Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Barcelona week 10

I can’t believe I have made it to double digits. 10 weeks. It is too surreal. I would be pretty sad about the time passing by, but luckily I had one of the best weeks of my life this week :)

I had a visitor from home this week, and so I literally got to play tourist all week long. I used vacation days for my internship, and skipped a day and a half of class. We went on many adventures- some old for me, some new for me, but all exhilarating for Evan.

We didn’t do too much on Monday because he was really tired. We did accomplish some main things though: planning our trip, napping, eating, and going to some touristy places (like a main road La Rambla and seeing the center of the city- Plaza Cataluyna). 

On Tuesday, I took him on a walking tour of the city. His hostel was in the Gothic quarter, so I took him around there and showed him some historical parts of Barcelona. I explained the significance of some statues, gave him some history about Christopher Columbus, some of the shops and squares, showed him where Gaudi was fatally wounded, and took him to one of the biggest churches. We went to the top of the church and got a pretty cool view of the city, too. That night, we had a picnic on the beach. We bought our own material for sandwiches, watched the sunset, and stayed outside for hours. Then we got gelato, walked down one of the main plazas of the city (La Rambla), and ended at the old center of the city (Plaza Catalunya). 

On Wednesday, I had one of my favorite days here. Evan and I went to Montserrat, a city about an hour away. The city has a beautiful Monastery on top of a mountain, as well as many hiking trails. Not only is Montserrat Monastery of significant religious importance, but the natural beauty surrounding the monastery is breathtaking. Montserrat was founded in 880 when pilgrim children saw a light descending from the sky in the mountains.  Montserrat is also home to the Virgin of Montserrat, Catalonia’s favorite saint. It is said the monks could not move the statue because the powers were so strong, so they built the monastery around it. After looking at the Monastery and seeing the legendary boy’s choir, Evan and I hiked up the Sant Jeroni path. Seven kilometers to the peak, and 500 meters vertical, it was definitely a work out. It took us about two hours to get there, and an hour and a half to come down. But the views at 1236 meters were so amazing that the hike was worth it. 

On Thursday was another great day, filled with a lot of memories. After sleeping in, eating some fresh doner kebab and walking around Plau de la Musica, Evan and I headed to the Labrinth d’Horta park. This is north of the city, and it feels like you’re in a whole new world. The park had reflecting pools, flowers, rivers, waterfalls, nice buildings, sculptures, and a cool labyrinth maze. We spent hours there enjoying the practically deserted park. From there, we walked to the Bunkers del Carmel, one of my favorite places in this city. I was frustrated because we got a little lost, and I was sore from the hike before, but we once again bought sandwich materials and had a picnic at sunset. We stayed for a couple of hours, until it was very dark and we could see every star in the sky. Later that night, we went to one of my favorite clubs, Bling Bling, for the chocolate fountain. Delicious! 

On Friday, I left Evan alone to work on grad school applications and papers, and went on a day trip to Tarragona with my program! There were only 10 of us girls who went, because everyone else was in Dublin celebrating St. Patty’s day. I, however, think it was worth it to visit the little gem of a city. Tarragona is an old, important place with Roman significance. It houses Roman ruins, used to have chariot rides, gladiator showdowns, theaters, and fresh stone work. We started a tour with looking at an old coliseum (which prosecuted Christians in the 1st century, as well as housed shows for citizens, but had a church built in the middle of the circle in the 14th century to honor the persecuted Christians). We walked around the town and saw the old forum, and buildings with the original architecture and arches from the time period. For lunch, we were privileged to go to this beautiful and expensive restaurant. I devoured vegetables with sauce, a paella dish, and a chocolate molten cake. We even had chocolate chupitos and coffee to finish our 2 hour and fifteen minute lunch. After a spontaneous trip to the beach, it was a great day. At night, I took Evan to my favorite club (Opium).   

On Saturday, we slept in and went to lunch at two. Evan and I went to a place on La Rambla where you got 3 tapas, paella, and a dessert for 7.95 euros- a steal! We then went to Montjuic- the “Jewish Mountain” where the 1992 Olympics were held. Evan said this was his favorite part of the trip. We saw the old Olympic plazas, fields, and some surrounding gardens. At 7:00, another friend of mine met Evan and we watched the light show on Montjuic together. The giant fountain there has coordinated lights and fountain streams to different songs. We watched it for an hour and a half, and then grabbed chocolate con churros :) 

On Sunday, we got the best sandwich in town at Bo de B- delicious and cheap. Not to mention, close to the beach, so we could eat our sandwiches on the beach and enjoy the perfect weather. We went to the Maritime museum for free, and took a cruise at sunset that night! The cruise around Port Vell was fantastic. We bought sangria (a famous Spanish wine), hung out on the semi-private boat, and watched the sunset for an hour and a half while listening to a jazz saxophone. At 10:00, we went to a free dinner at Shoko (though Evan had to pay 10 euros, he said it was worth it). We ate delicious sushi, listened to a singer, watched a fashion show, and hung out for the beach—all for free! 

Monday was Evan’s last day, which was pretty sad. But, we did have a great time eating lunch together and seeing the outside of the Sagrada Familia, going to Bo de B again and getting a sandwich, watching the sunset over the Arc de Triumf, getting cheap tapas at Cien Montaditos, and going to the beach for several hours after dark. 

Overall, what a fantastic week with some of my favorite people <3

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