Thursday, July 23, 2015

Final mobility: trip to Cornellà (Catalonia)

"All things come to an end" goes the saying, and it does indeed for our project "Communitek: melting distances".

Cornellà has been our last stop in this 2-year adventure our 5 European partners have dabbled in. It's only been 3 days, but what an intense stay! We've had a hectic activity programme (at 35 degrees in the shade!) involving a large party of people of up to 82 people counting students from all countries, school administrators & teachers.

Thursday July 2nd
The first delegation to arrive was the Belgian one, which started their programme, right after landing with, a treasure hunt around Barcelona guided by some of the Catalan French-speaking students.

The rest of the partners got to Barcelona at different times during the day but they all showed up on time for our first dinner together at EOI Cornellà. For the moment there appeared to be no clouds on the horizon until we got a message form Nicky: the Greek delegation had gotten stuck at an airport somewhere in the center of Europe and they wouldn't be able to make it. However, we all put on a brave face and moved on as planned: we sat outside on the school's playground, had our first meal together, used all possible languages to communicate with  our new friends from different parts of Europe... But right after dancing to the 'Time Warp', a cheerful choreography the Catalan delegation had prepared to welcome the European guests, and right before calling it a day, the Greeks showed up, dragging their luggage behind them, exhausted... but happy to join us in our last dance! The whole Communitek family, reunited - at last! 

Friday July 3rd
Day 2 started with a brief presentation of Catalonia by Laura, Eulàlia and Marc, who introduced European guests to the Catalan culture, its people, its customs and its language. 

At 9:45 we all got on a coach which took us to our fist cultural visit: la Colònia Güell, an industrial colony built in 1890 under the supervision of artist and architect Antoni Gaudí, where Montse and Mavi, two Catalan students who speak both English and French, prepared some activities for all of us to learn a bit about the Art Nouveau style in Catalonia and to discover one of Gaudí's very first yet impressive works of art: the Cripta Güell Church. 

Our second stop was in Sitges, a small charming fishermen's village where some of us dared take a refreshing dip in Mediterranean waters, had lunch on the beach and then ventured on a self-guided tour of the town divided into mixed-nationality groups.

We finished the cultural visits with a stroll in Cornellà de LLobregat, where local students took our visitors to their favourite places in town.

As soon as the sun set (and temperatures got a slightly benevolent after such a long flaming day), we all got dressed in white ready for our last dinner party. Local students had prepared some of the most typical Catalan dishes for foreigner to taste along with some good country whites and reds to enliven the evening. 

From then on, we had a cultural quiz the Belgian delegation had prepared to test how much project partners knew about each other. Later we watched a digital photo album with all the images we had put together from the very beginning of the Communitek project. Partners exchanged thank-yous, farewell hugs and presents and firework announced the last surprise the evening had been keeping in store: we went to see the rehearsal of a local Human Tower group which performed several Human Towers (or 'castles', as Catalans call them), delighting an excited and expectant audience.

Saturday July 4th
On Saturday morning we had both an language lesson (Catalan or Spanish for absolute beginners) and a cooking workshop, where we prepared some of the dishes we later on had for lunch.

Before tasting our own recipes, and in order to whet our appetite, we all gathered outside around the huge tree on the school playground to learn how to dance 'sardana' (a Catalan group dance) and 'sevillanas' (another popular dance from the south of Spain which Marta and M. Carmen improvisedly taught us).  

Later came lunch (that one we all prepared with our own hands!) and soon off we were on a treasure hunt that would take us all over downtown Barcelona  and require us to answer some general knowledge and cryptic questions about the city and its history, take photos of buildings and perform various  team tasks

The finish line? Right next to the magic fountains of Montjuic, a crowded attraction in Barcelona but also a refreshing end after such a marathon-like treasure hunt!

It was nearly 10 pm when we all got there. We took our final group picture with the lighted dancing fountains as our scene setting and we headed for a local place nearby to kick back and have a bite together to celebrate a fruitful visit, a successful international project and the prosperous bonds which have blossomed after these 2 years working and learning together.

We'll keep in touch, dear friends!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

And finally... Barcelona!

So. ..... At 7am we set off for Manchester airport with new adventures in store and old friends from Chester to meet and new friends from Barcelona, Finland , Belgium and Greece to meet. It's odd, it always feels like we should do the trips before the tasks so we know the people we will be working with....

We landed in Barcelona and could already feel the heat! Marta gave us our first adventure to get us from the airport to Barcelona by public transport! As most of our group are older and would normally grab a cab - using the train and metro proved challenging for some! Why couldn't we grab a cab? Where we going? What ticket did we need? .... What language were they speaking!?

We eventually arrived after a lovely serenade from a Saxophonist on the train which was enough to drive Grant insane. The hotel was a further 15 mins walk or so and boy we could feel the heat ....what a group we looked! Old and "younger" dragging cases through the streets of Barcelona....hit and tired before the weekend has started!

We met for a quick glass of wine and some tapas and chatted over the adventures to come. We didn't have a clue what was in store. We needn't have worried. Our friends looked after us superbly! We learnt how to speak Catalan! How to make Spanish food and watched the others playing twister!!..... At least there were no presentations to do (phew)!!!!

There were some real highlights.... The Colonia Guell, the architecture was amazing! The beach (we could have spent all day there!!!!!!!!) chatting in both languages in the sea! The dinner all in white was fun, the food was amazing! ...Marc had even made a front room in front of the tree outside. Nice Touch! Watching the human tower practice was incredible... I could go on! 

For me whilst the trip was amazing the best part is we have stayed in touch ...our "whatsapp " group "amigos" has created a legacy where we will remain in touch with each other's lives, things of interest , cultural differences and it brightens a wet and dreary English autumnal day to hear from our friends abroad!

Dave Furnival

Monday, July 6, 2015

Trip to Cornellà (Communitek's last mobility)

Cooking workshop

One of the activities we organized for all partners to get a taste of Catalan cuisine was a cooking workshop in which Eulàlia and Jose introduced some easy-to-make finger-licking dishes we later on had the chance to try at lunchtime.

Here are some of the recipes in Spanish and English for you to download: