We gathered on the side of the road next to the uni. Jack, Brody and I caught up on the bus journey and discovered that Bristol has its own county. The journey was dull as listening to paint dry although it was long enough to spend wasting our phone batteries on apps and games. Before boarding the flight, we needed food and Gatwick was the place for it. We ended up at nandos, sat down and waited for some attention. We waited. We waited some more. Then the lightbulb switched on. Jack had realised we were in nandos. Freaking nandos. We marched to get our meals in a rush and boarded on time but that will forever be known as the “Nandos moment”.
We got to Ainsa in sunny Spain with our luggage. The first day was a walk in the park as we got used to field surroundings and relaxed in the evening. It was Adams birthday so we headed into the town to do some midnight navigating. Once we found a good enough restaurant we ordered pizzas before literally waiting an hour for them to arrive. We ate them all in less than a couple of minutes and headed back to the campsite in the dark.
After a few days in the field, making notes and colouring in, (it’s harder than it sounds) we split up into 2 different groups and went our separate ways. It seemed that we’d missed out on the fun of the other group as Dr Stevie G had found his hammer he’d lost a few years ago. He proclaimed it to everyone, tweeted it and was mighty proud. I think it was enough for him to earn a song from the A14 boys… “Cheer up Stevie G” ended up turning into an anthem for the whole trip.
A highlight of Ainsa was the constant lightening on one of the last nights there. Everyone filmed it as it was going every second. We’d been blessed with great weather for the first few days but we’d rode out luck this time so we sat in our cabins talking of the days ahead. The rat in Jack and Brodie’s cabin didn’t care to join in with the conversation this time.
By the time Day 6 came around we were in beautiful Benasque. As we winded through the edgy roads we saw a different kind of Spain because we were almost in France. For this reason, I was hoping the food was going to be better. I was wrong. On the coach ride to the field site every morning we saw huge marmots the size of beavers. Over those tough few days of mapping, we completed coloured and detailed sheets of the folding sequence. For this the lecturers treated us to a trek to the refuge, close to the highest peak in the Pyrenees. Towards the south there was an awesome glacier, although one cheeky fella from the group decided to run down the mountain we’d just climbed up. Altitude does weird things to people [no human beings were harmed in the making of this blog]. Whilst we were waiting for our lecturer to find him, Ed told us about his distinct dream from the previous night. It went along the lines of Ed and myself being in a fight to the death. I received a crushing blow to the throat from a pickaxe. However, that wasn’t the end of the tale as Luca, our geostructure God, brought me back from the dead. Later that night we hung out with everyone else outside and ended up playing some form of man hunt. It was short lived as we were exhausted from the last 10 days.
The next morning we woke at 3 AM to catch the coach to Barcelona. We arrived there just after 8 AM and waited to board the plane. On the flight out you could see the typical Spanish beaches being greeted by a deep blue sea. In massive contrast to the damp air of England we sank into on the way in. We took a 6 hour coach journey from Gatwick to Plymouth and then I got a lift back home to Wiltshire from my Dad (I don’t know why I did this) totalling the travelling time on that day to over 20 hours.