This weekend was filled with a trip to Germany. I flew to Frankfurt to then take an hour bus to Heidelberg. I was happy to know I would have a friend waiting for me when I got there. She lived in the United States for a year or so, but moved back to Germany last year. So, I had a place to stay and a friend to show me around!
However, the bus I had to take from the airport was 3 hours late. So, I had I sit and wait in Frankfurt until 3:30 in the morning to then head to Heidelberg. It was a long night to say the least. It was worth it in the end though.
In Heidleberg, I proceeded to eat anything local to Germany. The food was amazing! My friend took me to all the local places that most people would not have known about. Then, we visited the castle which was incredible. The architecture, color, and just beauty of it was unbelievable.
Then, Saturday, we left Heidleberg to go to the small town that she was from. Her parents provided me a place to sleep and somewhere to have a meal. The breakfast was delicious. There was a local fair and fun night life atmosphere. Germany was an incredible place, and I am excited to continue my travels to London.
This weekend I spent three full days exploring and experiencing the life of living in Sevilla, Spain. Sevilla is located in Andalucía which is a southern region in Spain. Here they are known for many aspects including flamenco, the alcazar, and many other important structures and places. I just happened to have the chance of experiencing a few of the amazing things that Sevilla has to offer.
As soon as I arrived, I was off to see the Alcazar. It was an incredible sight in all honesty. The amount of time, money, and effort that was put into constructing such a beautiful palace and series of gardens was unbelievable. I was getting lost in the gardens from how immense it all was. If you come to Sevilla, that is something you cannot miss.
Through my hostel, I was able to take a three hour tour throughout the entire city and learn a great portion of the history and culture that developed there. Yes, three hours is a long time, but it was more than worth it. Also, the Cathedral of Sevilla and the Giralda are two structures that need to be explored during your stay.
Sevilla was incredible, but the greatest moment was at a local bar that hosted a live band and flamenco dance. It was a tight squeeze with everyone in there, but the excitement, laughter, and art created by these individuals was incredible. It was not like a normal dance concert you would see, and these exist is Sevilla. However, with this bar, it was a circle of a crowd surrounding the singers, guitarists, and dancers as the crowd joined in the singing and excitement of it all.
Sevilla was an incredible journey, and definitely one of my favorite spots so far. I’m excited to continue my travels in the weeks to come. I wish I had more time to explore the city, but only so much time left of my study abroad. I am off to Heidelberg, Germany on Thursday evening. I cannot wait to see what that city has in store.
This weekend was a trip planned through the Barcelona SAE program. The trip was to País Vasco or the Basque Country. The destinations began with a vineyard known as Vivanco in which the village built its culture and wealth off of their wine production. Here, they grew their own grapes of many varieties. Then, they made the wine in the same location. The wine was incredible, and the museum was just as impressive. The museum consisted of the history of wine making in full detail, even since the roman times. Equipment, glasses, techniques, and other items were present throughout the display.
Then, we made our way to Bilbao. In the Basque Country, they speak a language that is unrelated to the Castilian or Spanish language of the country. I could not make any sense of the signs or restaurants. However, most of the locals speak fluent Spanish, and many understand English. We visited the Guggenheim Museum which was the major attraction of the city. Then, in San Sabastian, we walked the length of the bay. This was a beautiful location. To top off the experience, the pinxtos, which are their small appatizers were incredible. They were little foods that you would not even know what was in it, but still was incredible. San Sabastian is known to have the best food in Spain due to their high amount of five star chefs.
The final stop on the trip was Pamplona. This city is home to the running of the bulls. Here, we walked the path to which they runners traveled upon. It is only a 3 minute sprint, but multiple runs happen throughout the week it occurs.
On a side note, this past week was incredibly eventful in Barcelona and Catalonia in general. The Catalonian government declared officially that it would begin the process of succeeding from Spain. This was met with immediate retaliation from the Spanish government. The enacted an article that would allow the Spanish government through the constitution to take control of their government, strip their officials, and have direct rule within Catalonia. Now, it is a very tense situation. Who knows what will happen in the weeks to come, but witnessing this history is something special, so I am anxious to see what happens next. I will update you all on the events next weekend after my trip to Sevilla.
Hola…..more like Bonjour!
This weekend I’ve spent three days exploring Paris. I woke up at around 4am to catch a flight to Paris, France. It was an early wake up, but it was definitely worth it. As soon as I arrived, I was caught off guard by the temperature. I thought a ten degree different wasn’t an issue, but it was so cold in comparison to Barcelona. I could see my breath when I got off of the plane. I didn’t realize how lucky I was with the weather in Barcelona.
As soon as I got to the city center, I went to some of the major sites which included; the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. I was amazed by the pure size and architectural effort put into the structures. I knew I had to return to Eiffel Tower at night, which I did. However, the hostel was quite an experience. It was a little bit on the rough side of places I’ve stayed. Pictures can lie for sure when you’re buying a hostel, so be careful. I dealt with it anyway.
I know that when you visit another country you should eat their local foods. This was a bit of a struggle given budget constraints and the impulse that seeing a Five Guys and Chipotle can cause. I did have a French meal though one of the evenings which was delicious. On Saturday, I visited the Palace of Versailles. If you visit Paris, this is a must on the to do list. The pure grandeur of the building itself was enough to take in at once. However, the gardens were also something to be seen. Huge gardens with musical fountains was an incredible sight.
Lastly, Notre Dame and the Sacre Coeur were the two cathedrals I visited during my stay. Both were massive and incredibly detailed. The view from the Sacre Coeur was unbelievable, and I highly suggest the trip. Paris was a nice trip to take for the weekend, and I am excited to say that I’ve been there. I am now loling forward to heading back to Barcelona, and then eventually to the Basque Country this upcoming weekend.
This upcoming week will be the midterm week for my program. You know what that means…tests. However, it is not the end of the world when your in another country learning about the history as it happens. It really is exciting to just gain all this knowledge directly from individuals who experience the life of Barcelona on a regular basis. This weekend there were a few individuals who decided to fly in. Friends studying in the London program arrived, and that means being a tour guide. I love to see everyone’s reactions to all the sights, buildings, food, and the beach. I think the warm weather was definitely the first thing they enjoyed.
Now, I am trying to cope with studying for exams and presentations this week while trying to plans trips all at the same time. Next weekend, I will be on a flight headed to Paris. I cannot wait to take my first excursion to another country. On Thursday, we went to a secluded beach that was an hours hike after a forty minute train ride south of Barcelona. The water was unbelievable. It was nice to just be away from the tourism and all of the individuals on the beach who constantly try to sell you things. Tomorrow, we are headed back to the same beach to show the London boys what a real beach in Barcelona is like.
I now need to start planning my trip to London, so I can be the tourist and they can be the guides. The hardest part about trying to plan these excursions is that you can all choose a few options because there is so much to do in such a short amount of time. Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Britain, etc… I could go on and on about the places I want to visit. At least I can say that I am going to Paris. This will be the first moment to which I cannot actually speak the language of the place that I am in. In Spain, I can communicate effectively, but France will be a whole different ballgame. I cannot wait to update you all about the adventure.
The efforts for independence are still in full force. However, both parties are now taking part in attempts to end the dispute. Today, it was a beautiful chance to hit the beach for some relaxation before getting back to work. The mission was to take the metro to a bus that would take us to a more secluded beach around 20 miles away from Barcelona. Only one issue, the demonstrations kept us from not only walking to the metro, but it they also stopped the movement of buses. Today’s demonstration was of individual’s fighting to keep Spain united. It seems that parties are taking turns to try and put forth their emotions and feelings towards the independence movement. So, we decided to stay here in Barcelona and simply go to the beach that is 15 minutes away on the metro. After the two hours of attempting to take the bus, the only option was to stay here and try and relax on the beach.
Classes have really started to pick up, and despite the work load, the ability to have the opportunity to witness and learn history happen in front of you is incredible. The professors have become extremely engaged in keeping students involved with the current events in Barcelona. The excitement and tension that the professors demonstrate allows me to see how much this is really affecting. No one is sure about what is actually going to happen with the whole independence effort. The entire country of Spain is uncertain in regards to what will happen.
This week, I hope to finalize the travel plans outside of Spain as well as other areas within. It will be a week filled with school work and travel plans, and i am excited to keep you all informed on my future travels.
Today, the referendum occurred in Catalonia. This illegal vote was in efforts to separate itself from the nation of Spain. As an American, it was incredible to see these individuals in support of this cause acting in a peaceful manner even with the presence of the police force. Many were injured throughout Catalonia, and Barcelona was a major region affected from the vote. However, as expected, the Spanish government will not recognize this because it is against the constitution. Therefore, it is hard to imagine the tension that will be present here in Barcelona for the weeks to come. It will be an experience to go to classes this week and hear the perspective of professors on the subject.
My mission during this entire affair was to remain as distant as possible from the protests and voting. The police were using a moderate amount of force as they raided and searched for the voting ballots. There were many instances of police brutality ranging from; rubber bullets, batons, kicking, and hair pulling. There are many videos of the police inflicting violence on peaceful protestors and voters who simply want to make their voice known. The vote was illegal, but the way in which the Spanish government handled it was far from just. I hope that this does not create too many issues while I continue my studies here in Barcelona. As classes being to pick up, I have become immersed in my studies and hope that I will be able to continue them in a positive manner. Now, it is time to look into trips outside of Barcelona and Spain. I will update you all with more details in the following week about the situation here in Spain.