Having landed in Barcelona airport, we were warmly welcomed by Viaró's Head of Lower School, Mr. Toni Safont, and he took us across the city to the school. Upon arrival, we were introduced to our 'hermanos' for the week and given a tour of the school by the boys. From there, we were picked by our designated families and taken home where we initially struggled to put our Spanish into practice. The families were very friendly and made sure we felt at home straight away.
After an early start, we arrived at Viaró and then took a bus to the centre of Barcelona to visit the vast Sagrada Familia. We were given a guided tour (fortunately in English) of the basilica and given an insight into the Spanish culture and genius of the architect Antonio Gaudí. It is still under construction and aimed to be completed in 2026 - the centenary of Gaudí's death - including 18 huge towers, one of which will measure 172.5 meters high. We were all in awe of the beauty of this famous church; we definitely didn't expect it to be so spectacular. After this, we headed over to Park Güell. There, we were designated with the task of taking various pictures with the public and looking around the fascinating area. Then, we returned to our houses exhausted and happy to have a rest after a tiring day.
This was probably the most anticipated day as we visited the home of FCB which was Camp Nou. We were given a tour taking us around all the VIP areas including the tunnel, the changing rooms, press facilities and the commentators box. We were all mesmerised by the 100,000 seat stadium and the huge amount of history and passion associated with the club. Some of us spent a small fortune in the 'Megastore' and then travelled back to Viaró to play the first leg of the eagerly anticipated 'Inglaterra vs España' in Viaró's impressive football pitch. We concluded that the only way we had a chance to win this football match was to use our rugby physicality to our advantage. We ground out a 1-1 draw despite the Spanish referee's intentions! This was a great activity and we feel we can win the second leg at Radley. After having lunch, we had a literature session where we learnt, among other things, about Cervantes' acclaimed Don Quijote. It was difficult to understand but our 'hermanos' helped us. Afterwards Mr. Dionis, Head of Studies, gathered us all in the library to give us a wonderful surprise. The school had managed to get Barcelona FC banners signed by three players and a photo of Messi signed by himself especially for us. We were very excited and grateful. Around 5pm we all went home (most of us by train or bus).
On our last full day, we went to visit the traditional and beautiful Codorníu winery, founded in 1551. We were led around a network of tunnels and tracks underground on our own personal train. We were able to smell the flavours of the wine and taste the fresh grape juice during our visit. We learnt about the process of making cava with our friendly guide Alex. After lunch back at school, our generous hosts gave us a pin with the logo of each of their teams (which is their equivalent to our social ties).
We had to be at the airport for 8:40 and our families took us there. We were sad to be leaving the friendly boys of Viaró, we said our goodbyes and set our sights firmly on winning the football match when they come to Radley at the end of the month.
Thank you to Mrs Porter and Miss Hurley for organising such a great trip.
Report by Will Barker, D Social and Angus Tufnell, G Social