Hello from Barcelona!
By Madalena Rowan
After only practicing for five days, it was exciting to see new friendships and bonds develop, as well as improvements being made on and off the court. With three new freshman joining us on this trip, it provides an excellent opportunity for them to open up and show their personalities before the school year begins. We all can already see they mesh perfectly with our team.
Before we knew it, it was June 7th and we were all so ecstatic about this journey we were about to embark on. Two plane rides later, we arrived in Barcelona. As soon as we stepped off the plane, the reality of being in a new country hit us. Some of us were functioning on little sleep and others learning to cope without wifi. The bus ride to our hotel was very different from anything you would see looking out your window in the Unites States. The buildings and architecture is so aged and has a beautiful gothic look to it.
We are fortunate to have a wonderful tour guide group helping us explore these new foreign countries. One of our tour guides is from Manchester, New Hampshire, and another graduated from Southern New Hampshire University. It was really cool to be a whole ocean away from our school but have the opportunity to be led around a foreign country by a group of people who are from the same place as us. The tour guides presented us with really cool Under Amour shirts with "Barcelona & Rome 2016" on the back, and every time we will wear the shirts we will think back to this amazing opportunity we experienced with our teammates, coaches and staff.
One of our tour guides began our bus trip with a lengthy quote about the beauty of being a traveler. It is important to look at everything with an open mind and not to hold one culture above another, but rather to see them as unique and different. He urged us all to maintain an open mind and to look to gain knowledge from every experience.
Our first "American" moment was when we all arrived to our designated rooms, upset and disheveled that each of our spaces had no power. The outlets didn't work, the lights wouldn't turn on, and worst of all – the air conditioning was non-existent. Little did we know, Europe is very environmentally-conscious, and all power in the rooms can only be accessed if the room key is inserted into a slot in the wall in order to not waste energy.
After coming to terms with these new foreign ways, we were off to dinner only a few minutes from the hotel. Options varied from Gazpacho soup, Beef Stroganoff, steak and chicken. Everyone had fun trying each other's dishes, and although not everyone was a fan of the "different" foods offered, it was a unique experience to try something new.
After dinner, we had about forty minutes to get ready to go downtown Barcelona. All thirty of us played a long game of follow the leader as we weaved our way through the underground metro system which brought us to the center of Barcelona and one of the most famous areas of the city: La Rambla. The famous tourist attraction is a long section of the city made for only pedestrian use. It follows the beautiful gothic streets that feature unbelievable architecture dating back many, many years and are lined with hundreds of shops varying from food places, souvenir shops, and rising junior Catherine Stinson's (Lynn, Mass.) favorite stop – The Shoe Store. The night was topped off with a gelato stop on La Rambla, where the team ordered gelato ranging in flavors from Nutella to pistachio to exotic options like Red Bull. Everyone had fun exploring in small groups for the evening before meeting back up at 9 o'clock to return to the hotel and call it a night. After a long day filled with traveling and exploring, the SNHU women's basketball team will sleep well tonight.
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