SUmmer Story: Bigger, Better, Stronger

AEGEE-Cagliari proposed a SU, based on sport and boat trips, to give twenty-five young people from every part of Europe an unforgettable experience. Its entire title was “Bigger, Better, Stronger: Sardinian Challenge”. Thanks to the work of very experienced AEGEE members, the Sardinian Antenna organised an event which made the participants love the island. The journalist Matteo Lai was an organiser of this overwhelming event and told us something about it.


foto8Have you ever thought to unify some of the most beautiful beaches in the world with sports activities? AEGEE-Cagliari proposed a Summer University where participants could enjoy the Sardinian sea with some rare classical and new games, such as Bubble Sumo, Kayak, Military circuit. The participants spent some days at the sea, not only swimming a lot, but also listening to music on a boat, for example. The main organiser and coordinator of the SU was Thomas Muntoni, AEGEE-Cagliari’s Internal Vice-President.


He could count on the contribution given by seventeen organisers, some of them very young members of the Antenna: Alberto Unali, Alessio Usai (Logistics Responsible), Antonio Pintus (External Vicepresident and Games and Activities Responsible), Antonio Cicalese (helper, AEGEE-Salerno member, and Games Responsible), Fabian Raab (Drivers Responsible), Fabio Pilloni (Treasurer), Federico Aru, Francesca Amelia Zorcolo (President), Lorenzo Ligas (PR-Responsible), Marco Augugliaro (Meal Responsible and FR-Responsible), Miriam Muntoni (Games Responsible), Nicola Motzo, Paola Letizia Murru (Secretary and Incoming Responsible), Roberto Perra, Silvia Liciardi (HR-Responsible and Social Programme Responsible), Valentina Atzori (Sessions Responsible), and me, as IT-Responsible, Cagliari City Tour Guide and Driver.


foto5There were often two very experienced members, Sasha Ghorpade and Davide Lecca, essential to cement the group. Already during the second day the participants tried our Military circuit organised by Federico: you can think about some training for soldiers adapted to civilians. The final result was surprising because all guys managed to complete every task ordered by the teacher on the grass of Pitz’ E Serra Park.


The authors of this sports miracle came from every part of Europe: Goran Borovcanski (Macedonia), Dayana Tzvetkova (Bulgaria), Aleksandra Icic (Serbia), Djordje Ristic (Serbia), Kimberly Beijersbergen (the Netherlands), Félix Laencina Escobar (Spain), Albert Podraza (Poland), Olivera Lukic (Serbia), Marian Vavrynchuk (Ukraine), Laura García Rueda (Spain), Santiago Navarro Román (Spain), Furkan Ocak (Turkey), Vasiliki Andrioti (Greece), Valerie Bond (the Netherlands), Elena Barinova (Russia), Fatma Jasmine Hazirlar (Turkey), Valerie Schlickovà (Czech Republic), Ferenc Màthé (Hungary), Edina Marton (Hungary), Mandy De Graaf (the Netherlands), Philip Laeborg (Denmark), Carmen Gálvez Estévez (Spain), Alexandra Kurilova (Russia), Darnel Lloyd (Dominican Republic).


foto1On the same day (Monday 1st of August), the participants enjoyed an excursion to the Devil’s Saddle with the essential help of Roberto Mastromarino (Mastro, for friends) who accompanied the participants up to the top where there were two tables with lots of cold beers as an aperitif to enjoy the sunset and admire a breathtaking panorama of Cagliari. The day ended with the traditional Pub Crawling at Cagliari’s city centre. Both the organisers and participants had a lot of fun, also thanks to the kind of tasks included in the alcoholic game, like promoting our next Network Meeting with a short video or repeating some embarrassing Italian words [I laugh].


The 2nd of August was my birthday and the day of the City Tour in Cagliari: my international friends followed me through the Roman Amphitheatre, Saint Efisio’s Church, Yenne Square with the statue of Carlo Felice of Savoia, Viceroy Palace, Saint Remy Bastion. They were entertained with some games to make the city tour a bit funny, such as reproducing the word “AEGEE” with their bodies and singing their national anthems where many people passed by. I believed they would be tired after one hour and a half of walking but they were really strong, and Mastro helped me showing them other sides of the historical part of the Sardinian capital.


Then, we had lunch in a restaurant near Saint Remy Bastion, where my birthday was celebrated while eating a cake slice and singing a song “built” with my first and last name. On the evening we moved to Selargius, a town close to Quartu S. Elena (the place of the accommodation), where our friends discovered the Bubble Sumo: you have to push three other people away from a circle, while all the players are inside a huge plastic ball. We organised a Bubble Sumo tournament which was won by Valerie Bond. As we were in a football field, we could not resist the temptation -because we are Italians- to play a football match with two mixed teams of organisers and participants.


foto9After everyone danced in a disco at Poetto beach, named “Lido”, they woke up and went to a place called “Marina Residence” for our Cooking Workshop about “ravioli”, introduced by Sasha and his grandmother. The European students were involved in preparing this kind of pasta and, after two hours, their bodies were covered in flour. We got full of ravioli and we went to a beach ten minutes away from the location of the workshop to attend a lesson in canoeing; even though it was forty degrees in the shadow [I smile]. It seemed that the participants did not feel the high temperature.


Do you think our friends were tired and wanted to sleep? Not in the least! They were ready to get crazy at our Pool party in Borderline, near Cagliari. That party was considered to be the best of the entire Summer University by all the participants: not very often you can drink a cocktail, dive in a swimming pool and dance to cool music with a deejay set by Valentino Poddie (Poddi for friends) until four o’ clock in the morning in an amazing location like the Borderline. On the 4th of August, it was time for a new sport: Brasilian Ju Jitzu, in a gym of Quartu S. Elena. The teacher explained the basics and some movements of this martial art so that the participants could begin to throw each other on the floor for an hour [I laugh]. Moreover, our friends could not stay in Sardinia for twelve days without visiting one of our best cellars, the one in Dolianova, where they tasted some of the sweetest wines in the island and they ate “malloreddus” (or gnocchi), a Sardinian traditional pasta. They also discovered the best Sardinian beer, Ichnusa.


foto2Have you ever danced reggaeton on commercial music on two connected ships while you sip a spritz? It is possible and our participants did it. Our friends danced a lot at”La Paillotte”, a very famous club close to the Devil’s Saddle, in a place called Calamosca. The European hosts not only visited Cagliari, but also Villasimius and Cuglieri. In particular, they sailed with a touristic ship named “Matilda” along “Donkey Head” beach and Cabbages Island. It was one of the most awesome days in the SU, many people dove from the ship and made a lot of selfies with their mobile phones. In Cuglieri’s wood, organisers and participants celebrated the European Night. It was also an occasion for drivers to relax and not get worried about the lucidity of our participants, because the place of the European Night was only ten minutes away from the accommodation (inside a monastery) walking. In short, we did not need to use any taxis.


On the same day, we spent some hours on the Mari Ermi and S’Archittu beaches. On the last day, the organisers received a real surprise that they would not ever expect: after the votes for “The Best of”, as it normally happens at Summer Universities, Philip handed over a plastic table, on which participants had written the name of the organisers with some messages and congratulations for the hard work in preparing the event or of feelings about our beautiful land. It was a clear signal that they had really appreciated our programme and even, despite my impression [I laugh], Valentina’s lessons about AEGEE structure and Civic Education that were held in the gym. I was with a group that understood the aim of the event: the importance of practising some sports with a right diet (the Mediterranean one). Among those guys I met some really special people that I hope to see again very soon somewhere in Europe. At AEGEE-Cagliari SU there were also some love stories, of course, but the details will remain a secret among the protagonists of this magnificent hot event.


Written by Matteo Lai, AEGEE-Cagliari.