Update from Barcelona!

We’ve won one and we’ve lost one in Barcelona. Our first game against Sant Adria and our second against Premia de Mar proved to be great experiences for our experienced and youthful squad. With a core group of returners back for another crack at the Centennial, joined by a talented ensemble of first year players, we’ll be ready to rock and roll sooner than later.

However, it’d certainly be an understatement that the style of play in Spain isn’t, quite literally, rocking and rolling—our competition has challenged us to hold pace with a quick and aggressive style of play. Also, a few major differences in the rules and regulations have emerged; for example, the standard is a 24 second shot clock, which differs from the 30 seconds we that we use in the States. We have shown great poise in navigating the different norms…

The day that we had today, filled with a Tapas Cooking Lesson and a Dance lesson, also required us to show composure and confidence in new environments. With the help of some awesome chefs, we whipped up chicken and vegetable paella, a custard dessert—Crema Catalana, a spanish omelette—Tortilla Española, and a couple of delicious appetizers. Then, we burned some of the calories by learning some moves of the Flamenco dance, a music tradition that also involves singing, guitar playing, and handclapping. Although we were silly, each experience that we have had thus far has allowed us to grow and learn about this region of Spain.

Tomorrow, our last full day in Barcelona, is no exception. We are looking forward to visiting Montjuïc Medieval Castle and then facing off against team, Joventut Les Corts, for our third and final game.

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The Valor of Las Montañas in Spain

As the tour bus navigated the winding and narrow AND steep road leading to Montserrat, I panicked. The breathtaking view of Spain that grew increasingly farther away in the distance did nothing to cease the pounding of my heart. My teammates reached to comfort me but they also cackled. And although they did not have the same reaction, for many such as myself, this was the first time exploring at the peak of such a massive and majestic mountain.

“A journey is best measured in friends, not in miles.”

-Tim Cahill

Today is when I began to realize that this trip is not merely a vacation or a “boot camp” as I joked many times during the hike—it is a journey. A winding and narrow AND steep road that figuratively describes the process of constructing and maintaining a team, the friendships that are formed, the hardships that are negotiated, and the adversities and achievements that are experienced.

More details on how our first peek at competition went tomorrow! Adios!

 

 

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It was a muggy day in the Barcelona heat…

Our team had the pleasure of participating in a Hidden City Walking Tour in the heart of Barcelona. The tour, an initiative to create jobs for the homeless, started in the city and ended with a Tapas Lunch at the Chiringuito de Dios soup kitchen. Later, our team also had the opportunity to practice in a training session with a local team, similar to the Special Olympics that we host annually back at Haverford. It was a long yet fulfilling day—one that gave us time to reflect and share thoughts as well as laughter.

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Bienvenidos from Spain!

Bienvenidos from Spain!

This morning marks two days since the Cheetah Squirrels have arrived in Barcelona, and the trip has been amazing thus far. Sorry we haven’t been able to send an update sooner…we still can’t believe that we’re actually across the ocean in La España!

While it may feel surreal that we are so far from Haverford’s campus, ball is always life—one of our first activities was getting in the gym at a nearby indoor facility for practice. We couldn’t be more excited that our season has begun!

Basketball aside, we’ve certainly enjoyed the area of Sitges, where we are staying. It’s so relaxing to take a stroll through the cobblestoned sidewalks and sand-covered boardwalk, and simply ingest the traffic of Spain’s citizens weaving in and out of cafés, small stores, and businesses. Today we ventured outside of the area that hosts Hotel Subur, and enjoyed the scenic views of Park Güell, a public park with beautiful gardens and architecture. Check out one of the most important sites in Barcelona here!

Soon after we embarked on an arduous trek along Carretera de las Aigües at sunset. The beauty of this country is indescribable!

However, if you surveyed the team, you would evoke mucho excitement at the recent experiences we’ve had with the food. Whether its a hot cup of expresso or a refreshing scoop of gelato, HCWBB is living our best life out here in Spain. Although, we did have an interesting encounter last night at dinner that demonstrated cultural differences in portion size. After taking a peek at the menu, decorated with an assortment of impressive Italian style entrees, we decided to place a few orders of pizza to share as an appetizer. This prompted our waiter to “highly insist” that it was way way way too much for a group such as ourself to eat…and let’s just say the language barriers certainly did not help us understand each other better. He talked a lot about calories and carbohydrates and consulted his co-workers in a panic…our only counter-argument was that maybe we’d surprise him…

A quote from sophomore, Megan Furch: “Just like everyone in our conference, he underestimated us. But we still prevailed. Maybe next time he’ll estimate us.”

Okay, that may not be the most straightforward statement! Let’s just say we “savagely” devoured the delicious thin crust pizza, topped with mozzarella and ham, and still had space for the pasta that followed. Not only are we mentally and physical tough, but we are also more cognizant of how even simple aspects of life vary from country to country.

Oh, and it’s not everyday you get to see a woman juggling with flames in the middle of a street in Ardmore, just saying!

Another update coming soon. Shout-outs to our head and assistant coaches, Bobbi and Addie, our trainer, Kelsey, and our tour guides, Cristian and Coral, for joining us for the ride!

Hasta la vista!

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2017 Trip to Barcelona

The Haverford College women’s basketball team will be spending a week in Barcelona with the team departing on Friday, October 13 and returning on Friday, October 20. Read this blog written by team co-captain Sierra Berkel ’18 to keep up with the team’s experience abroad.

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Last day in Ireland: Cliffs of Moher, Gallway, driving down the coast

For our last day in Ireland, we got on the bus bright and early for our drive west across the country from Dublin to the Gallway area. Our first stop was the famous Cliffs of Moher. Eroded over time from the waves crashing against the shore, the cliffs are quite a sight. Once again, our weather was clear, sunny, and beautful – so much so that we could see New York!! (Just kidding.)

2013 at the Cliffs of Moher

After the Cliffs, we took a drive down the west coast of Ireland, making some stops along the way including a cemetery, a shipping village, and a massive beach of stone that was deposited by a glacier thousands of years ago.

We drove the four or so hours back to Dublin and then enjoyed our last night in the city!

We’d like to give a huge thank you to our tour guide, David, for all his help, knowledge, and guidance throughout the trip. It was a blast and wouldn’t have been the same without him.

Also, thank you to all those at home who helped to make this trip possible. After planning for over a year, there are many names who should be on this list!! We truly appreciate your generosity and kindness. It was an experience we will never forget. Now let’s get the season rolling!

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Walking Tour and Shopping in Dublin, Final Game

Just like our city tour of Belfast, Dublin was beautiful and historically fascinating. We had another day of perfect weather as we walked around the city. We walked through Trinity College, saw the Guinness factory, went into the Parliament building, saw the National Irish Bank, and various churches and cathedrals.

At Trinity College

After our tour, we went back into the center of town (some of us via carriage as seen above!) to do some shopping. In between high fashion stores and souvenir shops, many of us grabbed something to eat at local food places and a delicious bakery right by our hotel. After a busy afternoon, we left for our final game in Ireland against a team from Killester. We played well and won 53-37.

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First day in Dublin!

This morning we took a two hour drive south from Belfast to Dublin. We all were able to catch a few minutes (or hours) of shut eye before we arrived at our cultural sports clinic for lessons in Gaelic football (which uses kicking, hand passes, and bouncing of a volleyball-type ball) and Hurling (a combination of field hockey and paddle ball of sorts). Continue reading

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Last day in Belfast: Carrick-a-Rede, Giant’s Causeway, Port Stewart

For our final day in Belfast, we explored the natural beauty of Northern Ireland. On our way up the Coastway, we passed Dunluce Castle before arriving at the famous “Carrick-a-Rede”. We were super excited to cross over the rope bridge, but as luck would have it, a crew arrived earlier in the morning to replace the rope bridge .. which they do once every five years! But we took the opportunity to enjoy what it looks like when they are doing work on the bridge! And even though it was a tad gray, we relaxed while walking and taking in the sights of the coast. Continue reading

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Pictures of the first hours of the trip!

Pictures as promised!!

Gurty found Lauren Cheney (Women's Soccer 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist) in the airport! Great start to the trip.

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