At 2.30am on an October morning, a sleepy group of second year girls from Presentation Secondary School left Kilkenny for Dublin Airport, en route to Barcelona.
The bus ride to the airport was a quiet one. Most of us were in shock at having woken up so early in the morning, but when we saw Terminal 2 ahead of us, it finally began to sink in: The Pres’ girls were officially on tour!
When our plane landed in Barcelona, we got our bags and hopped on a bus straight to the centre of the city. We got off the bus at Las Ramblas, the central street of Barcelona, and were allowed a few hours free-time to find our feet.
We then made our way to our hotel in Salou. The minute we arrived, we dumped our suitcases in our rooms and went off to explore the hotel and the many stalls and tourist shops of this seaside town.
The next morning we were up bright and early, and headed to the Cosmo Caixa science museum in Barcelona. We watched an amazing 3-D presentation on evolution before looking at the amazing and mind-blowing experiments in the museum.
We went to Nou Camp – the home of Barcelona FC – where we had a choice: a tour of the Nou Camp stadium or ice-skating in the adjacent ice rink. Later, tired but satisfied, we returned to our hotel and spent the evening relaxing.
The next day, we went on a guided tour of Barcelona and learned more about the history of the city and its surrounding regions. We also visited La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s most famous church designed by Antonio Gaudí. The architecture was amazing!
Following on from there, we went to a huge shopping centre by Barcelona Port where we spent many happy hours shopping. That evening, we went bowling in an amazing glow-in-the-dark bowling alley.
The highlight of the trip for many people came on Sunday in Port Aventura – one of the most popular theme parks in Europe. We got the opportunity to go on Europe’s largest rollercoaster, ‘Shambhala’, which is a jaw-dropping 76 metres in height and also the “Dragon Khan” rollercoaster, which has eight 360° loops- not for the faint-hearted.
The next morning was our last day in Barcelona and it was with great sadness that we made our way to Montserrat – a famous Benedictine monastery high in the mountains, where we admired the beautiful views.
In the afternoon, we hopped back on the bus for the last time and said goodbye to Barcelona. Before we knew it, we were back in Ireland.
I would like to thank all the teachers who came with us and made the trip possible – especially Mr Hallahan, our principal, whose organisational skills made the whole trip such a huge success. While we’re sad that our trip is over, we will always have our memories (and photos).