What a drama festival is like in a quiet Spanish village in February
On 3rd February 2020, Ali, Doug, George and I (Lauren) hopped onto the lovely green bus at 3:40am to travel to Dublin airport. This was when the Decision Making and Self Reprocessing exchange in the Spanish city of Logroño officially started. We arrived at sunny Bilbao airport at around 9am and had 5 hours of time to kill before our bus to Logrono where we would meet all of our fellow exchange participants.
We were all very tired by the time we arrived in Logrono, but were delighted to meet everyone. There was a group from Bulgaria, Italy, Spain and two from Greece. When we met everyone at the Cathedral in the city and had some chats introducing ourselves, we took a walk to the youth centre of Logrono where we got photographs taken and spoke about the project and what was to come.
After this, we got on a bus to Laguna De Cameros, the village in which we would be calling home for the next week. It was up in the mountains and more or less deserted, we heard nobody really lived here during the week/winter. It was such a beautiful village and the hotel we stayed in (which was the only thing open in the entire village) was so lovely and cozy. The Irish group got quite a fright when we found out it was going to be vegetarian all week as we were all meat eaters! But spoiler alert: we survived.
The days of the exchange consisted of a delicious breakfast at 9am, energizer at 10am and workshops from 11am-8pm, with several breaks in between. We all found the timetable great, we weren't overworked but also we weren’t hanging around doing nothing. We got to spend our off time learning about Spanish culture, including a few Spanish dances.
The topic of the project was a very emotional experience for most of the participants and this really brought the group closer on a much deeper level. Personally, my favorite part of the exchange was when we spoke/learnt about Assertive Communication. I feel like this was the most helpful workshop, which I have already noticed myself using in my day to day life.
On the last day of the exchange, everyone traveled back to Logroño where we finished up the exchange by receiving our YouthPass. We then had the free time to go for pinchos on the most famous tapas street, Calle de Laurels. This was definitely a highlight.
While this exchange wasn’t the most theatre-based exchange we have been on, it was definitely worth it. I learnt a lot about myself and I know the others did too. Also, it being in such a remote area with nothing else to do in our spare time than to talk to each other and play games, it really helped our bond with each other and the new participants we met grow.
-Lauren Kelly, February 2020. (Edited by Charlie).