Our Final Day in Barcelona

Beach Pic


To celebrate the last day in the most beautiful country, the CMA and CGA rugby teams had an 8:30am breakfast before departing the hotel for Vilanova i la Geltru a city in the province of Barcelona. All of us spent the day on the beach playing rugby, NUKEM volleyball, wading in the ocean, or just plain napping. Everyone went to lunch together at a local restaurant before heading back to the hotel.

Upon arriving back, students were given some time to shower, nap, and pack before meeting up again. Before dinner, students could go out shopping or stay in the hotel until it was time to leave. As a group, we ate one last meal together in Spain. It was a long dinner with food options such as a burger with goat cheese, duck with cranberry sauce, cod, or catch of the day. There were no complaints from the students regarding the food and everyone left full and happy.

There was a short amount of time before bed and students used that to finish packing and hang out one last time before our departure for America tomorrow. While we are all amazed at how fast the time flew by, we are very thankful and lucky to have the opportunity to be here in Spain representing Culver Academies. A special thank you to Coach Knowlton, Ms. Alexander (Mom), Senora Ragsdale, Mr. Murchie, Ms. Darcy, and all the parents who made this trip possible!

Spain: Barcelona


Today, the rugby teams were divided up for about half of the day! After a late breakfast this morning at the hotel, the CGA rugby team left to do a clinic where we were able to play on mixed teams of other Spanish rugby players. The clinic was about 2 hours and there was a division of groups depending on skill level. The girls all learned a ton about tackling, passing, and body movement over this time. They all made new friends and had lots of laughs when the Spanish translations weren’t quite right!!! The CMA rugby team enjoyed a late breakfast and then some free time at the hotel while the girls had their clinic to rest and relax before their game later that afternoon.

When the girls got back to the hotel, there was time to shower and change before departing the hotel to go watch the boys play. The game started at 4pm and had 3 20 minute portions. Everyone played their hearts out but suffered a loss 13-17. The team put out an amazing effort every second of the game and worked extremely well at moving the ball across the field. The social afterward was high spirited and full of delicious food!

This evening, the students had an open night with the option to stay in the hotel and hang out or go out in groups to a small café across the street from the hotel.


Good Morning!

Apologies for the late posting – wifi has been difficult to get along with and we have all been very busy! Now that we are in Barcelona, there is better wifi!

The students started off their day with a hearty breakfast buffet at the hotel. After this, we began a driving tour of the city on our way to the mall! From there, the students were released to do some shopping from the large selection of stores available!

There was some free time (aka bonding time between students) after our lunch. Then, we began a unique walking tour of the Sagrada Familia church. It is a large and unfinished Catholic church. It had high ceilings and beautiful stain glass window art that our students marveled at during our tour!

Then we drove to where our rugby game would be that evening! The boys played first this time and won their match!! The girls played, did not win, but decided to mix up the teams and play a friendly match together! Then we had a social with sausage and a form of white bean chili before we bused back to the hotel for the evening. We were given more pizza before bed!



Madrid to Barcelona!

Buenos Dias!!

The group had an early wake up of 6:30am for a 7:10am departure to the train station! After a quick breakfast, the group was on their way with our bags for the next leg of our trip… Barcelona!!! We took a high-speed train, approx. 2 hours from Madrid to Barcelona, and had one stop on the way in Zaragoza. We took a bus to our hotel, Illunion Barcelona. We ate a very filling lunch of pasta, chicken and rice, and fruit to finish.

The students had some free time before we traversed to our afternoon rugby practice. The field that we practiced on was so close that we took to the streets to get there! On the way, we were delighted to see how close the beach was to us! An even bigger surprise was seeing that the field was right next to the beach! A high-spirited rugby practice began for about an hour!

After practice, the coaches allowed us to stop by the beach. Some students participated in volleyball, a form of rugby/football, or just wading in the ocean.

We walked back to the hotel, showered, changed, and went out for a dinner to a small restaurant which served delicious food!

Buenas Noches!

Madrid Day 3


Hello Again!

The group had an early start after a delicious breakfast at Hotel Agumar. We began with another walking tour around Madrid to see even more by foot! We walked along the streets and through Buen Retiro Park (one of the largest parks in Spain) – seeing the Palacio de Cristal was one of the most exciting things seen by the students. The Palacio de Cristal was built in 1887!!

Then we had the chance for a guided tour of the Del Prado Museum. It was located in central Madrid and holds art dating back to the 12th century! It was a very good opportunity to see some beautiful art pieces. A favorite of a few students was Francisco Goya’s art pieces known as ‘Black Paintings’. There were collections of 14 art pieces that reflect his insanity during his life. It was very interesting and sparked lots of conversations.

We had a group lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to Santiago Bernabeu soccer stadium! This is the home stadium of the Real Madrid soccer team and has a seating capacity of over 81,000 people! Students were able to tour the museum section before seeing what one of the many spectators saw from the seats. Then we got to go down to the grass field and see the sidelines! Everyone loved seeing the stadium and were all amazed at how impressively large it was!

We bused back to the hotel after seeing the soccer stadium and then had a group dinner!

Goodbye for now!



Madrid Day 2



This morning, the students traveled together to the town of Toledo, Spain to experience some local culture and shopping. We started with a tour of Alcazar Military and History museum and went into a walking tour around the town. After exploring the streets, we were released to do some shopping in the markets. There was much variety within the stores from bakeries to knife shops and everything in between! Everyone had a great time and even had time to stop for some ice-cream!

Next, the students had a group lunch together and traveled to the rugby pitch where the CGA rugby club and the CMA rugby team both played their much-anticipated first games. Both games were very entertaining and we appreciated the Culver supporters who came out! The CMA rugby team lost 17-27 but managed to score the final try! Captain of the boys, AJ Farmer, scored 2 tries and was named Man of the Match. For CGA, we lost 7-22 and Man of the Match was Maura Hough! After the game, we had a social where hot dogs and rugby kits were exchanged! It was chilly but lots of fun getting to meet all of the players!

When we got back to the hotel we were greeted with pizza from the Perun family (Thank you!!!) and then had some free time before bed!





Spain: Madrid Day 1

Good Evening!

The Rugby team had an early start after a relaxing evening the night before! Everyone was downstairs for breakfast at 7am this morning. Breakfast was a buffet ranging from Nutella filled donuts to lemon-flavored yogurt and traditional Spanish items such as Toast topped with fresh tomato! We departed the hotel at 7:45am for an hour-long drive and a 9:15am rugby practice at the training facility in the lovely town of Aranjuez.

The team focused mainly on passing drills, kicks, and lineouts in preparation for tomorrow’s rugby game. Practice lasted about an hour before we had a water break. Then the team participated in a Service project with an enthusiastic and energetic rugby team from a Special needs community. We spent time interacting and playing short scrimmages. Towards the end, the four different groups became 2 large groups and we had an overall “match”. It was gratifying to see the passion of the sport within all of the players and the joy when tries were made. We had an awards session afterward and sandwiches before changing.

After we left the facility, we had a walking tour of Aranjuez and got to see what a true Spanish indoor market looked like! All of the fruits/meats looked so fresh! Then we met the Mayor of Aranjuez, Cristina Moreno Peluqueros, who was very supportive of our rugby teams and commended all of us for being intentional about our diversity. She was very adamant that inclusivity is important for prosperity and that is why rugby is going to be a sport that moves the town forward. After her moving speech, we embarked on a tour aboard a train of the Prince’s Formal Gardens. We saw beautiful statues and brilliant purple flowers as we wound our way through.

We then headed back to the hotel for some downtime before dinner. After dinner, a large group of us decided to explore the local sights and find some ice-cream. And find it we did! We entered the small shop en masse, but left full and happy! The return walk took us close to 30 minutes and took us around the entire perimeter of the Retiro Public Gardens. Madrid at nice is lively and beautiful! We saw many joggers in the park after 10pm at night!

Tomorrow will be another busy day of discoveries and sport! So stay tuned!

We are in Spain!!


After much anticipation, the Rugby Team is OFFICIALLY in Spain!!! After a 10pm departure coupled with an 8-hour flight to Munich, it is safe to say the whole team was looking forward to the following 2-hour flight to Madrid. On the long flight, many of us slept, watched movies, or listened to music to help pass the time.

One of the coolest discoveries the team found on the plane was learning that they had attached cameras to the top and bottom of the aircraft. This allowed us to watch, from our seats, the different perspectives of takeoff and landing as it was happening in real time!

When Culver Rugby officially arrived at Hotel Agumar, many of us were ready for a hot shower and some good food! We had about an hour and a half of downtime before dinner giving us the opportunity to unpack and even discover that it IS possible to short out your entire hotel room by plugging a power strip into a converter and is not advised for future endeavors ;). The team enjoyed a nice buffet dinner together followed by long conversations covering a multitude of topics to finish off the night.

Tomorrow is a 7am wake-up time for the team so we are resting up in eagerness for our first rugby practice on Spanish turf and the chance to meet the mayor! Check back tomorrow to read more updates about your favorite rukkers!!

Just like before – stay tuned for more updates on the blog to keep up with the Rugby team! Pictures will be posted to the blog and on our Instagram pages now that we are in Spain! Follow us @cga_rugbyclub and @cma_rugby


Pre-Spain Pt. 2


Greetings from O’Hare’s B17 Gate!

We are all full of anticipation waiting for our flight tonight! Before traversing to the airport, the boys watched movies, went to Super Target, and ate good food. A different group went to Café Max and went back to Culver to kill some time before leaving. Jack Etheridge was especially proud of acquiring his Krispy Kreme donuts before leaving today. The girls slept in and went to a nature preserve. We saw all kinds of lizards, snakes, and bobcats. It was a nice excursion before leaving for the airport.

We arrived at the airport 4 hours early! Everyone came and met up at the check-in. Thankfully, there were no major issues checking bags and getting through security. With lots of free time, we were released to walk around the airport and get dinner before boarding our flight. We are all extremely excited about the opportunity to play rugby in Spain and cannot wait for all of the new experiences and people that we meet.

Reminder: Stay tuned for more updates on the blog to keep up with the Rugby team! Pictures will be posted to the blog and on our Instagram pages! Follow us @cga_rugbyclub and @cma_rugby


Pre-Spain: Pt. 1


Hello from the Spain Group!!!

Spring Break is in full swing and all of us are eagerly awaiting our departure to Spain tomorrow evening! The Doherty’s, The Ludwig’s, and The Karahalios’s, have all generously opened their homes to the rugby players that were unable to go home before Saturday’s departure. A big ‘Thank You’ to them!!! While the team may be in separate areas now, all three homes have been very active throughout today!

The girls (Daphne, Karinna, Margaux, Basil, Aedan, and Molly) saw Captain Marvel (5/5 stars and we all recommend everyone reading this blog go and see it!), battled it out in Mario Kart’s plethora of electronic racing world’s, and even introduced Molly to the wonderful world of fro-yo (Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt is delicious). Margaux and Aedan had never eaten Portillo’s and discovered how great it was tonight for dinner! We’re already trying new things and we haven’t even left yet – can’t wait to see everything new we try overseas! Special shout out to Lily Brennan for coming to hang out with the CGA girls today!

The boys at the Ludwig’s house (Justin, Sawyer, Jack, Nexus, Noah) bonded over a power nap on the couch, pizza at Lou Malnati’s Pizza (Deep Dish Sausage Pizza is a must-order according to the boys that ate there), and then they watched Austin Powers in Goldmember together. The second group of boys at the Doherty house (Chris, Cal, Chaz, James, and Kyle) bonded over their insane love of Johnnies Beef restaurant and then went to the movies together and saw Us!


Stay tuned for more updates on the blog to keep up with the Rugby team! Pictures will be posted to the blog and on our Instagram pages! Follow us @cga_rugbyclub and @cma_rugby