Sun, sand and flying discs
I am writing this from a plane. This may seem like a bad idea, given that I’m pretty groggy and altitude-induced spelling errors are likely to be rife, but it’s a safer alternative to accidentally poking the man next to me with my knitting needles.
I spent the past week on an Italian campsite with 26 bears – and no, it wasn’t a wildlife safari! For me, a ‘bear’ is someone who plays Ultimate Frisbee for the Warwick Bears frisbee club. They may not be as fluffy, but they sure are much better at catching flying discs.
The first few days were spent settling in and enjoying the beach. We played ‘Mac Line’ (see diagram) in the sea, ‘Battenburg’ (which involves a frisbee, a ball and no cake) and Spikeball, which was my favourite. Fun fact: I know two of the competitors in the Spikeball European Championships!
The next three days were ‘BURLA’, an annual ultimate frisbee tournament played on sand to a backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea. We had three teams: the casual one, a serious one, and one that only had men so played in a different league to the rest of us. We played against teams from all over Europe, including the Danish national team. My favourite was called Copenhagen Hugs, because of how courteous and well-spirited they were: high-fiving the opposition when you score a point really does put smiles on everyone’s faces.
The day after the tournament everyone was too knackered for sightseeing, so we chilled by the pool and played board games and card games late into the night.
The next morning the majority of bears left, leaving just six of us. A group of us had a lovely lazy morning then decided to go to Pisa for the afternoon. We found a quiet board games café (something I didn’t know existed before I came to uni, but now am a big fan of) and played a game of ‘Photosynthesis’. The aim is to grow trees through their whole lifecycle, with the sun rotating round the board making other trees shadow your own, so you have to plan what to grow when carefully. They had a minifridge of Italian soft drinks at the café, so I tried Bitter, which the café owner said he couldn’t exactly describe it to me but that it would usually be drunk before a meal, as an appetiser. It was a sickly bright red colour, immensely bitter and very strong.
One of the bears’ grandad and his grandad’s wife live very close to the campsite, so we met them at a restaurant for our last taste of Italian pasta and pizza. When they realised I didn’t know what a whole scampi looked like, they asked the waiter to bring one out to show me! I’ll find a scampi picture online once we land and add it in for reference, so you can see. The night air seemed to bubble over with the happy chatter of family and friends old and new, making it the best end of the trip I could have asked for.
We’re now deep in thick cloud and I’m gripping my boyfriend’s hand preparing for landing, which makes it ridiculously tricky to type. So I’ll leave you here, as I crash down into the busyness of Freshers’ week.