Barcelona- week 1
Barcelona in three words: beautiful, lively, amazing. I have been here less than a week, but I already know that this is the experience of a lifetime. It still hasn’t hit me that I have four months to live in this beautiful place.
So far, I am good friends with another girl in my program, Sammy. I have also made friends with people in my residencia: my roommate Carolina (from Brazil), Lucia (from Colombia), Lorenzo (from Italy), Lobke (from Belgium), and more. I also know people from Sammy’s residencia, so I have met many new people from around the world. In addition, we have hung out with another study abroad group from Maryland a good amount, and I have a couple of friends from my home university who are here!
My residencia is located on Gran de Gracia, in the Gracia district. The location is amazing- a five minute walk to Avenue Diagonal, two metro stops from Passeig de Gracia (which has many landmarks and shopping areas), and three metro stops from Placa Catalunya, the center of the city. I have a balcony overlooking the street, and it is beautiful (though loud).
On the first day, my program advisers and Sammy ate at the top of the Claris hotel. We had a beautiful view of the city, with the mountains and an old church on the hilltop. I had goose liver, mushroom ravioli and a poached egg as an appetizer, fish and rice, And banana crepes for dessert. All so good, and cost my advisers more than 100 euros! We had a lot of greenery on top of the hotel, and I hope to go there again.
Restaurants in Barcelona have a good lunch menu- they give you a three course lunch for under about 10 euros- a pretty good deal! We have been doing that, and I always get two things Barcelona is known for: fresh fish and delicious chocolate. I am also cooking in my residencia to save money.
I have been on two awesome tours so far. The first one was a Gothic tour of Barcelona. We started at an ancient church, and worked our way around. We went to the steps where Columbus first told the king that he had found America. Who knew that he also kidnapped six slaves and had a really sketchy past? We also went to a 600 year old cathedral that had an antique marketplace outside. We then went to the oldest temple in Barcelona, and saw the place where Gaudi (a famous architect) was fatally wounded and where 40 children died in a Spanish civil war bombing. We then went to las ramblas- a marketplace. They have homemade chocolate (that started in Spain after colonization of the new world) where you dip it into random things. They have all sorts of shops, an erotic museum, and a huge marketplace with amazing fresh fruit, vegetables, chocolates, meats, fish… everything. I definitely want to go back!
Then, I went on a modern tour! It was really quite cool. We had the same tour guide as the other day, and he was very intelligent and informational. We learned about Placa de Musical (beautiful concert area 100 years old), went to the 4 Cats (Picasso’s hangout), went to Passeig de Gracia and saw Placa Catalunya, Casa Amatller, and Casa Batllo, as well as another Gaudi work and a store. It was cool to hear about the history and see the architecture of the modern days.
Today, I went on a run and found new places. I finally saw the Sagrada Familia- what a breathtaking site! I also found dog parks, playgrounds, and other cool places that you can only find by wandering around a city. I then went with friends to the Picasso museum- for free! Barcelona has a lot of free museums on Sundays. After, we went to this delicious place called Farggi, and had fried dough dipped in a bowl of chocolate!
Almost every night, I have gone out with friends and really explored the city. I have met locals, people from around the world, and have not had the same nightlife experience twice. Going to new sites and seeing new people every night is a norm, and I will never get tired to finding new places to dance, socialize, and meet locals
I start school on Tuesday, and my internship (I think) next week. Many good things to come!