The past two Saturdays I’ve gone with my program on some pretty spectacular hikes. Last Saturday Ryan took my small group of five to the city of Olot. After a nice hour and a half nap on the bus we arrived to the small town north of Barcelona. Our tour guide Beth met us for a coffee and then we were off on our hike. Olot is a Natural Park meaning that people can live and work within the park, unlike a National Park. The park has about 40 volcanoes which haven’t been active for about 600,000 years. Our hike was pretty leisurely; we would walk for about 20 minutes and then stop so Beth could explain how volcanoes work, why they are here, if they will ever be active again, etc. She spoke both Spanish and English with us and brought a small white board to draw diagrams and spell words for us. She was very knowledgeable about the volcanoes and a great tour guide!
Olot was nothing like I had expected; while walking up and around the volcano I couldn’t even tell that we were in one. There were a lot of trees and greenery; to me it just seemed like the woods. All in all it was an awesome day; I definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Barca in the future!
This past Saturday my IFSA program tagged along with a group of about 12 from Maryland that has the same director as us. We went on an intense hike up Tibidabo. We journeyed uphill for about 2 hours taking water breaks along the way. It was exhausting but felt really great to be out of the city and in the fresh air for the day. Our end goal was the Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) at the top of the mountain. Her we took our time soaking up the amazing church as well as the spectacular view of the entire city of Barcelona.
Once done exploring the top, we started our journey down the other side of the mountain. To me this was the most difficult part of the hike since it was down a rough steep hill. A few hours later with a lot of breaks, we made it to the restaurant were we ate lunch. At this point we were all completely exhausted, so we sat back, enjoyed another sick view of Barcelona and ate some tasty Spanish food. I ordered tortilla, one of my favorites! Fun fact: Zach Braff was eating at the same restaurant at the same time as us. A girl in the group talked to him in the bathroom and nearly had a panic attack.
After lunch we practically crawled back to the metro and then back home. Both hikes were very different but equally awesome! I’m looking forward to more day trips through the program in the future.