We woke once more to blue skies and bright sunshine in Valencia. This will be one of the many things we will miss on our return to England where our hoodies really will be needed. As we tucked into our final breakfast, we can be thankful that the forty children only just realised that the hot chocolate machine had been working all week. With full stomachs and chocolate moustaches, the last task of the tour was to tidy rooms and put prized possessions on charge.
Once rooms had been checked there was time for one last trip up to the roof top terrace. Some splashed about in the pool, some sunbathed, some shared a desire to stay for another week. With the Valencia CF Ladies team training in the background, it was a time to reflect on how fortunate we all have been to spend this week together. Inevitably with so many children here, there has been the occasional falling out, the odd late night to disrupt the much needed beauty sleep of the teachers (although obviously not Hewitt and Armstrong?!).
However, overall the children have done themselves, their parents and Bridgewater School, proud. On the pitch, the effort and desire to develop their game has been a pleasure to see. The boys have won all four of their matches against good Spanish teams. This is impressive, as last year we lost three out of the four games. The girls’ team showed incredible resilience and energy to demonstrate a remarkable improvement in game two, that all who witnessed it will never forget. The goal from Allegra was celebrated wildly last night and was only topped by the noise created when Dravid scored on Sunday! To be able to play under floodlights at one of the top training facilities in Europe is such a special accomplishment.
The night out at Heron City with a meal in a Spanish restaurant, followed by a laser game was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday night. Photographs on the pitch side at the historic Mestalla Stadium was a privilege especially as it is the centenary year of the club. A speedy shopping trip to the Valencia shop in the city centre had to be seen to be believed. The beach afternoon was eventful in so many ways but everyone had a fun time in and out of the sea. So many incredible activities in an action packed trip, topped off by a visit to Europe’s largest aquarium. The Oceanographic Aquarium is dedicated to conservation and regardless of the rights and wrongs of captivity, the work the centre does in preserving many species is priceless. The Arctic area with the elegant and noble Beluga whales will live long in the memory.
There are so many moments to mention and this blog would be never ending if each child was to be mentioned now. Thank you to everyone on the trip for being here and making it such a delightful experience. Thank you to Inspiresport for providing a unique package of activity. Thank you to CF Valencia for their coaching and hospitality once again… you have 44 new fans. Thank you to all the parents who have paid for their children to experience the joys of a residential trip abroad. I will leave the final word to a wistful David and a teary eyed Nyla: “We don’t want to go home. Can we come again next time?” Until the next time, goodbye from Valencia. It’s been emotional.