Saturday, 22nd of September
Our trip to Spain started on Saturday, September 22. To have enough time to check in we met almost 3 hours before boarding started at Hanover airport. That was a good idea, as we would find out later. Everyone was nervous and excited to meet their exchange partner and the other people from the exchange. The parents and also some siblings of all students were there to say goodbye. The teachers had already checked in online so we only had to drop off our luggage.
We had a little problem with it because Annika's name was spelt wrong. However, the teachers solved this problem pretty fast. After the check-in, we went through security. We had not that much time after this so we could board out plane immediately. We flew only one and a half hour and because we were sitting all together we had much fun during the flight. As we landed at London Heathrow the teachers told us to hurry up because we hadn't got much time till our connecting flight to Madrid took off, although we did have enough time to buy something to eat and drink. When we arrived at the gate we were a little bit scared because we thought that doors had already closed.
But we were punctual to enter the bus to our plane. In London, we had 'very British' weather. It was raining. As we arrived at our plane we saw that we would fly with a long-range aircraft so we had screens in our seats. The flight to Madrid took almost 2 hours and we watched movies and ate our food. Our landing in Madrid was a little difficult, therefore some of us felt sick after it. We picked up our suitcases and had much free time till our bus to Zaragoza would leave. We went to a little shop to buy something to drink. We bought something to eat at McDonald's as well. We had much fun at the airport because we were excited to finally be in Spain. Then we took the bus to Zaragossa. Some of us used the time to take a nap because we were tired, especially because of the long trip. We arrived in Zaragossa after a 3-hour bus drive. Our host families waited at the bus station to welcome us. Some of them created signs with our names on it. That was very cute of them. We drove home by car and went to bed immediately because we were very tired.
Sunday, 23rd of September
Today, on the first day in Zaragoza, Spain, all students Erasmus project students met at 11 am on a big square. After a few pictures and waiting for the last students we all walked into the colour spectacle behind the barrier. The Holi-Run Festival was a great experience for us and exactly because of this great atmosphere and party mood we were here today. It was loud, colourful and funny and, with our uniform dress code, a really good activity to get to know each other and start the week with fun.
After all the throwing of colours, screaming, dancing and the 5km long way we had to go to the festival we got free Coca-Cola from the sponsors. We all had an ice-cold Cola in our extremely colourful hands, which felt so good at 36 degrees! At 2 p.m. we decided to walk around a bit and our Spanish hosts showed us a beautiful park with a wonderful view of the city. There were many souvenir photos taken, along with lots of laughter, exchanging stories and conversations to be had. After a side trip to the park, our big group divided into two small groups. One group stayed outside and was still in the park, the second group (including me) met after lunch at the pool of my exchange student. We had a pool party, with 10 other cool people. With food, loud music and a good mood we spent the day until the evening. In the evening, upon returning from the party, I ate dinner together with my host family, feeling right at home and looking forward to the next day.
Montag, 24th of September
Around 3 p.m. we all met at the plaza in front of the Basilica to get instructions for a photo really, which we received a map from the city centre of Zaragoza and some zoomed pictures from sights in Zaragoza for. Our task was to find the sights and to take a photo with the group in front of the sight. Unfortunately, we hadn't got enough time to finish the photo really. After that, we went to the city centre where one group had to conduct an interview with Teresa Artigas. After the interview, we had free time. We spent it in the city centre until 7 o'clock and then we went home.
Tuesday, 25th of September
In the morning we met again with the other students in the school library to continue our projects. I worked together with Myrthe, Fjodor, Victor, Alison, Casandra and Helena and our topic was the high unemployment of young adults in Spain. So we thought about interview questions related to this. Until the fourth lesson, we talked with the other exchange students or already wrote our project reports.
Then my group and I met Eva Durán and conducted our interview with her. After school, we all went home with our Spanish exchange students and ate lunch. At about 4 pm we all met at the Palacio de la Aljafería and waited for our teachers. At the beginning, another group had their interview with a young politician in one of the rooms of the government Parliament of Aragón in the palace. After all the questions were answered and we took a group photo outside, the program continued with an interesting palace guide through magnificent rooms and wonderfully ornate arches. After that, the official program of the day ended and we had free time. Many went to the Gran Casa Mall and Casandra, Helena, Anna, Miriam, Alex, Robin, Andrea, Carla, Myrthe, Elena and I walked to the old Expo grounds. We crossed the Puerto de Tercer Milano bridge to get there. It was beautiful and interesting to see all the buildings and works of arts and we took many pictures for example in front of the sculpture of Alma del Ebro.
It was getting dark and we met the others at the Gran Casa Mall, where we ate together and had great conversations. Then everybody went home and packed their backpacks for the upcoming excursion on the next day.
Wednesday, 26th of September
First, we drove to Canfranc by bus. There we visited the Underground Laboratory of Canfranc (Laboratorio Subterraneo de Canfranc). It is an underground experimental station with three halls for particle experiments in physics. They search for neutrino-less double beta decay and the hypothermic components of the infamous "dark matter". These experiments are located in the Pyrenees in an unused tunnel between Canfranc and Pau on the Franco-Spanish border.
We listened to a report about that, which was very interesting. After that, we visited the train station in Canfranc which is not used any more. But it is still very beautiful. Then we walked a bit on the Camino de Santiago until Canfranc Pueblo (five kilometres). The nature is very beautiful. On the way, we found a cave in the ground. I suppose that is was a bunker. After the little hiking excursion, we drove to Jaca by bus. There we checked in at the youth hostel, which took a lot of time. But then, everybody had a bed and we went out to the city of Jaca. We saw the shops and a big church. Back at the youth hostel, we had dinner and free time after that.
Thursday, 27th of September
On Thursday morning we all had breakfast together at the youth hostel and then left by bus at half past ten. When we arrived at half past eleven in the village of Artieda, we were warmly welcomed and led to the town hall. Here we discussed the different problems of the village in different groups and then explained and introduced them to the other groups. After that, we got a guided tour through Artieda and we were shown places like the field, the youth house and some other houses. Afterwards, we were served homemade food, including lentil soup, chicken legs and ice cream. Everything except the ice cream was produced right there in the village. When we were all full and filled we got back on our bus and drove to a monastery from the 11th century.
So each group of us, all Germans, Dutch, Spaniards and Estonians got a description of the monastery in their mother tongue to understand everything exactly. Around 6 p.m. we drove back to Zaragoza and arrived there at 9 p.m. After such an exciting but also exhausting day we all quickly went home to our host families.
Friday, 28th of September
Today we finished the presentations and presented them. The first was about youth unemployment in Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia and Spain. The second one was about an interview with a worker in the Instituto Aragones de Empleo (employment exchange). The next presentation dealt with depopulation in Artieda. Then there were interviews with teenagers who want to work abroad. Group 5 presented an interview with Teresa Artigas and Group 6 an interview with Violeta Barba.
Everything was well-prepared and interesting. After that we had a buffet in the cafeteria. It was very delicious. For example, there was Tortilla, bread, cake and many more things. In the evening everybody (except the teachers) went to the shopping mile of Puerto Venecia. We all ate together at Taco Bell and Burger King. After that, there were very emotional goodbyes, and many tears flowed, as everyone was very sad to leave.
Saturday, 29th of September
September 29 was our last day in Spain. The Estonian people were the first to leave Zaragoza by bus. Then the Dutch followed so only we, the Germans were left. We met at the bus station and every exchange student with their family was there to say goodbye. Everyone was sad to leave and some of us cried like yesterday. During our bus trip to Madrid, most of us watched movies because we had screens in our seats. When we arrived at the airport we had many hours before our plane took off so we checked in and went to McDonald's to eat something. Some of us also bought some souvenirs. After some hours we finally boarded the plane. We took our last breath of Spanish air and sat down in the plane.
This plane was much smaller than the one we arrived with but it was also fine. While flying we ate some food we brought with us and most of us listened to music. As we arrived in London we bought some water or refilled our bottles. Some of us also went shopping because we had more time in London than the first time around. We had much fun there and at one point the teachers were searching for us because of a communication problem - we were sitting in the chill area laughing because of some silly jokes.
On our plane to Hannover, we had a beautiful view of London by night. All the students were already very tired because of the long trip. Then as we finally arrived in Germany and everybody was excited to drink German water and smell German air again (Yes, we really were!) Ms Zimbelmamn told us that she got an e-mail that said one suitcase was missing and still in London. We first thought it was a joke but when everyone was receiving their suitcases Miriam didn't get hers. Her suitcase wanted to enjoy London a little longer. Our families picked us up so after this we drove home immediately.