It has officially been over a month since I have made Madrid my new home. I feel like I just got here because this city has so much to offer! I am loving my time in Madrid!! My study abroad journey has been a nonstop adventure from the beginning and I will try to put into words what has made this an experience of a lifetime!

España Bound!

España Bound!

Although my first hour in Madrid did not go entirely smoothly, my host family was waiting eagerly to welcome my roommate, who is also from A&M, Jenny and me into their home. My host mom gave us a quick tour of our new home and gave us some time to get settled before we had dinner and went on a walking tour of Madrid. I would highly recommend staying with a host family for several reasons. First of all, they are like a walking/talking encyclopedia on your new city and they LOVE to share their recommendations! Anytime I need advice on something small like choosing a good place to get lunch with friends, to bigger decisions like which cell phone provider is the best choice, or simply needing help with directions my host family is always there to help! Secondly, they cook authentic, home made meals that you sometimes cannot even find in restaurants. On top of that, they then can actually teach you how to make those traditional meals to take home and show your friends and family! Lastly, I could not think of a better way to end you day than by sitting down to have dinner with your family in your home away from home.

My wonderful host family!

My wonderful host family!

Another thing that I will rave about is the public transportation! Every month I reload my transportation card and I never leave home without it. My card allows me to have unlimited travel (within a certain zone) by bus, metro, or train. It is perfect for commuting to school 45 minutes away or for those days you just want to get out and explore the city! Side note: having a transportation card is a luxury and really makes me feel like a local, but it is still possible to get lost! My first month in Madrid feels like it was filled with more questions than answers. Questions like, “Is this our [metro] stop?” “Where is ____?” “What street are we looking for?” and my personal favorite, “Do you know how to get there?” Constantly having to ask these questions in our first couple of weeks in Madrid gave Jenny and me the idea for a name of our hypothetical television series documenting our time in Europe called, Las Chicas Perdidas.

Overall, my first month in Spain is in the books and I can honestly say that Madrid is starting to feel more and more like home everyday!

¡Hasta luego!

 

Categories: 2015, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

barca2

The end of my first month in Barcelona is coming to an end. That´s crazy!! I actually feel like I live here now. I am going to try to the best of my ability to condense some adventures of the days that have stuck out to me- there´s a lot so this might turn into a novel.

To give a little background information, I am a junior at A&M. This study abroad trip is my first true time out of the country.

My arrival

The first moment that was monumental on this trip was my first moment in Barcelona, my arrival. Upon my arrival, I was terrified. My landlord said he was going to send a shuttle to the airport to pick me up, but I was scared I wouldn´t be able to find my apartment from where the shuttle would drop me off. To make matters worse, my roommate wasn´t able to arrive until a week after me so I was completely alone. Luckily, I accidentally arrived on a huge Spanish holiday.

January 6th is a day called the “Day of Epiphany.” It´s very similar to Christmas except children receive gifts from the three wise kings on this day. From how eeringly quiet the airport was when I landed, it didn´t take long before I had an epiphany of my own and realized I did not arrive on an ordinary day.

I say my arriving on a holiday was lucky though because my landlord was unable to book a shuttle. That meant he had to come to the airport to pick me up. It was such a relief seeing a sign with my name on it. My landlord´s name is Albert. He´s the best! He took me straight to the apartment and told me all about the “to-dos” of Barcelona. It was so nice not having to worry about finding anything on my own. He also told me I could ask him if I needed anything at all because he knew I was there all by myself. That was extremely comforting. After he left, I knew I needed to find my university, but I was too scared to leave my apartment.

I checked my email, and I had an email from a “language partner” I signed up for through the school. My language partner´s name is Lluis. In his email he asked when I would want to meet up. I really needed to find where the school was because I had orientation the following day, so I asked if he could meet that night. He didn´t realize I had only arrived to Barcelona that day, and immediately came over to help me find the school. I´m still in shock he did that! To reiterate, it was a huge Spanish holiday. He lives 30 minutes away, so that was very nice of him to take time out of his family time to help me. He showed me where Universitat Pompeu Fabra is; the walk is beautiful! Below is a picture of the walk to the school. Our meeting was short because he needed to get back to his family. The rest of the day I was exhausted, so I went to bed early.

barca

Eventos Desgraciados 

After my first day, I had quite a few unfortunate events happen. But, I don´t really want to go into the details because that would just be super negative. So, I´m going to list them out instead.

– Registration. Never again will I complain about  registration at another school. I´m still actually not positive what my schedule is, and this is the fourth week of class.

– It took me two days of being by myself in Barcelona before I was violently throwing up. The nerves caught up to me. I felt awful!

– I was robbed of my phone, and credit card. 🙁

I still don´t have a phone. And it got stolen with .02 seconds of me setting my purse down… while my body was still touching it! Not all Spaniards abide by the Aggie code of conduct. It has genuinely stunk not having a phone. I lost all my pictures etc. But, good news is my new phone should be coming in the mail anytime now! And Albert (my landlord) felt so bad for me that he gave me one of his old phones AND he got my roommate and I a washer. Did I mention he´s the best?!

– The ticket system at the metro system ate my money. Not really a big deal, but this happened within the same week I lost my credit card, phone, and was sick. At that point I just wanted to go home.

BUT I´m glad I didn´t!! I have met amazing people and have had many awesome adventures that have overshadowed that one terrible week.

Adventures 

When my roommate arrived the adventures began!

– We took a bike tour which I HIGHLY recommend to everyone!! We learned a lot about the history and main tourist sites of Barcelona. And side note- our tour guide thought it was hilarious we were from “College Station.” She was crying she was laughing so hard. Also, a huge political movement in Catalònia is the want to be independent from the rest of Spain. Another guy on the bike tour from Washington said, “Hey, that´s kind of like the secessionist movement in Texas!” …………. *no comment*

– SO MUCH GOOD FOOD. At every restaurant, there are tapas. The best ones are potatos bravas. Tapas are small dishes similar to appetizers. Basically, you order a variety of different entres and split them amongst the table.

– The Sagrada Familia is AWESOME. Antoni Gaudi has some amazing architecture around the city; it´s funny because a lot of the Barcelona natives think he´s overrated. We saw another work of his at Casa Batllo, which is a house inspired by a dragon.

– I love Sagrada Familia, but I think my favorite cathedral is still the Catedral de Santa Eulalia. This cathedral is dedicated to the life of Eulalia, she was a 13 year old girl who died a martyr. If you get the chance, google the story. She´s my hero.

– Park Guell has incredible sights. This was mine and my roommate´s favorite place so far. There are so many trails you can go down, and the house Antoni Gaudi lived in is here. He lived by meek measures which is inspiring. There are so many admirable people that inspired the city of Barcelona. It has truly inspired me!

– Montjuiic has incredible sights. It was the perfect spot for a picnic. 🙂

– Last semester, I met a group of REEP students that came to A&M from Spain. We met up with one of them one night, Tomas. It was so nice to see a familiar face in Barcelona! He is still obsessed with A&M which was hilarious. He sang the Aggie fight song in his Spanish accent.

– On the subject of friends, having a language partner has really come in handy! Lluis showed us an awesome spot to get gelato. He´s also informed us of some weird cultural differences between here and the United States. One that stuck out to me is that here they consider Obama extremely conservative. I thought that was funny!

Can´t wait to see what the next two months hold! 

There are many other sights we have seen, and there are many sights still to see! There is plenty on my to-do list, I can´t wait to see what these next two months have in store!

Categories: 2015, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

So after much convincing and persuading, I was actually able to extend my trip until a few days after the New Year’s! I expected to make friends during my time in Spain, but I hadn’t imagined myself actually extending my trip by 10 days just to spend time with them and make this amazing semester last a little longer! In the end, I am so happy that I made the decision of spending the holidays in another country. While I did miss my family and friends back home, I knew that spending such a special time like the holidays with this unique group of people was essentially a once in a lifetime opportunity.

After the stressful time of finals passed, I felt like I was finally able to enjoy Madrid again, which at this point definitely feels like my home away from home. The first half of December flew by since I spent most of my time just preparing for final papers and exams. I was able create some final last memories with my friends, since people were beginning to go home. I was incredibly sad to say goodbye to my Costa Rican roommate, who had become one of my closest friends throughout the semester. However, I know if I ever find myself in Costa Rica, I have a place to stay! I have to say, one of the best parts of this entire trip has been just making friends with people that I otherwise would have never met if I hadn’t decided to spend a semester in Madrid. I feel so happy that I met such a group of different and interesting yet like-minded people. While we all had different backgrounds and unique traits because of where we grew up, we all shared the same passion for life, travel, and ambition.

Christmas was a completely different experience than I had ever had before. I spent Christmas Eve at my friend’s apartment in Plaza Mayor, which is sincerely one of the most beautiful places in all of the city. Instead of the traditional turkey and ham that we eat in America, this time I found myself eating chicken, risotto, salad, king’s cake, and gluhwein. I had a lovely time with my friends, whom I will always remember as my Spanish family.  We spent the night laughing, chatting, and we may or may not have had a 30 minute lip syncing session to songs from our childhood (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, etc.).

New Years was another sweet experience in which I was able to try out a very uniquely Madrid tradition. At midnight, my friends and I went to the plaza Puerta Del Sol (the center of the city) and counted down until the New Year while eating a grape for every second when it was 12 seconds until 12:00. I guess you could equate it somewhat to the ball dropping in NYC.

Now that my trip is at an end, I can’t help but think how insanely thankful I am that I followed through with my dream of studying abroad in Spain. I always knew it was something I wanted to do, and finally doing it just reaffirmed the notion of living the life you imagine for yourself. My experience was everything that I imagined for myself and more. I made connections with people from countries all over the world, visited breath-taking sites, learned more about myself and the world, and created memories that I will always look back on for the rest of my life.

I’m already dreaming up the next way that I can visit my friends and travel to new places. Spain will always hold a special place in my heart, and I already miss this beautiful country that gave me so much.

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Categories: 2015, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Madrid is finally starting to feel cold!  Surprisingly, it’s not much different than the weather that I’m used to in Texas. School definitely picked up the pace this month and has taken up a lot more time than in the previous months. One of the greatest challenges of this month has been juggling all of the 5 group projects that I have! I was aware of all of the due dates and presentations at the end of the month, but as usual, the deadlines always come faster than you imagine.

Unsurprisingly, one of the greater difficulties that I faced throughout the entire semester was adjusting to the different work styles with my group partners of different cultural backgrounds. While group projects are hardly ever easy to begin with, normal issues and communication problems are only magnified when a group of people of different backgrounds come together. I’d say this month was definitely the time in which I learned and developed the most academically. I had to adapt myself to working with people of Canadian, English, Spanish, French, Mexican, and Italian backgrounds. Working with such a diverse group of people was unlike anything I had ever experienced before at A&M. Although it was tough at times, I am ultimately thankful that I had this opportunity because it allowed me to develop my own communication skills and adaptability to work with people backgrounds successfully.

Aside from the noteworthy higher amount of school work during this month, I was finally able to visit Granada, a city that I wanted to see since the beginning of the semester. If there is a city in Spain that epitomizes the cultural richness and tradition of the country, it would be Granada. It has incredibly strong Moorish influence, best seen by the Alhambra, a Moorish palace that was completed in 1353. The architecture is unlike anything I had seen before; the geometric stalactite carvings in the ceilings of the palace were astoundingly beautiful and unique. The entire palace was built to feel like a water oasis; this is so because of the symbolic importance of water in the moorish religious culture. Each ceiling felt like looking through an incredible kaleidoscope. Outside of the Alhambra, I was also able to experience a Hamam, an Arabic bath.  Overall, Granada was definitely one of my favorite cities to visit.

At the end of the month, I was lucky enough to have my parents meet me in Barcelona for a weekend. It was such a special treat to experience Spanish culture with my family by my side. I was able to visit the Casa Batllo, Park Guell, and Montjuic. One of my favorite aspects about this trip was the fact that I was able to try really great food. Gaudi’s architecture never failed to surprise me with its total uniqueness and originality. His architectural style is definitely one that I will remember for the rest of my life. I definitely see myself coming back to Barcelona later in my life!

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Categories: 2014, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

It has been a very long time since my last post. I got so busy with traveling, planning trips, showing my friends around Barcelona, and of course, school that I didn’t get the chance to post sooner. I will warn you now, this is going to be a lengthy post.

First off, school picked up so fast in November. It just flew by, but this might’ve been because I was so busy with other things. Toward the end of the month my semester projects were due, my classes ended, and some courses completely came to an end. Beginning December I no longer had any classes. Exams began on the 9th but mine didn’t start until the 15th so I took this opportunity to travel. Yes, I know that I should’ve spent those two weeks studying, but the way I saw it, I might never return to Europe so I had to make my time count. I returned from my travels just in time forrrrrrrrr MY BIRTHDAY!!! (the 10th). I went out for tapas and drinks with some of my closest friends that I made during my stay.

Feeling 22!

Feeling 22!

The next day I began studying and then had 3 days of hardly any sleep. Exams in Spain, or Europe I should say, are somewhat different. For one, they do guess correction like on the SAT’s, so you can’t just answer every question unless you actually have some idea of what the answer is. Second, you are encouraged, if not required to use a pen to bubble in your scantron. Lastly, the scantrons are so difficult to understand unless they are explained. Each question has two rows for you to bubble in. If you want to change your first choice, you bubble in the same letter on the second row and then bubble in your new choice on the first row.

After my exams were over I took one last trip to the south of Spain, and then came back for my last two days in Barcelona. My host family was so sweet and had a going away lunch for us in the form of a typical Catalonian Christmas meal. For my last two days I did some shopping, revisited my favorite spots, ate my favorite foods, and said goodbye to my dear friends.

Barcelona adventures

After many failed attempts to visit Montserrat, we finally made it happen. Katrina and I went with Gerard, a good friend we made from Barcelona. Because we arrived later than planned, we didn’t get to do as much as we would have liked, but we still hiked a bit, saw the monastery, ate mato amb mel, and got a small history lesson from Gerard. This mountain is technically not in Barcelona but it’s an easy hour train ride away and many people from Barcelona go visit it. 

Montserrat- Ramon Llul monument

There were many attractions that I hadn’t completely seen because I wanted to save them for when my friends visited. In the span of two weeks I had 3 different sets of friends visit. Planning their stay and exploring the city with them was the most exhausting thing ever, but I enjoyed it so much. During my friends’ stay I saw the inside of Sagrada Familia, the entire grounds of Park Güell, went to Castell de Montjuïc, Bunkers del Carmel, el Parc del Laberint, Palau Güell, and revisited other popular sites. I must say, after they left I felt quite homesick. I was surprised that I had already made it through the majority of my stay, and I felt homesick.

Parc del Laberint

Parc del Laberint

In one of my classes I met Anna, a nice and caring girl from Vienna, Austria. We became close friends and took a day trip to Colonia Güell. When I visit places I usually go informed but I hadn’t done any research on this place and I am glad I didn’t. When we got off the train we met a little old lady that gave us some history on the town, which by the way I didn’t realize that the attraction was the whole town in its entirety. Before she parted ways she made sure to tell us to have coffee at her favorite café. The audio tour took us around the entire town. I was amazed because it was such an unorthodox attraction. The colony was created to house the workers of the textile factory owned by the Güell family. Mr. Güell made sure to take good care of their workers and provided a school, a cinema, and the well-known church built by the modernist, Gaudi. Even though the town is about an hour train ride from the center of Barcelona I highly recommend it.

Colonia Guell-Gaudi's Crypt

Colonia Guell-Gaudi’s Crypt

One thing I didn’t want to leave Europe without doing was ictiotherapy. This is the infamous fish pedicure. Now I know that it’s a kind of disturbing idea to have fish nibble at your dry skin, and that many think it is unhygienic, but it’s something I may never be able to do again. It was really awkward at first, especially because I’m highly ticklish and couldn’t help but laugh, but then it became quite relaxing. I don’t know if I would do it again, but I wouldn’t be opposed.

Christmas time in Barcelona is truly amazing. The streets are adorned with Christmas lights, and Christmas markets fill the city. In the gothic quarter you can come across beautiful nativities and different organizations caroling. They even set up a skating rink in the middle of Plaza Catalunya.

Other trips

France:

Two weeks after my friend Frankie visited Barcelona I went to visit him in Paris. Paris was very different than what I had envisioned, to say the least. I always thought it would be a quaint and peaceful town filled with beauty and romance. While I did love my visit, it was actually a very large metropolitan city that was anything but romantic. Luckily I didn’t go there with my beau looking for romance, because if I had, I’m afraid I would’ve been disappointed. I found people in Paris to be very cold and independent, which worked out just fine for me as I was exploring the city by myself for the most part. The city is really dirty in comparison to Spain and the poverty level is so high. While I was there I visited the Notre Dame, the Picasso Museum, the Orsay Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, the Royal Palace, the Rodin Museum, the Luxemburg Gardens, the Tuileries Gardens, La Saint Chapelle, the Louvre, the love lock bridge, Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coeur, and of course the Eiffel tower. Yes, to say I walked a lot is an understatement. In the Louvre alone I walked for 2 hours, which is actually nothing when you consider how enormous it is. Paris has so many museums and the best part is that they are free to students under 25. I never actually paid for a single thing except for food and a lock to leave behind on the bridge. What I loved the most that I could take away from this experience was to be able to order food in French. I must confess I had atleast one nutella and banana crepe every day that I was there. Before I left I told the owners of my favorite creperie that their crepes were my favorite. The pride in their smile was unforgettable.

I also made a day trip to the city of Versailles to see the palace. The palace was huge beyond words and had an even bigger garden. I walked around the garden with my friend and enjoyed a Panini by the pond. My only regret was not being able to spend more time there, so I recommend you arrive early and stay until close.

Eiffel tower by night

Eiffel tower by night

 

Girona:

My most spontaneous trip was that to the province of Girona. My friend Anna I spoke about earlier invited me to join her on a day trip to the city of Girona, Besalú, and Figueres. Girona is a historic town once known as Girona the gray because of all the old gray buildings. It was later renovated and made colorful with historic colonial colors. Figueres is the birth town of the great Salvador Dali, and home to the Dali Museum. The town has a really relaxing atmosphere and the museum is so bizarre & interesting. Besalú is an extremely small yet beautiful town rich with culture. It is the perfect little town to get lost in.

 

Dali Museum

Dali Museum

Italy:

My most awaited for trip was the one to Rome, and Florence. I would be staying in both cities for 3 days. In Rome I saw all the popular sites, Vatican City, The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, Castel Sant’’Angelo, Piazza Spagna, Villa Borghese, Galleria Borghese, Capitoline Hill, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Venezia, the Imperial Forum, the Roman Forum, the Colossuem, you name it. I admit my favorite part was meeting strangers in St. Peter’s and having pizza for dinner with them. I also had some of the best lasagna in my life, right in front of the Vatican Museum. Villa Borghese was also amazing. It is the largest public landscape park in Rome, covering 148 acres. I wish there was something like it in Texas.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

Next up was Florence, to visit my friend Valeria a month after she had visited me in Barcelona. On my first night there she and her roommates had a small get together at their flat with some of their closest friends. I had a blast with them and they were so welcoming. My friend was kind enough to plan my whole stay and showed me the Battistero, the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, the Campanile di Giotto, the Galleria dell’Accademia, Santa Croce, the Ponte Vecchio, the Palazzo Pitti, the Giardino Boboli, the San Miniato al Monte basilica, and the Piazzale Michelangiolo. We started off the day with great pastries, had some of the best pizza for only 7 euros right by Palazzo Pitti, and strolled through the Christmas market enjoying some mouth-watering gelato. Some of her friends were kind enough to have us over for an Italian/Nigerian mashup dinner. The best part of the trip, she planned for us to take a fiat and vespa tour around the town and to the heart of the Chianti wine region. It was so relaxing and liberating to be on a vespa. It was the most amazing feeling. For dinner we went to a really popular restaurant, where I had a steak sampler that included a blueberry steak, a regular steak, and a balsamic steak followed by tiramisu and accompanied by wine. It was by far my favorite meal in Europe. Then later that night we went to secret bakery. Some bakeries start baking in the middle of the night to make pastries that will fill up the shelves of the city’s cafés the next day. If you can find them you can buy fresh pastries for 1 euro. The next day we went to the leather market and then headed for Pisa to see the leaning tower. Before leaving I made sure to grab a panino at my friends favorite spot.

 

Vespa riding

Vespa riding

View from Piazzale Michelangelo

Pisa Tower

Pisa Tower

South of Spain:

As my last trip, and a trip I thought I was not going to be able to do, I went to Sevilla and Granada. From the very start I wanted to go to Sevilla, Granada and Cordoba. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time for the latter. Sevilla was quite small and the main attractions were the Cathedral along with the Giralda tower, the Alcazar, the Metropol Parasol, Plaza de España, the Basilica de la Macarena, and the neighborhood of Santa Cruz. Although at first I thought that this town would be my favorite of the three, because of its small size, it was not.

To my surprise I liked Granada, the biggest of them, the best. In the very first attraction, the Cathedral, I met a girl from Colombia named Andrea. We got along great and decided to explore the city together. We saw the Monestario de San Jeronimo, went to the silk market of Alcaiceria, and walked through the streets of the Albaycin and Sacromonte neighborhoods. These two neighborhoods are rich with Moorish culture and have many viewing points of the city and the Sierra Nevada. We stopped for lunch there at a famous restaurant known for their snails. Yes, that’s right. I ate snails. They actually weren’t bad and reminded me of shrimp, or maybe crawfish. Before it got dark, we bumped into a group of maybe 10 guys that were having drinks with a bar owner right outside the bar. We began talking to them and before you know it we spent the entire night having drinks and tapas in different spots around the city. The next day I finally go tot see the long awaited for, Alhambra. You have to purchase tickets to this world heritage site at least two weeks before, and maybe even a month if it’s tourist season. Andrea had already planned to go to Sierra Nevada that day so I went alone, but before leaving I met two guys from Mallorca. I joined them to have tapas for dinner, and then off I was to catch a plane back to Barcelona.

New friends in Granada

New friends in Granada

I had an amazing time in Barcelona, and in Europe in general. The only thing I did not like was the university. They are not very well organized and so I struggled with things that I don’t think I should’ve or would have under different circumstances. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to travel abroad and meet such wonderful people. It definitely opened my eyes and sparked in me the desire to travel more and discover the world. Goodbye Europe! Adéu Barcelona! We shall be reunited some day, I am sure of it.

Last night in Barcelona with some close friends

I will provide the link to my dropbox again.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/532mlwgg6qrmgkf/AAANUkShdQHQkp4byossFVIVa?dl=0

Categories: 2014, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Today is December 1st, and the start of my last month in Barcelona. School is coming to an end. This week is our last official week of classes, and then next week finals begin. I am so ready for classes to be over!!! I feel confident that I am going to be okay, and I am actually not stressing very much at all… yet! This week, Beatriz and I will be going to Rome/Siena/Florence and I am so excited! I have heard such great things about these places and I am excited to see them in person! I have to say, one thing I am learning about myself, is that I love having new and exciting experiences, but much to my surprise, I don’t love traveling. Before studying abroad, I thought that was all I wanted to do, SEE THE WORLD! And yeah, it is amazing and so much fun, but it isn’t my favorite thing. I can be perfectly happy even if I do not travel.

The big thing that happened for me this month was Brian, my fiancé, coming to visit! He actually just left yesterday and we had such an amazing time! We explored Barcelona, went to Monserrat (probably my favorite place), walked around Montjuic, and took a trip to Girona. I am not much of a city girl, and Brian prefers being outside the chaos as well, so it was the perfect trip for us! Weather was a little rainy all week, which kept us on our toes, but it ended up being perfect.

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In Barcelona, we walked around El Born(my favorite neighborhood), Parc de la Ciutadella, and visited La Sagrada Familia, which was actually not as cool as I was anticipating. I think the Barcelona Cathedral and Santa Maria del Mar are much more interesting and beautiful, but maybe that just means I like an older style of architecture. We also took a day to explore Montjuic area, I highly recommend the Castles at the top! They were beautiful, and if you take Bus 150 from Placa Espanya, it is really inexpensive. We also walked around Poble Espanyol which was my second time to go. Entrance is a little pricy, but I think it is worth it; beautiful buildings, cute shops, lots of handmade products, and good food. We also watched the Magic Fountains which was fun, but that is when it started raining so we didn’t stay long. Those happen from 7-9 on Friday and Saturday night.

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It was my second time at Monserrat, and it seriously gets better every time I go! The sights seriously amaze me every single time. My only regret about this trip was that we missed hearing the boys choir. They sing every day except for Saturday at 1pm and 6:45pm. The performance lasts only 10 minutes (something I didn’t know) and we arrived at 1:08, so we just missed it. I thought we could just hear them at 6:45 but the last train that went to Barcelona left at 6:15, so that was impossible. You have to allow for at least an hour and a half of travel time to get there, but it is so worth the trip!

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Girona was also absolutely lovely. So many cute shops, AMAZINGLY beautiful architecture and good food! It is fall here, so all the trees are different colors which made for even more beautiful scenery! I definitely recommend making this a weekend trip! It is a nice escape from the city. No metros, easy to walk everywhere, and you never have to worry about getting lost. If you actually try to make yourself get lost, you’ll have even more fun!

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Barcelona is a wonderful place, but as school is wrapping up, finals are approaching, and I am making plans to get home, I am really ready to be back in Texas. There seriously is no place like home!

Categories: 2014, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Today is HALLOWEEN!!!! I am feeling a little torn about what to do today because my host mom is making a traditional Spanish Halloween dinner, but the group at the church is having an open mic night/costume party. I was planning on going to this party until I saw her cooking this morning. Ugh! This struggle is real! Right now I am sitting in the school café drinking a café con leche desnatada con canela! MMm! So, I have finally started to settle in! I somewhat have a routine, school work is piling up and I am continuing to procrastinate, I am making friends and life is finally not stressing me out every two minutes! I am loving my time here. I definitely still miss my friends and family and fiancé, but I have figured out a routine to where I get to talk to most of them from time to time. AND, Brian is coming to visit me in t minus 22 days! I am beyond excited!!! Right now I am working on a plan for what to do when he gets here, this weekends trip to Monserrat, and various travel plans! School is a little more difficult than I thought it was going to be, but I am managing. The main thing I want to write about is what I did this past weekend, VISIT MI FAMILIA IN SICILIA!!

So, this is an entirely crazy story and I am going to start from the very beginning. Bea and I, like the responsible young women we are, booked out flight a good 3 weeks to a month before our plane was scheduled to depart. It was scheduled to leave on Friday November 24th at 12:40pm. On Thursday night, right as we are getting ready to sit down for dinner (around 10pm), Bea gets an email from the airline saying that our flight was canceled due to a recent transportation strike in Italy. Not only was it canceled, but we were going to have to pay to change our flight and we were not going to be refunded for our return ticket, since it wasn’t technically effected by the strike. Seriously?! Not only is this horrible news because meeting my Sicilian family is literally the only thing that got me through the week and now it wasn’t even going to happen, but I am going to have to pay for the trip reguardeless?! Ugh! I was furious. That night, we stayed up late trying to find another weekend to visit them that wouldn’t be too much more money than we had already spent, and we made zero progress. I went to be completely angry and bummed and all sorts of negative emotions.

The next morning, I woke up early because I was too upset to sleep. I tried for at least an hour to get a hold of the airline on the telephone and had no luck, so I bit the bullet and deciding I was just going to go up to the airport and talk to them in person. Then they will have to deal with me right then and there! After an hour of wandering around, taking metros, busses and shuttles I found the customer service desk, in which I waited in line. SIDE STORY. While I am in line, this woman, probably in her late twenties, comes busting through the line passing everybody up. I thinking to myself, this is weird. The woman behind me in line, probably in her late 40s, becomes enraged at her lack of courtesy and decides to make the young woman go to the back of the line and wait like everyone else. Clearly this young lady was distressed, who would go pushing through a line at the airport customer service desk if they weren’t? So when the older woman approaches her, things get UGLY. And I mean they literally start fighting, physically! Pushing, pulling, hitting, and I have a front row seat! Meanwhile the guy at the customer service desk does NOTHING. He is just watching too! Haha finally both of the ladies boyfriends come and pull them apart and they both eventually get to talk to the customer service desk. One of the weirdest experiences of my life. Okay so then it was my turn. Im talking to this man(in broken Spanish), and he is talking to me (in broken English) and as I am telling him which flight I booked and how it was canceled and blah blah blah, he tells me that no, it actually has been rescheduled, and is leaving in an hour and a half! WWHHHHAAATTT???? I am at the airport with nothing more than the clothes I have on my back, Bea is not with me and actually she is sleeping at home because we stayed up late last night trying to find other flights, and I have no cell phone to call her. OH MY GOSH! (panic ensues). I am talking to this man saying stuff like “what do you mean?…But I don’t have my bags… my friend is supposed to be coming with me and she isn’t here… there is no way I can make it”. His only response was to tell me to go up to the check in desk and have them print my boarding pass. Thinking he doesn’t understand me, I let out a distressed “YO TENGO NADA!!! HOW AM I JUST SUPPOSED TO PRINT MY BOARING PASS?!?!” well this is all the help I was going to get from him, so I proceed to the check in desk where I meet a super nice lady who helps me so so so much! She pointed me in a direction where I could use a phone, printed my pass, and helped me avoid lines so I could speed up the check in process. I finally get a hold of Bea, she scrambles to pack not only her bag, but also mine, snags a taxi, runs to the airport, and we somehow manage to make it on the plane 5 minutes before take off. HOLY COW! PRAISE GOD! It all worked out. But wait, another problem arises. I realize that my family is no longer expecting be because I told them last night that our flight got canceled. They are supposed to pick us up from the airport and provide us with a place to sleep (such generous people), and now they have no idea we are even coming! AND I have no way of contacting them because wifi does not exist on a plane… Just when I thought the mayhem was over! Well long story short, 1 plane, 1 bus, 2 internet cafes, and a train later, we make it to Cefalu, the town where my family lives and the town my great-grandfather grew up in. My family picked us up from the train station and all is well. We were greeted by Donatella and Eleonora, my third cousins. They are so sweet and welcome us with hugs and kisses. I had only spoken with Donatella on facebook messaging so this was the first face-to-face meeting and the first time I heard them speak. They were so cute apologizing for their English and saying how horrible it was, but it really wasn’t that bad! Definitely better than my Italian! I immediately felt comfortable around them, like instant family connections took away an possible awkwardness. I seriously can’t put into words how amazing they are. So now that we finally made it to our destination, Wow! I am HUNGRY!!

So after all this craziness of a day, D and E take us to our room at the Bed & Breakfast they own. They literally had an entire full one bedroom apartment for us! Complete food stocked for us for breakfast! What? SO nice! Then they ask us if we are tired or if we want to go out and get some food. Hallelujah! FOOD! Bea and I quickly freshen up and meet them downstairs to go get a bite to eat. Donatella and her boyfriend, Guiseppe (aka Pino), meet us at their car and take us to their favorite pizza place in town. I ordered a pizza with jamon, fungi(mushrooms) and some super good cheese and sause. OH MAN!!! It was sooooo delicious! And, being sicily, we all had an entire pizza to ourselves. There was no way I was going to finish it, but I wish I could have! After dinner, they ordered us a round of limoncello, an icy cold refreshing liquor shot that is a common drink in Italy after your meal. It is a digestive and is supposed to help settle your food after a big meal, which is literally every meal in Italy! After that, Donatella and Pino took us on a little night car ride tour of cefalu. I have been missing car rides so bad. I haven’t been in a car since my host mom picked us up from the airport. It was so nice. After the little tour, they took us back to out apartment and we got some much needed sleep.

The next morning, we woke up, ate breakfast on our terrace that overlooked the ocean to our left, and a small citrus orchard to our right. Oh man! Talk about luxury! The weather was a little chillier than we had anticipated, so we struggle with our clothes a little the whole trip (probably also due to the fact that Bea had to pack 2 bags in 10 minutes). Haha. We took our time getting ready for the day and when we were ready, I texted Donatella and she met us downstairs for an actual tour of the town. Her and Eleonora, her younger sister, showed us around the whole town. The town was absolutely beautiful during the day. Old narrow streets, a big cathedral, the ocean, a big mountain called La Rocca, an old clothes washing station, a couple harbors, and so many gelato, food, and gift shops! I loved it! When lunch time rolled around, we went over to my family’s apartment where we met D and E’s parents, Salvatore (Toto), and Conjetta. Conjetta had been cooking all morning for us and treated us like royalty. The food was SOOOOO good! And so much! She had prepared and 4 course meal, yes 4. The first couse is typically a pasta of some sort, we had rice thing. Second, we had a chicken patty, and some salad. Third course was fruit, which we ate the cactus fruit, and lastly was postre. I had a canolo for the first time! Everything was delicious. After lunch we sat down with Salvatore and he showed me our family tree which he has been working on for YEARS. I helped him fill in a few blanks and I enjoyed the whole experience so much. I have always been curious about family history and it was like discovery a side to myself I have never known before. He had family traced back to the 1700s! holy cow! And he hasn’t been using the internet to find this information, he literally has 300 year old documents that he is deciphering and finding where they fit. WOW! So cool! I was in awe! Just absolutely amazed. He even made me my own condensed family tree and let me keep it. Right before I left, he gave me a copy of his big one. That is a present I will cherish my entire life and share with my entire family! Later that day, we walked along the beach and went to a few shops in town. Bea and I found a few souveneirs to take home and it was so so so much fun! That night we went out to dinner with D & E and their boyfriends, who are both named Giuseppe! Haha this name translates to Joseph and is an extremely common name in Sicily. We went to a neighboring town that was a 30 minute drive through the mountains. I got a little car sick, but it was so worth it. It was called Castelbuono, meaning good castle! Mushrooms were in their peak season and a nice restaurant was have specials for all their meals that had mushrooms. It was amazingly delicious and we had great company. We laughed so much that night about being starving, about communication barriers, and just poking fun at each other. It was like we had all been friends for years. Afterwards we walked through the town, saw the castle, and drove back to Cefalu.

The next day, we had a relaxing breakfast once again, and then met up with D & E for a morning hike up La Rocca! I was in Heaven! Apparently, the water levels in cefalu used to be much higher so the town used to be a little bit up the rock. We got to see ruins of the old roman city on our way up which was so cool. I love hiking so I fully enjoyed the entire thing. I was probably the only one who wasn’t slightly miserable at some point. But one of the things I love about hiking, is that as you walk, the view is the best thing you have ever seen, and you think there is no way it can get better, but the higher you go, the more amazing it gets! From the top, we could see the whole town, the ocean, and the rolling mountains of the country side! Wow! Loved it! On the way down, we got to see some goats just chillen eating some grass. They let us get so close to them and they didn’t run away. I love unexpected surprises like that! After the hike we were all exhausted and had worked up an apetite. We went over to their house again, where we met the rest of the family, the oldest sister Annalisa, her husband Cicho, and their 2 week old baby girl(bambina) Carla. This day we had a HUGE meal and it was even better than the first day. The first plate was some penne pasta, which was to die for! The second was some sort of meet that was so tender and absolutely delicious, a red pepper stuffed with ground beef(perfect flavor). The third we had fruit once again, today we tried a Sicilian banana which is much less sweet than a normal banana and a lot fatter. I really enjoyed it. Then for dessert, we ate a profiterol pie which was balls of yummy dough filled with cream all stacked on top of each other smothered in chocolate mouse and drops of the same cream that was on the inside of the ball. OMG! YUM! I could have eaten the whole tray! After lunch, we went back to our apartment for a little siesta. We rested, then walked around a little looking at different shops, then met up with the family for a small dinner. We ate some street food. A calzone thing that was so so so so yummy, and a fried stuffed rice ball, apparently Sicily is famous for them and this is the only place you can get them. That was also delicious! That night we said good bye to some of the family and I had to hold back a few tears. They are a part of my family now and it was so hard to say good bye to such amazing, generous and loving people.

The next morning Donatella and her father Salvatore took us to the airport at 4am so we could catch our 6:50 flight back to Barcelona. We had a connecting flight in Rome but it was only a 2 hour lay over so we didn’t get to leave the airport. We got back to Barcelona around 12pm and back to school we went. The trip was so wonderful! I hope that I can see them all again someday. We talked about making another trip to Cefalu in which I bring my whole family, and they talked about coming to the US to see Texas and fulfill their dream of going to New York City! I truly hope to see them again! What an amazing time!

DSC02174

 

Categories: 2014, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Hola! It’s a little surreal to believe that I’ve been in Spain for a month! If you think time flies while you’re in College Station, just try going on a study abroad and see how quickly everything goes! Spain is everything I thought it would be, but of course it has a few surprises. Every street, corner, avenue, and plaza is charming in its own way. It’s completely unique and different than Aggieland. There’s a history and story behind every building that dates back farther than you thought. I absolutely love living in the center, and I was surprised at how familiar and comfortable everything became once I settled into my apartment. I love being being able to walk downstairs and order a mixto (a ham and cheese sandwich) from a cafeteria. I live about 15 minutes by foot from Puerta Del Sol, the heart and center of Madrid and also technically Spain. It is the area in which roads begin their direction to other Spanish cities; there’s a sign on the ground that reads “Kilometro O.”  I find myself going there basically everyday, as it is an easy and common meeting point for people. Tapas, sangria, paella, jamon and churros have all been consumed in abundance, and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. I completely embrace Spanish food, and I can already tell I’ll miss it when I’m back in Texas. I’ve been able to also visit Toledo and Valencia. Toledo is a town that dates back to Roman Empire times, and it genuinely feels like you’ve gone back hundred of years. I became amazed at the fact that I was able to walk down streets and into stores and plazas that people from 400 years ago did too. It’s the town where the famous painter, El Greco, spent his life and completed master works of art. Valencia, on the other hand, is a newer city that offers not only historic sights but also an incredibly modern area called “The City of Arts and Sciences” that hosts the largest aquarium in Europe. The buildings are something you’d imagine in Startrek or some futuristic movie that takes place in space. To be honest, it isn’t something you’d expect from a beach town in Spain, in particular, the city that the world-famous paella originates from; it’s intriguing and beautiful in its own way. I have to say that my favorite part so far has been just meeting new people and immersing myself not only in Spanish culture but also the culture of other countries where other exchange students originate from. I love meeting people from all over the world and hearing about what is normal for them. In my opinion, there is almost nothing better than finding out something different than what I’m accustomed to. I love trying new things, seeing new things, learning new languages, and meeting new people that add to a more whole and complete perspective of life. School has been in session for three weeks. The way it functions is totally different than A&M. It’s an incredible opportunity to have insight to see how another university works. It’s so easy to only think of your own university and become accustomed to how one country’s school system works. It took a little bit of adjusting to the school, but I’m enjoying my classes. I especially like  Spanish History of the 20th century and learning about the recent history of  Spain. Also, it’s interesting to gain a different perspective on business principles and teachings, yet also observe similarities and shared knowledge. So far, I adore Spain and am trying my best to say yes to everything and live in the moment. I love to document as much of my experience as I can (often I’m a little overzealous with picture taking.) I feel insanely lucky and happy to have this opportunity, and I can’t imagine not doing it. Until next time! Hasta Luego! -Laura Madrid! September 2014 Toledo Toledo 2 Toledo 3 Plaza Mayor Flamenco Puerta de Sol Ham Palace Palace 2

Categories: 2014, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

My experience so far in Barcelona has been full of fun, excitement, exhaustion, frustration, adventure and many many surprises! First off, my flight here was not bad at all. After an emotional goodbye with my family, it was basically smooth sailing. Beatriz and I flew Turkish Airlines and it was very nice. We got meals on both our flights, had access to movies, and the seats were relatively comfortable. We asked for a seat between us so we had a little wiggle room (highly recommended). The only not so fun part was the time it took to get here. I’m easily entertained by nature and all its beauty, so looking out the window in amazement was a good time passer for me, as well as sleeping. Once we landed in Barcelona, our host mom picked us up from the airport (This was so nice since we didn’t have to worry about taking public transportation at 11:30pm). We had no idea what to expect since we hadn’t met her before and hadn’t seen a picture or anything. Honestly, I was freaking out that she wasn’t even a real person, just some hacker who ran off with my deposit. But thank God she was real. She was waiting in the terminal with a little sign that had our names on it (just like in the movies). It was great. I speak very little Spanish so initial communication was extremely awkward since she hardly speaks English. That has improved with time though. Our apartment is in a more family oriented neighborhood of Barcelona, which I really like. Quiet at night, but not too far from the lively parts of the city. We both have our own rooms to retreat to at night, and the whole family shares one bathroom (not as bad as I was anticipating). We get breakfast and dinner every day, which is absolutely amazing! Homemade authentic food and we have the luxury of not having to figure out what to eat for dinner. I would seriously be starving if I wouldn’t have done a homestay. The grocery stores are completely different and so confusing! She has made us Spanish Tortilla, Paella, African chicken, cous cous, hummus, fried fish, pork, chicken, soups, salads, and a few desserts. All so so yummy! Side note, back in the US I refused to eat tomatoes. Here, I eat them all the time and LOVE them! Also, gaspacho is like my new favorite thing. Its a cold tomato soup. Sounds a little strange but SO YUMMY! To anyone who is trying to figure out where to live when they study abroad, look into a homestay! I get food, housing, linens, towels, and laundry washed every week. It is very reasonably priced! All the other students we have met are paying either the same price or more to live in normal apartments and they don’t get all the perks we do.

My first week here, I did lots of errand type things like getting a Spanish SIM card, opening a Spanish bank account, buying groceries, and figuring out my way around Barcelona. It is important to know that if you want to open a foreign bank account, you have to have a local phone number, I learned this the hard way and wasted sooooo much time. I am also very directionally challenged, so I am still getting the hang of navigating myself around town. I just have to go out into the city not afraid to get lost and not afraid to ask for directions. For the most part, people are nice and willing to help you. During our first week here, we took a Barcelona City Tour, which was a little pricy, but it helped us become more knowledgable about the city and its history, as well as provide us with a little layout of the city. We saw La Sagrada Familia, Tibidabo mountain, Park Guell, many Gaudi buildings, the beach, the Gotic quarter, and so much more. It was a nice investment.

Our first Sunday here was the first Sunday of the month, which means FREE MUSEUMS. We took this opportunity to go to the Picasso  museum. I thoroughly enjoyed our time there. It walked your through his life of painting and the exhibits were beautiful.

Our Second week here, we took our first trip out of the city. We went to Madrid and Toledo, Spain. Madrid was a lot of fun. We did a few touristy things and had the chance to meet up with a fellow Mays Exchange student who is studying there. My favorite restaurant there was called d’Norte, absolutely delicious. The city literally never sleeps! They stay up all night long if they go out. We got an early train out of the city at like 8am, and people were just starting to go home. It was insane. My favorite part of Madrid was the Royal Palace. HOLY COW!! So beautiful. the whole place was insanely ornate. Tapestries, porcelain, silver, gold, statues, murals, from floor to ceiling. Each room had a description plack that said what the room was used for. One of them said that the room was where “the king performed his daily changing ceremony”. haha. Basically his closet. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but it was so amazing, no picture would have done it justice. After Madrid, we went to Toledo which is a little town in a valley. SO CUTE! The streets were crazy narrow. Half the time I thought I was going to get ran over by the cars zipping through these little alley ways. I seriously don’t know how they were driving, the streets were so small. We enjoyed going to little shops, buying mazapan cookies, and taking a nature walk along the outside of the town near the river.

Since returning to Barcelona, We have had student orientation (less than impressive) and welcome week with the ESN (Erasmus Student Network). We have made lots of friends from all over the world, experienced La Merce (Barcelona’s big week long fiesta) and started school(biggest headache EVER). This past weekend we went to Tossa de Mar which is an adorable town along Costa Brava beach. Absolutely beautiful! Seriously felt like I was living in a calender. We went to a little beach that was kinda hidden so there weren’t as many people. There were cliffs on either side, the water was crystal clear and astonishingly blue, and there were really cool rocks to climb on and jump off. It was a little freaky being able to see big bright fish swimming beneath you, but a completely surreal experience. I loved it so much!

Now school is getting started and the chaos has officially set in. Classes are so difficult to get into, and the university is crazy unorganized. I’m sure in the end it will all work out, but I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought about just giving up at times. I’m not going to lie, its been hard. I miss my family, friends, and fiance. My class schedule is a mess and getting a complete makeover. My sleep schedule is still needing adjustments. I still get lost walking around town, and learning a new language is really difficult. But the “goods” truly outweigh the bad. I know I am growing through this whole experience, even though I feel like crawling into a whole sometimes. I have found a Church community here called ICB (International Church of Barcelona) and I can’t tell you how comforting it is as a Christian to have that support. God is the only thing that has remained constant through all of this and I am learning to rely on Him so much more. Getting connected at a church has provided me with so much peace, and helped my make even more friends, both local and international. If you are used to having a church community at home, I HIGHLY recommend getting connected to one abroad. Even if you don’t get super involved, its nice to have Sunday mornings feel like they do at home.

So as of right now, Barcelona is amazing and I’m slowly realizing how much it has to offer. Classes are crazy disorganized but getting simpler by the minute. Slowly but surely I’m establishing a community of friends from all over the world that are so much fun to be with! I can’t wait to see how my time here progresses and changes. Oh, I’m also planning on visiting some distantly related family that live in Italy within the next month so that will be what I write about next. I’m so excited! 🙂

Tossa de Mar

Tossa de Mar

Categories: 2014, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

¡Hola!

My name is Beatriz. I will be attending Universitat de Pompeu Fabra, a relatively new yet internationally ranked university that is quite well known in Europe. This being my first blog entry, I apologize beforehand if it is so long. I just have so much to say and I feel like I can only touch on everything briefly.

I have been in Barcelona for three weeks now, and although it may seem like a long time I still find myself learning the ways of the Catalonians.I was lucky that another fellow Aggie, Katrina, is also studying at UPF and so we have been going through the journey together. Classes have still not begun so we have been exploring the city and visiting the tourist sites. So far I have found Barcelona to be such a diverse city. As you travel through the city you can go from a small historic community, to large buildings and skyscrapers, to the Gothic quarter, to mountains, and to the beach. It is evident that the city is still evolving, with new up and coming neighborhoods. Katrina and me are both staying with the same host family. We live in an apartment with Teresa and her teenage daughter, Alba. Our apartment is located in El Poblenou, an area of the neighborhood Sant Marti. This specific area is a developing family oriented neighborhood that used to be filled with factories and business buildings. Just two streets away is the Torre Agbar, a beautiful glass building that houses the water services company.

Around the city there are numerous tourist sites. Some I think are worth paying to see the inside of and others are okay to just take look at. All around the city you will find famous Gaudi works. You can’t leave the city without going to all if not atleast some of his works which include: Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Batllo, La Pedrera, Colonia Guell, Palau Guell, and Casa Vicens. Depending on when you come some of them might be closed for repairs. This was the case when I went to La Pedrera. There are other remarkable sites around the city such as the Tibidabo mountain, the Monjuic mountain, the Picasso Museum, and the Catedral de Barcelona just to name a few. It would honestly take someone at least a week to truly get a good glance at Barcelona. There are many other museums not mentioned that I haven’t gotten around to visiting.

After about a week of being in Barcelona we took a trip to the Madrid, the capitol, and Toledo a nearby town. Just a short recap on the differences between Madrid and Barcelona (based on my observations, I could be wrong):

  • Barcelona is more spread out
  • The streets of Madrid are so much busier
  • Barcelona has more tourists
  • People in Barcelona are more open to trying to speak English for tourists
  • Madrid has 3 really important and extensive museums
  • Madrid has a much better park (Parque del Retiro)
  • The nightlife in Madrid seemed to take place all over the city where as in Barcelona it is only in certain areas
  • The metro system in Barcelona is better maintained, more useful, and a bit cheaper
  • And OFCOURSE in Barcelona they speak Catalan as well as Spanish

In general, the cities in Spain have basic similarities. For example, unlike in the US people in Spain are so much more relaxed and never seem to be in a hurry. It is very common for people here to be late so everyone walks at a slow pace and takes 2+ hours to eat meals. Although I’m not very fond of people not being punctual, I do appreciate that meals are a social affair. When ordering at a restaurant it is not uncommon to not have drinks listed on the menu. I find that the only time they are listed is when they are house specials, which means its only cocktails. It is assumed that all restaurants serve the same non-alcoholic beverages. Nightlife is extremely different. Here clubs are open from 12am to either 5 or 6 am, and then there are also after hour clubs. So when I say that they like to party, I mean they REALLY like to party.

At the moment I am attending my university’s orientation week, which is filled with ERASMUS events. Through the program I have gotten to meet people from all over and am just now starting to keep track of people’s names and hanging out with. The third week of September Barcelona has huge festivities. The event is called Festes de la Mercè and they have events for families, musical performances, parades, fireworks, and free music concerts all over the city. If you are in Barcelona during La Mercè, you must attend the Correfoc (fire run parade), the Castells (human pyramid), and at least one of the fireworks show.

Well I think I’ve over done it for sure. Stay tuned for next month. ¡Hasta luego!

(Below is a link to my dropbox folder because there’s simply no way I could only pick one or two pictures)

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/k0d8lfbe61cxhls/AADLp5eZAPkdiXh5I0QB406za?dl=0

Categories: 2014, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain