By Emily Lotter
On the 22nd – 24th March 2019, myself and two housemates, Alice Cato and Dan Smith (team Dan’s Angels), competed in Cardiff University’s Jailbreak competition. We signed up back in November 2018 by filling out a simple form on the Cardiff Student’s Union website followed by paying a small entry fee; after which we were then required to fundraise £50 per team member.
The rules were simple: on 2pm Friday, we had to get as far away from our student’s union building and arrive back by 6pm on Sunday; without spending any of our own money on travel. We were allowed to prepare a plan for travel and arrange pledges for free transportation, as long as we did not receive any tickets etc. before the event started. A family friend of mine works for Eurostar, so about a week before the event I asked him for help and luckily, he pledged to sort us out with three free tickets to Brussels!
We arrived at the student’s union at 1pm on Friday, received our T-shirts, a fundraising collection pot, had a final briefing and then the countdown began. At 2pm, all teams sprinted off in different directions and the adrenaline rush hit us! We rushed to Cardiff central station, stopping at Fusion Students Zenith apartments, where we won £100 cash for being the first team to arrive. We managed to quickly blag a free ride on the 2.26pm train to London Paddington, then walked for an hour to St Pancras International (fundraising along the way) to catch our Eurostar crossing.
We arrived in Brussels at 11.35pm local time and decided to explore the area before sleeping for an hour on benches in the station. We managed to talk around receiving another free ride, this time on a 6.30am train to Frankfurt, Germany. We spent 4.5 hours exploring the city and then planned to head back to Brussels at 2.30pm. We then came across some cheap flights from Salzburg to London, so spontaneously spent our £100 prize money, and money we had collected, to book train tickets to Salzburg and flights home! By 10.37pm on Saturday, we were in Salzburg and convinced our way onto another free ride, on a night bus to a nearby town called Hallein, which ended up being our final destination – a total of 1250km from Cardiff University! We flew back to London Stanstead on Sunday morning, arriving at 11.30am, and had managed to pre-arrange a couple of free lifts back to Cardiff, making it back to the student’s union at 4.30pm, just 1.5 hours before the deadline!
Overall; it was the most amazing, tiring, adrenaline fuelled, weird and unexpected 52 hours! We all had so much fun, raised over £250 for charity and would all highly recommend the experience to anyone up for a challenge.