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ONU Band Sends Notes from Spain

Nov. 20

After a long day of travel, the half of the ONU Marching Band on the Lufthansa flight has made it to the Gran Hotel Colon. The showers are luxurious, the beds are firm, the pillows are fluffed, and the view from level eight is fantastic!

-Renee Sammet

 

After two really long flights, we managed to make it to Madrid! We went touring and saw amazing buildings, including the bull fighting ring and Beautiful Corner. The Gran Hotel Colon is nice and all of us are very excited to go sight-seeing again tomorrow.

- Hanna Burke

 

We got through the airports pretty smoothly with no issues. When we got to Spain, we loaded the buses and took a tour of Madrid. There was a lot to take in and many of us were taking notes trying to plan out our free day tomorrow. When we made it to the hotel, we were all tired and starving. A group of us decided to find a tapas restaurant and try some local cuisine. None of us spoke a word of Spanish, so this was quite the experience. We all ordered tapas, which is basically a Spanish “mini-meal” made of appetizers. We tried literally everything and it was all good…our favorite, to our surprise, was the calamari. After the meal, we retreated to the hotel for much needed naps and showers. At dinner, we wanted to try something a little nicer, but couldn’t find anything close by, so we just stopped in a café. Three of us played it safe and ordered sandwiches, but my buddy ordered something random and ended up with a plate of cheese! After dinner, we had a group marching band meeting, then went to bed to prepare for the next day.

- Aaron Joshua Purk

 

Nov. 21

After a fantastic breakfast, a few of us decided to go to Sol. We encountered a 100,000 person protest in the town square. Our group returned for a siesta and went out at 5 p.m. to visit the Prado Museum. We came back for a group marching band meeting in preparation for tomorrow’s performance. Afterwards, our small group had a wonderful dinner outside in Plaza Mayor. The evening concluded with a friendly game of cards in the hotel room.

- Renee Sammet

 

Today was a free day in Madrid. The hotel breakfast was pretty good. After breakfast, we got showers and went downtown to check out the museums. We saw the Prado, the Museum of Natural Science, and the Sophia, which houses a large Picasso collection. After lunch, we came back to the hotel for siestas! Sleep is good; we are still suffering from jet lag. Today, we also went to the world famous Museo del Jamon – the ham museum! It’s a restaurant that is really good, serving nothing but ham. Four of us ate for only eight euros! After another group marching band meeting, we decided to hit the town for a night of fun.

- Aaron Joshua Purk

 

Nov. 22

Today was the day of our first performance at a Division 2 soccer game. We began the day with a “refreshing” start…as we were practicing on the field before the game, the sprinkler system turned on! We performed a pre-game show and performed again during intermission…both were a success! The crowd applauded loudly and enjoyed our music, marching and visual effects. The home team lost the soccer game, but it was a great time nevertheless. We returned to our hotel around 3:30 for more exploration and we checked out at 5, as we were supposed to board busses for an overnight trip to Barcelona around 10. However, our plans drastically changed…

- Hanna Burke

 

I began to feel the effects of food poisoning around 8 a.m.; others in the band progressively started experiencing many of the same symptoms as me as the day went on. The hotel staff was not impressed with more than 100 people in their lobby, waiting to figure out why so many people in our band were sick. Finally, at 1 a.m., the majority of the band left for Barcelona by bus. The rest of us (including Hanna, Aaron and me) decided not to risk the seven hour trip, as we were still not feeling well. If we wake up tomorrow feeling better, our plan is for the rest of us to leave for Barcelona in the morning.

- Renee Sammet

 

Nov. 23

I will not go into details, but I decided to take a two-day hiatus from blogging due to ill-prepared meats from our Madrid hotel, causing several band members to get pretty sick from food poisoning. Instead, I will talk about the great city of Barcelona. We started our day with a quick tour of the city, and it was then that I realized how much I wished we had spent our whole trip here, because there was no way I would get to see everything. The four main attractions were La Sagrada Familia, the harbor/beach, La Ramblas, and the mountain-top. La Ramblas is like the city square where tons of locals and tourists come together for food and souvenirs. I don’t know much about the mountain-top, but apparently you get a great view of the city; we’re going to see it tomorrow.

- Aaron Joshua Purk

 

Nov. 24

Today was a big performance day! We played our concert at a beautiful park in Barcelona (Park Guell). There was a steady crowd throughout the concert (many of them tourists from around the globe). They particularly enjoyed the Michael Jackson medley we played! Afterward, we took group pictures in front of the park and in front of La Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that’s been in the works for more than 100 years! Now that our performances are done, we have the rest of the trip to take in more sights, more pictures and maybe more food, if we feel up to it.

- Hanna Burke

 

Today was our Barcelona performance. It was pretty interesting and very touristy. We were pretty well received and lots of tourists and locals wanted to get pictures of us. It was pretty cool. These people may have gone their whole life without seeing a marching band, and we were the ones to show them what it’s all about. This performance made the whole trip a hundred times more rewarding. After the performance, we split into groups. I got McDonald’s for dinner, still unable to handle anything resembling Spanish food. We went down to the harbor and ended up in La Ramblas for some souvenir shopping. It was a pretty good day and I’m really excited for tomorrow and then, our journey home.

- Aaron Joshua Purk

 

Nov. 25

Our final day in Barcelona consisted of a long journey to as many sights as possible. Several of us left early to check out many museums, including the Picasso museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the Chocolate Museum! We also traveled to the Barcelona Zoo. On the way back, we went to the beach and had fun in the sand. We also had the opportunity to see the Arc de Triomf, which was a beautiful masterpiece. Now, we are awaiting our departure from Spain back to the United States to enjoy some American turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing for Thanksgiving…yum!

- Hanna Burke

 

Nov. 26

Travel home by plane, no blogs written