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What really happened on 2020 ISB Trips?

Ski Trip – By Molly McGoldrick

Inter-semester break saw the return of the infamous ski trip which sees hundreds of students hit up Tignes, France for a week of skis, pres and cheese. My room attacked the first night out in normal uni fashion with speakers, drinking games and plenty of karaoke, only to wake up the next morning to several noise complaint texts from Wasteland Ski (the trip organisers) and an angry Frenchman at our door; a stark reminder that not everyone in Tignes that week was down to party. You could have been fooled though if you attended any of the après events, which by 4pm consisted of a sea of people in full ski gear, pint in hand. Everyone battled it out to get a prime dancing position on one of the tables, a thrilling but precarious game when in ski boots. Unfortunately, we were unable to ski on the Tuesday due to heavy snowfall and avalanches, a tough disappointment for the hardcore skiers but a welcome mid-week relief for the après lovers on the trip. When the weather was safe, we were spoilt for choice with the abundance of runs around the Tignes and Val D’Isre area. After one of the first reds of the trip ended up with me somehow sliding down most of the slope on my bum with my skis in the air (much to the amusement of the people on the chairlift on above me), I decided to stick to mainly blue and green runs. Overall, Ski Trip 2020 was a smashing week enjoyed by many.

Surf Trip  – ‘Slide into my dirhams’ – By Chloe Bester

This year Bath’s Surf Club ventured out to Taghazout, a fishing village along the coast of Morocco, famous for its great surfing beaches. Don’t take my word for it? Then believe the World Surf League, who hosted their men’s qualifying round at Anchor Point, Taghazout! There’s only one thing better than standing for the first time on your foamy in the whitewater, and that’s watching a pro carve waves effortlessly.  

With a review of the surf trip, an assessment of the waves is naturally expected. Unfortunately, as a complete beginner, I have no idea what I’m on about. Green waves were uncharted territory with my most common move being the Drown-and-Avoid-Surfboard™. Nonetheless, I can still write about all things associated with surfing that do not actually involve surfing, like the dreadful tan lines. Think 25 degrees in February is great? Wait until you have to surf all day in a wet suit and the only tan lines you are returning to the UK with are those on your ankles, wrists, and neck. Luckily, with storm Ciara raging through Bath, its perfect turtleneck weather. Goodbye awkward tan lines. 

If pro surfing and tan toes still haven’t convinced you to tag along next ISB, the locals will definitely nudge you over the edge. With Taghazout being an internationally admired surf spot, most locals speak fluent English, awarding some great conversations. My personal favourite were the locals pitying my surfing. It got to the point where a fully clothed man got onto my wet and sandy board to show me how to pop up. That was the ultimate lesson it took for me to finally coast along the crashing waves. 

Admittedly, we did a lot more than just surfing in Taghazout. Something not to miss are the morning swims along the beaches below the hostel. An 8am wake up is completely worth it when you get to swim out into the ocean to watch a spectacular sunrise. Leave the wetsuit behind for the real experience. Sensation in your body is overrated anyway. Better yet was cliff jumping in Paradise Valley whilst being serenaded by the locals with their singing and guitar playing. Although it *supposedly* took me 20 minutes to muster up the courage to jump, there’s no adrenaline rush like it. 

Now for the most important part of the trip: food. After a good six hours surfing the only thing on the forefront of your mind is food; glorious food. I thought I knew what carb loading was, but after this trip I’ll really have to step up my game. Potatoes with beans with pasta with bread – a classic. Venturing outside of the hostel for snacks was certainly worth the extra couple of dirhams spent. Especially the bakery on the village square selling various Moroccan goods for 42p each. Make sure to keep up to date with the going rates for baked goods though, because when you don’t know the conversion rate, prices will be expressed in terms of donuts. “How much was that bracelet?” “About five donuts.” 

All in all, Taghazout 2020 was unbelievable! What more could one want than to surf, watch camels on the beach and have a couple of drinks overlooking the ocean in summer like conditions mid-winter? Just remember to pack your sunscreen next year. The bonding session between me and my sunstruck housemate that saw me rubbing her face with an ice cube was completely uncalled for.

Politics Society (PolSoc) Trip – By Georgia Lalley

It’s safe to say Amsterdam didn’t disappoint PolSoc. Between break ups and make ups, holiday romances and Susie’s Saloon how could it? Every year, Polsoc takes away an elite group of 30, joined by new and old faces. We enjoyed the splendid Dutch culture by spending most nights at Italian restaurants and the dark and dingy Susie’s Saloon, charging 7 Euros a pint. 

Least may we forget Amy’s infamous bar crawl. Meticulously planned by our social sec, whose sole mission was to ensure no shot was untouched and no man was left standing, which inevitably ended memorably, however, not because of James Saunders’ pole dancing. Josh, later crowned ‘the least appreciative member’ of the trip, sparked raging controversy in the streets of Amsterdam, the likes of which haven’t been seen since Fight Night. I guess we’re not the Politics Society for nothing.

And there was probably no greater irony than the awards on the coach to the airport at Schiphol, with ‘most likely to miss a flight’ awarded to our Secretary Yasmin. We sat around in the airport catching up on Love Island and playing cards, blissfully unaware that the gate would close in five minutes. I have never seen a group of people pack up so fast…but there’s always one. Yasmin was happily strolling through the airport checking out postcards while Amy nearly had a heart attack and I nearly cried. Looking back, it actually would’ve made fantastic footage for a Tiktok – never mind. 

We found a bewildered Yasmin and shouted ‘RUN’ with absolutely no context, somehow catching up with slower members of the group – Freddie the Vegan and Josh. I think my lungs collapsed. But we made it safe and sound to the gate, G5, only to find no plane and no Politics people. So naturally Amy shouted at a cleaner. And then at me. And before we knew it, we were charging off to an entirely new gate, picking up members of the public along the way as we dropped passports and towels all over the floor. If there was ever an example of collective European spirit, it was at the airport in Schiphol on Brexit day. Although one would be entitled to take offence to the abuse we received along the way, probably with nationalist undertones, attacking Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with the US …  because never in my life has anyone told me I look like something from out of The Goonies. 

Honestly though, I would summarise our ISB in Amsterdam as short and sweet. It brought back a lot of fun memories from our time in Prague last year, and I can’t wait to see what the future committee has in store for next year. 

Eloise Sacares

Elle is the Online Deputy Editor (2019/20) and has been elected as News & Comment Editor (2020/21). Her work has covered thought-provoking topics of inclusivity and her candid experiences of student life.

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