced cheese and cured meat placed on top; creamy potato filled croquettes; Spanish Omelette complete with diced potato; Seafood Paella with fresh fish and the list goes on. I personally loved the croquettes!
Once we arrived back, we weren’t allowed to leave our rooms, and were told to simply go to sleep.
As we had been instructed, me and my roommates woke up at 7AM, but 6AM UK time as Spain was one hour ahead. I was dubbed the room mother as I woke everyone up in the morning to dress up and eat breakfast. Meeting in the communal area we ate our breakfast – a buffet of all you could dream of.
Our first destination of the day was Camp Nou Stadium. Now, I’m not going to lie – I am not a football fan so I can’t fully appreciate this part of the trip, but I can say the view from the higher seats is amazing and terrifying at the same time. We all had the privilege of sitting where the reporters usually sit to write about the matches – a booth in which there are no windows and you could easily fall out if you weren’t careful! Inside was a museum showcasing the many games that the stadium held. Many people who went on this trip could easily tell you that their favourite part was the merchandise shop at the Stadium, where they cashed out three quarters of their money on football shirts and sports gear, even photos! Later, we travelled to the beautiful La Sagrada Familia, a Catholic Basilica situated in Catalonia. I could confidently tell you that pictures absolutely do not do this beauty enough justice, to truly amazing experience it you would have to go inside. The architecture and artistry are impeccably stunning, and the contrasting colours combined with the sun make the interior feel ethereal. Every little detail had significance – and these intricacies are also a fault. La Sagrada Familia is still an unfinished piece of art and is still in progress. There are still towers to be built, and they had to find a way to build it with wind and stability in mind. Antoni Gaudi was still building this masterpiece before he died. I hope that I see it finished in my lifetime!
Surprisingly, these days passed by fast! We moved hostels and arrived at our new destination in the evening. Our new hostel was very near the coast, and more specifically a seaside. The hostel was a four star one, and you could really tell as soon as you walked in. Maybe it was the marble floors? Or the chandeliers? Anyways, we were set in rooms of only three this time. We had a balcony overlooking an outdoor swimming pool which to my disdain, we weren’t allowed to swim in, a large curtain to drape over the glass doors to the balcony and three perfectly firm beds. Perfect for a well-earned rest!
On our last day we had a geography trip planned, running over the whole day. We took the coach to the Volcano Montsacopa, which was equivalent to the time it took on the plane trip from Manchester to Spain. I was not prepared for the hike up the volcano side and was completely exhausted and out of breath by the time we reached the top. However, the view was worth it. The volcano itself looked just like your average mountain, as it had remained dormant for a few thousand years. We did sit inside a considerably large crater though!
Later, near the museum we grabbed lunch in a park. We ate our grilled sandwiches and messed around for a bit, before we had to regroup and enter the museum of the volcano’s geology. The highlight to me was a mini movie about an earthquake which scared us by shaking the whole room, sort of like a mini ride. I believe it was to demonstrate the spontaneity and unpredictability of earthquakes, and the point sure came across well! After an early finish, we made our way back to our hostel.
Since we were early, our teachers decided we could go to the seaside. People took their shoes off to step into the waves, but then it quickly escalated to kicking water at each other to then getting fully submerged into the sea! For a while, my friends and I sat below sea level, letting the waves drag us little by little. This is one of my favourite parts of the entire trip because it was super fun with all my friends.
My roommates and I packed our luggage again for the duration of the evening and morning, which entailed two of us sitting on each bag and the other person zipping it up. We girls brought a lot of clothes! We had a smooth journey back, although there was an hour delay, at least we had that hour to roam around the terminal. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and I wouldn’t have wanted it to go any other way. I built and developed friendships, learned things and experienced living without my parents for three days!