August 12, 2017

Term 3 / Year 1 Round UP: part 2

Soon after, I felt daring enough to try a solo trip after two group trips and I booked tickets for Spain. From the onset, I was extra cautious and planned out every single detail of my trip so as to ensure I would not waste any time. I made it a point to visit every place that Barcelona was famous for, the highlight of which was the Basilica la Sagrada Familia. Designed by Gaudí, it was truly breathtaking even though unfinished, and left me thinking. Firstly, about the fact that my money was well-spent, and also that it was a very peaceful place and truly embodied the atmosphere that I would expect in a church (although it was made accessible to tourists).

Basilica la sagrada familia
This picture barely depicts the beauty of the Basilica la Sagrada Familia in real life.
Spanish flag
View of the highly dense city that is Barcelona, atop Montjuïc Castle, with the Spanish colours flying high in the foreground. Probably my favourite picture.

Thereafter, aching to do something absolutely adventurous, I took a 3 hour bus ride up to Andorra, a country located in the Pyrhenees mountains, and sandwiched by Spain and France. I expected much from Andorra and it absolutely did not disappoint. From the start to end, I was constantly greeted with smiles and natural greenery. My main purpose in heading there was to scale Pic de Coma Pedrosa, the highest mountain in Andorra, standing at a height of 2943m. I was not confident at all, but my Airbnb host, Gabriel, was extremely friendly and offered to accompany me on my hike up.

Gabriel and me!!
Gabriel, your friendly neighbourhood Airbnb host. He even prepared sandwiches for us to snack on, without asking! Such hospitality is common in Andorra.

While I would love to say that I managed to reach the top of the mountain, the sad truth is that we were a bit slow and had to head down before the sun set and we lost visibility. But we didn’t turn around before reaching the Refugee Hut, an intermediate resting area built and catered for hikers who were caught in inclement weather. It was well-stocked with water and food, displaying the welfare that the citizens in Andorra display for each other.

Refuge de Coma Pedrosa
2260m doesn’t sound so bad, doesn’t it? This was at the Refugee Hut.

Overall, I must say that my trip to Barcelona and Andorra was an ideal first solo trip experience! Really enjoyed it and might visit again if possible.

Back in Warwick, I pulled together a couple of flatmates with a common interest in watching musicals – we then made plans to watch a full day of musicals in London! This was a lot more exhilarating than expected. ‘Wicked’ at the Apollo Theatre in the afternoon, a short break and then ‘Mamma Mia’ at the Novello Theatre in the evening – truly a treat for our eyes and ears. The idea of taking a fascinating childhood tale and one of my favourite artistes, and putting them them into a musical, and then watching them both was absolutely amazing.

Wicked:Mama Mia @ London
Selfie outside the Apollo Theatre!

We enjoyed the experience so much that we would have stayed another day and watched another two, if only our wallets allowed. Even on the train back to Coventry, we were already making plans for another musical day-out! Hopefully that happens soon.

However, good things must always come to an end, and the first year was over in a blink of an eye. Looking back, I am proud to say that I have definitely made the most of my first year at Warwick. I was able to meet new people, travel to places I’ve only dreamt of, learn so many new things about myself and those around me, all while studying abroad! Suffice it to say, not many people can say that they have had this experience, and for this I am truly grateful. Summer will be over soon, and by then I will be recharged and ready to take on Year 2!

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