First off, I’d like to apologize for being the worst updater in the world. I’ll promise to try and be better, but if you know me you know, that’s a long shot.
Three weeks ago, I jet-setted off to Barcelona with my best friend, Molly, who is studying abroad in Paris. I left immediately after my last class Thursday and getting to the main airport here in Rome proved to be the most difficult task ever. Transportation in Rome runs on no real timetable. They want to tell you it does, but anyone who has lived, or even visited here for .25 seconds realizes how extremely frustrating the system is. After nearly missing my bus, misplacing my ticket and then having a train on the track literally stopping for 45 minutes because it could “not move,” I made it to Barcelona around midnight! The flight was packed with study abroad students and I managed to meet some girls who were from Maryland on another program. All in all, the flight was super fast and relatively comfortable, so no complaints. Thank you Vueling for making my first budget airline experience satisfactory.
I met Grace, another friend from home who is currently studying in Barcelona, at her apartment. Apologies to the cab driver who was thoroughly confused by my fusion of Spanish and Italian. I took Spanish in high school and was surprised by how much I remembered, but since I am currently taking Italian courses I’ve learned a lot of helpful travel words. I mixed up dove and donde on numerous occasions and said ciao instead of adios, almost every single time. Sorry, espana I tried!
Friday morning, Molly got in and we met up with her at our hostel, which was in the most legit location ever! We were literally right next to the gorgeous Gaudi house/museum. The street resembled that of 5th Avenue in New York due to the myriad of expensive stores and restaurants. I was really pleased and minus the most awkward roommate interactions ever, Molly and I had a successful first hostel stay. Although, in the future we will definitely be requesting an all-female room.
All day Friday we toured around the city, hitting up Las Ramblas, the Gothic area and the port. It was absolutely gorgeous outside and the fact that we were right by the water only brightened our spirits. That evening Grace took us to a flamenco show where we were served an authentic Spanish meal including tapas and paella. The flamenco show was small and intimate, but definitely worth it. At one point during the dance, she asked a male volunteer from the audience to come up. He was surprisingly really good and absolutely hilarious at the same time. Irish boy can bust a move.
Saturday, Molly and I woke up around 9, got breakfast from the hostel and began our second day of sightseeing. We met up with our friend from home Caroline, who is studying abroad in France. It was so great to see her even if it was for an hour. She is probably the funniest person I know and she gave us a quick recap of her winter break; her life=a comedy movie.
Molly and I then hit up the the best part of our entire trip, LA PLAYA. We could not believe we were sitting there looking out onto the Mediterranean sea. It was kind of ironic because we were dressed in jackets and boots, but the sun was out and the breeze felt good. We spent our entire afternoon there, then decided it’d be cool to ride the cable car that went across Barcelona. Everyone says the views are amazing and we figured, why not hit that up? FALSE. After standing in line for forty minutes, the ticket lady told us it was no longer “posible,” to ride. We assumed there was some sort of technical difficulty and angrily stomped away after wasting so much time. Luckily, we hit up this awesome restaurant two minutes away and enjoyed some burgers and nachos.
Side note: Variety in the Italian restaurant industry is practically nonexistent. It’s the most frustrating thing ever, because you can’t even go to the grocery store to buy some of ingredients either. So I began a list of things I cannot wait to eat when I get back to the states. Numero Uno: Burrito Bowl from Chipotle.
That evening, grace took us to a couple of different bars and after a lot of confusion and frustration we ended our night at a club called Elephant. This was place was probably one of the most gorgeous clubs I’ve seen yet. It had a tropical atmosphere with middle eastern decor topped with amazing music. If it was warmer out, I am sure we would’ve spent time in the outdoor garden, but we enjoyed ourselves, dancing the night away until about 5:30 AM.
My flight out of Barcelona was scheduled to take off at 9 AM, so I decided it would be best if I just got my stuff from the hostel and shuttle over to the airport instead of trying to wake up and potentially missing my flight. I was extremely exhausted when I got back to Rome, but it was definitely a nice feeling to get back to a place I have been calling home for the past couple of weeks.
I have been to a couple of European cities before studying abroad in Rome and can definitely say Barcelona has made it’s way to the top of my list. It’s gorgeous, clean, metro-efficient and lively. But for me, it was a great place to visit and just that. I am not sure if I would have like studying abroad there. I know the language barrier wouldn’t have been so much of an issue, but living in Rome has made me realize how much I love city life.
Until next time…