Travel Summer University Barcelona and Valladolid: a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

By | October 6, 2014 at 12:00 pm | European Events, Summer Universities | Tags: , , ,

There you are, in the air somewhere between your home country and the Summer University. Destination: two unforgettable weeks. Valladolid, June 20th 2014. As we arrived, tired from the more or less long travel, we just had the time to put down our luggage and choose a spot to place our air-mattress and we were immediately thrown into some ice-breaking games! One, two, three… twenty-five… twenty-seven… confusion! Who is a participant? Who is an organizer? Well, after two hours of games we knew. And we even knew their names, the nationalities, the likes and dislikes of everybody. I should use these methods to study.

In a few days we discovered most of the history of Valladolid (hey, did you know it has the oldest University of Spain and that it used to be the capital city?). We could appreciate the art of the sculptures (some had a very unique gender), and we were frightened by the Christian traditional Pentecost procession! We left Valladolid after some days, in a cloudy morning after a night we will always remember (or not) as Sexy Tequila Night, with a large Spanish vocabulary thanks to the lessons of our awesome organizers (¿Quieres follar? Contigo no, ¡bicho!). In Peñafiel we discovered the charm of a non-globalized old village, with its particular Plaza del Coso and the beautiful Castle with a view of the landscape, but we also discovered that old traditions of a population may go against our own ideas.

The big surprise has been Rioseco, for the first time in a week we could sleep in a real bed and eat real, handmade food (made with love) for the European Night. There we had one of the best days (and nights) of the SU: we could show our wild side during a morning of canoeing and cycling, our intellectual side through a visit to the old mill and our dark side, that had been unchained after dinner, during the European Night. We found out that trying to drink from each bottle on the same night is not such a good idea, even worse, is trying to play “I have never” and revealing all your darkest secrets without being able to remember it the next day.

After that we came back to Valladolid and the next day we took the train to Barcelona. In Barcelona were welcomed by new organizers that had set up a fresh dinner for us. It was nice to have dinner, lunch and breakfast outside, in the garden of the school that hosted us. Barcelona is a big city, which we explored by playing games. We have had a gymkhana all along the passage de Gracia where there are many works of Gaudì of which we found out curiosities and noticed little particular things that usually are not mentioned in tourist-guided tours. We also entered the Sagrada Familia, where the pleasant voice of the audio-guide led us under the column of this epic construction. We were shown The Gothic Cathedral through the history of Enrichetta, a thief of children, brightly performed by our creative organizers.

In Barcelona we also enjoyed the beach and the sun, when the weather finally decided to let us down. The beach of Sitges was definitely worth the visit. Despite the crowd, the village is nice, full of good ice cream shops and the sea water was very clear. We finished visiting the city with a bike city tour, where we revisited the wonderful Parc de la Ciutadella; the one we visited the first day when it was raining. When it is sunny, everything looks even more beautiful.

We got very instructive lessons about the culture of Catalunia. We finally knew how to insult each other in Catalán (ruuuuuuc) and we tasted the liquor Melody (a liquor made with Catalan cream) and the brioche. We were true gluttons, when the organizers prepared us an original delicious paella. Everybody agreed that it has been the best gift they could have given us. Every morning we experienced the consequence of the wild night life for which Barcelona is so famous, so sometimes loud music was not enough wake us up. We needed an explosion and we did get a true explosion. We had the true explosion on the last day, but of feelings, when we had to deflate our mattresses, put away our things, say goodbye and go back home. But we did not have to leave with nothing: we got to bring home a big suitcase, full of new experiences and memories, but with enough space for more awesome experiences like this one!

Written by Chiara Langianni, AEGEE-Firenze and Serena Zaccà, AEGEE-Leiden

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