My Year Abroad is officially under way and here is my first post from a very hot and sunny Spain (more on that later). Let's bring you up to speed.
So on the afternoon of Wednesday 31st August, I jetted off from Manchester Airport along with my life in a 22KG suitcase to begin my year abroad with a slight detour- a long weekend in Barcelona!
I arrived mid-evening and it wasn't long until I was reunited with Lena, my girlfriend. We were in town to play in a Quidditch tournament (if you're confused by this, read my previous post) called Barcelona Moustaches Time 3. We both attended last year and had a pretty unforgettable time of it so it seemed like a great way to start my year abroad. But of course, we weren't just there for Quidditch. We spent the first two days seeing the sights of the city starting with the famous architectural skills of Antoni Gaudi on the Thursday. In the afternoon, we walked around Parc Guell before hiking up a nearby hill to reach 'the perfect lunch spot' as Lena described it. The top off the hill offered an amazing panoramic view of Barcelona and the surrounding hills, very much proving Lena right (apart from the fact the rock I sat on during lunch said 'Brexit' on it, too soon...)! With its creative architecture and lush green gardens, I can certainly say Parc Guell is a must see when you come to Barcelona.
|Austrian Gardens. Admission Fee- One Austrian|
|Top of the hill|
Next up was the second part of our Gaudi double bill. We headed into the city centre to see arguably the most famous landmark in the city- the Sagrada Familia. Although the outside is still under construction, the inside was certainly impressive with its tall ceiling and the vivid colours of the stained glass windows, especially whilst the sun was setting. I'd love to visit again when it's finally finished.
After a lot of walking on the Thursday, we decided to take things a bit easier on Friday. We met up with friends and headed to Barceloneta beach for the afternoon to enjoy the sea and relax. I even gained a special hair accessory (courtesy of Franky)!
|Showing off the hair accessory that Franky bought for me at the beach. Photo Credit- Jack Lennard|
In the evening, we joined up with the rest of my teammates from the Mighty and Amazing Quercs for a team meal. Afterwards, we headed to watch the Montjuic Magic Fountain light show, an impressive spectacle of light on the dancing water fountain accompanied by music. There shows pretty much every night throughout the summer months yet there was still a massive crowd, it was like going to a music concert!
|Querc team meal. Photo Credit- Jack Lennard|
Saturday arrived and it was time for the tournament to begin. The Quercs went into BMT3 as the two time reigning champions and were in search of an historic third title. We started well by winning all of our matches on the day against Spanish merc team- the Sparcs, hosts Barcelona Eagles and our great Scandinavian rivals the Norwegian Ridgebacks. After a successful first day, this is when things turned sour for me. It had been a very hot day and as a consequence I came down ill with Heat exhaustion in the evening. After seeking medical attention, I was advised to relax which therefore meant I had to rest up and miss out on playing our Quarter and Semi final matches of the tournament on Sunday. It was frustrating for me as I had really been looking forward to playing in the tournament for a long time however I felt much better later in the day and managed to join my teammates for the final versus European champions Titans Paris. We fought as hard as we could and enjoyed trying out some defensive seeking for a change however we weren't able to take a third title with the Titans winning convincingly in the end. For a team who only ever come together for tournaments, I felt we performed admirably against the best team Europe has to offer and I was pleased that I could help my teammates out on the pitch. Later at the after party, I had the chance to socialize including meeting some of my new teammates who I'll be playing with in Madrid and we all witnessed a very special (unofficial) wedding ceremony of two Eagles' players. A great way to round off the weekend.
|The Mighty and Amazing Quercs- BMT3|
The following day it was time to say goodbye to everyone, especially Lena which is never easy, before I got on a bus to Madrid. After a 7 hour journey, I arrived in Madrid before heading out to Alcalá to get my Erasmus year truly underway. Although on a Quidditch front this year's trip to Barcelona wasn't quite as enjoyable or successful as the previous year, it was still a great start to my year in Spain spent in great company. In my next post, I'll tell you all about my life here in Alcalá de Henares and what I've been upto in my first few weeks as an Erasmus student.
Spain- it's good to be back!