On Friday 9 June, as most of the school community were beginning to look forward to the weekend, ten particularly keen historians set off from the Burning Bush to Heathrow airport. Their destination was Barcelona, to compete in the History Bee and Bowl European Championships. The team had qualified for this event by virtue of their performance at the British Championships just several weeks prior.

On Saturday, the team were up bright and early to enjoy some of the extraordinary works of Antoni Gaudí and enjoy a view of the city from Park Güell.  After a morning of sight-seeing in the bright sunshine, the team arrived at the Benjamin Franklin International School to compete in the History Bee, the individual competition. Every participant had qualified at their own respective regional tournaments as a result of their strong performances. After intense competition, Justin K was awarded sixth place and Sebastian dL came fifth in the Varsity (specialist) category. Tom H won the Open Competition (for those that just missed out on qualifying for the main competition) and Hugo M came second. Felix dM won silver in the Middle School category and Aaron S came fourth overall.

In addition to the Bee and Bowl, there were several subject-specific competitions. Eton also performed very well with Alvin Z coming away with the bronze in the Ancient History category and Justin K taking gold in Military History and silver in European History.

However, all of these were simply precursors to the main event; the History Bowl. In this competition, the foremost the foremost teams in Europe were and pitted against one another. Both Eton teams reached the knockout stages. In the Varsity category, the Eton team narrowly lost to a very capable side from Ecole Jeannine Manuel in Paris in the semi-final, and finished fourth overall. Our Middle School team was more successful and got into what was to be a nail-biting final against another Ecole Jeannine Manuel team. We were leading by around twenty points into the last quarter, when they overtook us by getting the final two questions correct leaving us in second. It was truly a final to remember!

Many thanks go to Dr Yuravlivker and Mr Greenwood for accompanying us on the trip, Benjamin Franklin International School for hosting, and to David Madden, from International Academic Competitions for organising such a brilliant weekend.