Saturday, August 18, 2012

Summercamp in Avila: 1 Day later


I'm back in Gran Canaria now, but I though I would quickly describe the end of the journey before typing all this to my computer, so I don't forget it.
Ok, so we finished the ceremonies to finally say farewell to those of us who are changing yeargroup and welcome the new ones.
Then we had a little party with burgers, sweets and music, but I wasn't allowed to eat any of the party stuff due to my previous illness. It was nice anyway.
The the 29th we spent all day getting things ready, like making our bags, folding the tents and cleaning, so by 2 a.m. the next day we would be ready to take the bus to the airport and head back to Gran Canaria.
It was a great trip. I've really enjoyed myself and I feel much more independent and able to survive in the wildness now. I'm really looking forward to next years summercamp, although I know that many other exciting adventures are waiting for me before that.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Summercamp in Avila: Day 13



In the evening we had the festival. Most of the songs were really good and I enjoyed listening to them.
After that we had another firedrill. It was pretty challenging to walk through complete darkness, holding each others hands, through such an irregular path full of stones without falling down.
That night I caught a virus which didn't allow me to sleep, because I had a stomachache and needed to puke. So yesterday I spent all morning in the dinning room, with other 7 people who had the same problem.
At night we had an assembly in which we all had to say farewell to all those who are changing yeargroup.
This morning we tried to do some ceremonies, but the first time we were interrupted by hail and the second one by another storm. We still need to do some this afternoon.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Summercamp in Avila: Day 11



Yesterday was amazing! We started the day with a bus journey, which took us to the "Caves of the Eagle". I loved them. The figures and images formed by the rain, caved in the stone, really allowed my imagination to flow. Although I'm totally against building stairs and installing lamps which change the natural habitad of the cave. For example, the light produced heat which allowed moss to grow around them.
After that we went to visit some natural swimming pools with rocks around it to keep in the water which came from the river. It kept flowing at both ends, so it gave us a pleasant feeling through the movement of the water. At the  end where the river came from, it was surrounded by huge rocks and there was even a small rapid!


We arrived at our campsite at around 10 p.m., ready for dinner. However, an exciting adventure was waiting for us first. At first, it didn't seem like a big deal, just a few droplets of water, silent tears of the sky. But soon these droplets turned into waterfalls, soaking our clothes and our hair. And then we were surrounded by thunder and lightning, which made the younger children run into the dinning room and us towards the tents, to check they were attached to the ground hard enough, so they wouldn't fly away. But soon we found ourselves running to the dinning room to join the others. There we made ourselves comfortable as good as we could with 200 people crowded into one room to have dinner while we waited for the storm to pass and the rain to soften.


Today is the song festival, so we started the day, this morning by finishing the lyrics and choosing a melody. I really like how it sounds, although it's obvious that we still need a lot of practise.
After we all felt like we could never listen to that song again without puking, we did a small break which we used to lay some basebal. It was really fun, but some of us were too competitive, so in the end we spent more time arguing about whether it was a full or a strike and about whether or that player was out, than we spent playing.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Summercamp in Avila: Day 9



After we had been picked up, we went through a 2 hour long bus journey to Salamanca, where we are going to stay for 2 nights. Here the people of the neighbours association "zoe" were kind enough to look for a place for us to shower, do our shopping, cook our dinner and give us 2 rooms to sleep in. We arrived here almost at midnight, so all they expected in return was that we don't make too much noise.
Today, we went to see the beatiful city of Salamanca. I love this place. Not only does it have a great university, but also, it is ful of parks and green spots with wonderful smelling flowers. It's a nice place to visit, although it has hot, dry summers. If you want to visit this city, the most important thing you will need is a waterbottle, which you can fill in at the fountains of the parks and, of course, a camara, which I was stupid enough to leave at the neighbours association, because it didn't fit in my pockets.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summercamp in Avila: Day 8



The hike yesterday was great, but exhausting. The views were amazing, but it was difficult to look around without falling down, because the path was made of rocks, so it was very irregular and difficult to walk through, which made the journey much more challenging and interesting. There were 2 fountains on the way which were really helpful, due to the extrem heat.

Once there, we went to a small pond which was near to the refuge we were staying in. It was great! I really enjoyed swimming there. Oviously, the water was icy. We were very high up in the mountains, after all. There was even a small waterfall above it, which fell onto a rock at around 3 metres high. The climb wasn't difficult,and sitting on that rock was amazing. I felt completely relaxed and in harmony with the water falling gently on my shoulders. I was one of the last 2 people to get out of the water.
On the way back, some of us decided to take a shortcut. It didn't turn out as well as they expected, but better than what I could have hoped for. We kind of came across a small cliff and were too lazy to turn around and look for a longer, but safer way, so we climbed down. I was only wearing a bikini and a towel and I had to carry my clothes and my waterbottle with me, so it was quite tricky and increadibly exciting.


Today we woke up early to walk all the way back to the bus stop, where we will be picked up at 6. Even though we've had to wait for 7 hours here, I think it was worth it. It was so much easier to walk in the morning, when the mountains hid the sun and everything was covered in a pleasant shadow, cool shadow. Also, I'd say the views where better like this.

However, I don't recomend walking before having breakfast. Specially if you are alone. You might feel sick and fall down, which, in this path, could be dangerous. If you want to enjoy your breakfast around the fountain while looking at the views, like we did, you should have a small snack first and make sure you drink enough water along the way.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summercamp in Avila: Day 7



Yesterday was a really busy day, so I will write about it today. We started the day with a fire drill which woke all of us up at 8 and made us go all the way to the river with our noses and mouths covered. It was quite exciting at first, until we were told that it was just a drill.
Then we made an activity in which we 'learned' to cook. We prepared a cake and started to cut some lemons when somebody screamed that our things were flying away. We all ran outside and started fixing tents so they stayed where they were, when something amazing happened: a tornado! Not a big and dangerous one. Just a really small one with hardly any strenght which disappeared again in 3 seconds. Not all of us were fortunate enough to see it, but I was, and the scene is kind of stuck in my head and I've got the feeling that it will stay there forever. For the first time in my life, I've seen a tornado! Come on! How many people can say that they've survived a tornado?
We finished checking all tents. This took quite long, as all younger groups had gone for 2 nights and there wasn't even half of the people of the group there. After the work we enjoyed a luxurious lunch with lemonade and cake. Of course, before that, we still had to make the lemonade, which ended up in a big lemon battle in which everybody challenged each other to eat the spare lemons. I can proudly say that I was between the 4 people who started this by eating a quarter of a lemon all at the same time. I don't really get what was so challenging about it. I think lemons are delicious. But the other 3 looked as though the were going through the worst kind of torture that they could imagine.
After lunch (the cake was delicious) we had some free time, which I and a few boys used to continue writing a song for a festival, which we had started the day before.
The last event of the day was the game which some people in our group had prepared, which was like a treasure hunt, following hints, answering questions and facing challenges like singing with our mouth full of flour. My face ended up full of paint and my hair full of flour, but I think it was definetly worth it.
After that it was time to pack. We are staying away from the camping site for 3 nights.
Today we woke up at 7 and had to organise some last minute things so that now we are on the bus, on our way to the place where we will start our 7km long hike to a lagoon at the 'Sierra de Gredos'. I've heard the views are good, but it's going to be tiring to carry my stuff for 7 km. Specially because we are hiking up a mountain

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summercamp in Avila: Day 5



Yesterday was really cool.


I had a plesant surprise before the campfire. While I had been working on my construction, another group had built a gate and we all helped lift it.

Turns out, it's an old custom to trick new people during this process. I was told to go to the kitchen and fetch some salt and oil. While I walked away everybody started screaming that I should hurry up, because it was really important and I really needed to hurry. So I had to run to the kitchen, convince one of the workers, who seemed really anoyed at my request, to provide me with these ingridients and hurry back trying not to spill any of the oil over my boots, while everybody started screaming at me again. They wanted me to spill half of it in every hole in which we had put the sticks to 'make the earth denser, so they wouldn't fall'. And they were all surrounding me, trying to make me do both at the same time. Needless to say, the oil and the salt were useless. Did I know they were pulling my leg? Obviously. But I allowed them to have some fun. I had been warned about these types of jokes which were done each year to the new ones. I'm actually relieved, because I had given rather worrying examples like putting toothpaste on my face while I sleep or hiding my sleeping bag in the forest. Oh! By the way! I'm not new. I joined the scouts in October. I'm allready in my participation stage and I've done 'The Promise' to be recognised as a scout worldwide. However, this is my first summercamp, which makes me not the 'new' one, but the one who has no experience with traditions only used in summercamps, so she won't suspect anything. But the 'new' one is shorter, so it's what lazy people use to answer the question 'why me?'. However, this still doesn't answer the question, as there are 5 'new' ones here and I'm the one of these 5 who has been here the longest.

The campfirenight was also amazing. Althought there was no fire, as I had expected. Every group made a small play and we presented them with some characteristic sketches between their auditions.

After it we had another incidence worth mentioning: a battle between two tents, mine and the one next to it. I share the tent with another girl and 4 boys. Two of the guys from the other tent tried to get in to fight with those boys and I managed to keep them outside for 10 minutes on my own, until they managed to open it. And only because they opened a space big enough for their arms and started tickling me. Ironically, those are the the only other people from the scouts who are in my class. Why didn't the boys hold them back? I sleep next to the door, so I was the only person who was there fast enough to hold them back. And after they saw that I was strong enough to do that, they didn't bother to stand up and help me anymore. After all, it was 1 a.m.
Today we have done some activities. We started with one to cut T-shirts with an amazing result. I really enjoyed it, and now I'm looking forward to trying out some more techniques when I get home. I can't do it here because:
1. I don't have scissors.
2. I only brought one spare T-shirt with me, as we were told that we would need one.
After that we had an activity about racism, which included a debate, some work with newspapers and some sketches. I played a muslim woman in one of them and one of the boys who attacked us yesterday was my husband.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summercamp in Avila: Day 4



Yesterday we continued our day by planning the campfire night, which is today, helping the youngest group with their tents and playing some fun games.


Today has been really interesting. We tried to do some constructions in the camp. I participated in the one in which we put together the outer part of 4 old and broken temts and making some kind of roof which had to be big enough for all 40 of us to find shelter under it.
Of course, this was the most difficult construction, but I wouldn't be me without allways being looking for a good challenge.
First we had to connect the tents. This was the easy part. We rolled stones between the tents to have something to use as a starting point to tie the rope around them. Then we started to connect some of the metal sticks to lift the tent. This wasn't as easy as it sounds. We didn't nearly have as many sticks as we needed. In fact, we had to give up and start again and still didn't manage to create a comfortable environment under the tents. Then Saralden, one of our scouters, suggested to go into the forest and look for wood sticks to use those instead. We found some which were thin enough so the man I talked about yesterday would let us use them. Here's where the hard work started. We hadf to cut and sharpen the tree trunks. Then we had to burry one end and tie the other end to the tent. The wind seemed to have decided that he didn't like the noise we had done cutting, and would get his revenge by messing with our work the point where it was impossible to be inside the construction without getting hit from either side by the stormy tents.
But after a lot of hard work we completed it. Well, actually, we've just done the main structure. We might add some details later.

But this afternoon there is something completelydifferent planned. It's campfire night and we need to prepare for it. I'm really looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Summer camp in Avila: Day 3



Yesterday I was interrupted by dinner and didn't have the chance to keep on writing.
Ok, so yesterday our first task was to rebuilt the tents at different positions. Due to the fact that we only had a 4 hour sleep, we had the rest of the morning free.

In the afternoon (after some more free time which we spent playing poker) we had a harder task. We had to move huge tree trunks through the forest to use in theconstructions we would build tomorrow. This was trickier than I had expected. We carried them on our shoulders, but this was hardly imposible, as we all had different heights. Also, they were heavier than I had imagined.
After we had brought 4 of them to our campsite and were eager to shower, a man appeared to talk to us. It turned out that he was the one who had cut those trees and their owner. He asked us to return them to the place wher we found them.


After breakfast we decided to go swimming in a river which is near to our campsite. Sadly, I've got my period, so I can't join them. Almost everybody is in the water now, and I've discovered that taking photos of people while they jump is kind of fun. And it's not going to be the last time we come here, so I will have another chance to swim.


Ops! I forgot something! Yesterday we were told that apart of cows and bats, there is another animal walking around which we should know about: Vipers.
Poisonous snakes. Although they are not deadly for humans, their bites are dangerous and victims need to go to the hospital inmediatly. We are supposed to be checking our stuff with sticks before taking it, because they are small and could be hiding under those objects. I haven't seen anybody do it, yet.
When they told us, I thought it would be really excitng to see one. On our way to the river we found a dead viper. I thought it was pretty cute, actually, except for the fact that it was dead. It was dark green and black, quite long, but rather thin. Although I know they are dangerous I can't help but wish to see one alive in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer camp in Avila: Day 2


The bus journey yesterday was longer than I had expected. We stopped at an inn around midnight to have a drink and stretch our legs. The plan was to stay there for 5 to 10 minutes and then continue. However, once outside the bus, the fresh air and the space were too big a temptation for us. We ended up leaving at 1 a.m.
Later we arrived at the end of the journey around 2, only to find out that we still needed to walk a big deal in the darkness on a path that was full of bats and, surprisingly, cows. And, of course, it was dark. So dark, that hardly anybody could find their lamps, except for those of us (including me) who had been intelligent enough to look for them in the bus.
Once we arrived at the camping site, we still had to get the tents ready. After all this messy process we finally went to bed (sleeping bag, actually) around 4.30 a.m.