I have been incredibly busy up until this week…and I only have about two and a half weeks left here, so I am sure I will just keep getting busier as my return home approaches. However, two weeks ago, I returned from one of the best trips of my life. Sam and I went to Barcelona and Paris and spent the middle of the week in Sevilla. Just seeing each other after two months apart was amazing, and on top of that, we got to travel through Europe together – an opportunity that most couples, let alone twenty-something year old couples get to do. I feel incredibly lucky to have spent the memorable ten days with him, so I thought I would share some of my best/funniest memories!
In each city, we saw all of the most important landmarks and museums, but we also spent time walking around and trying delicious foods!
In Barcelona, we went to this massive food market along Las Ramblas to grab a snack. At the market, I bought Sam a cone of Iberian ham (which he loves as much as I do – I knew we were perfect for each other). Then, I bought myself some grapes from a fruit stand, but since I have no idea about the metric system (thanks America!), I asked for way too many grapes and ended up carrying around a massive bag. Unfortunately, as much as I tried, I could not finish even half the bag. Eventually, Sam made me throw them away before I made myself sick. Also in Barcelona, we saw the Sagrada Familia (my favorite cathedral in Europe), Parc Guell, Casa Batllo, the Picasso Museum, and many cool neighborhoods. One of our best meals was tapas in this little bar that the guidebook recommended. We sat at the bar and picked the tapas from display cases in front of us. The octopus, which Barcelona is known, was surprisingly delicious and I felt like a true Spaniard sitting in the crowded bar on a Friday night.
Once in Sevilla, I had to go to my classes in the morning, but once I finished, I spent my time showing Sam around my Spanish hometown. He met my new study abroad friends and my host family – my host mom made us dinner one night and we all spoke a jumble of Spanish and English for Sam’s benefit, we had many laughs throughout the night! I also took Sam to a famous bar called El Rinconcillo, which was established in 1670 (aka before the US was a twinkle in England’s eye). At the bar, we ordered some drinks and tapas and while we were waiting, this really old man pulled a chair over near our table (where we were standing) and set his drink on our table. He then sat down and began writing. Before I knew it, he tapped my shoulder and hands me a napkin with a written note in Spanish. Essentially, his ‘love letter’ said that my hair was the color of chestnuts and I was more beautiful than the blue sky (as if I didn’t already know that!). It was pretty hilarious and the man seemed pretty harmless – I think he does that a lot. Before we left, he handed me a small leafy stem. Luckily, Sam didn’t get jealous.
Finally, in Paris, we stayed at a really neat hotel with old fashion decor and an over-the-top French style with (creepy) portraits hanging in the rooms. It was in a great location near the old Jewish Quarter and a short walk from Notre Dame and the Louvre. We visited a lot of sites – Mussee Pompidou (one of my favorites), the Louvre, Notre Dame, the lock bridge, the Catacombs, Eiffel tower (Obviously), among other places. We also ate great food – chocolate croissants, crepes, cafe, felafel, escargot, and the last night we went to this cool restaurant that grilled steaks in a fire right inside the restaurant. They served it up on a massive wooden platter with potatoes and salad for us to both share. It was delicious. We did more than eat in Paris – we also ate in Versailles! There’s a funny story about our train to Versailles – we were struggling to figure out the metro and how to buy the right tickets. Someone noticed our struggle and came over to help us, which is when he saw that we were trying to make a train that was currently arriving. I’m assuming that this man worked at the station, because he starting speaking rapidly in French and opened a gate for us to go run for the train without paying. It was a really nice gesture and a free ride, but unfortunately we didn’t make that train and had to wait for a different train a half hour later. Overall, we had an amazing time in Paris, especially when we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night time (it doesn’t get much more romantic – or cold – than that!). While in Paris, I realized that there really is so much to do there – it is a lively, beautiful, historical city with more than a lifetime’s worth of cultural experiences. I truly understand how people fall in love with Paris…I definitely have a crush (and want to go back to see more).
Tomorrow being Thanksgiving, my study abroad program is hosting a big American style (or as close as they can get it) dinner for us at a nice hotel. I’m looking forward to celebrating the holiday with all of my closest friends here, but I know it will feel weird to be apart from my family as they are all gathering together. Luckily, I have so much to be thankful for, so tomorrow I will surely be thinking of all of these things. Some of the many include my family, Sam, friends from home, new study abroad friends, my host family, Crosby and Bella, my education, my home, my new home in Sevilla, this once in a lifetime opportunity to travel the world, my family’s and my health, and the opportunities I have in the future to have a meaningful and happy life.
Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll be thinking of all of you!
The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Sam’s cone of ham
The Alcazar in Sevilla
On top of the Eiffel Tower!