Leaving Italy was bittersweet. I had grown attached to the Italian culture. But, my mother is half Spanish; making me a quarter, so going to Spain was comforting. It is the only place I had ever been in Europe before my adventure and I was excited to be going back. Barcelona was one Spanish city I had never seen before and always wanted to go, so I decided to start there.
I would give the hostel in Barcelona a 5 on a scale from 1 to 10. It was just too impersonal and very institutional. But there was quite a mixed bag staying in my room- a girl from Sicily, two girls from China, a Canadian couple, and a guy from Korea. And, there was a bar and Sangria was the perfect way for me to get in the Spanish mindset. I had two friends living in Barcelona at the time—one girl I went to school with was earning her English teaching certification and a guy I knew from Atlanta is working there as a sports journalist. Anyways, I couldn’t get in touch with either of them, so my first night there was somewhat of a disappointment—I ended up being bombarded by a British soccer team in town for some game. I am embarrassed to say I ended up at the Hard Rock Café with a group of sloppy, seemingly unintelligent athletes. Way to go, Caroline.
However, I believe I made up for it in the next week I spent in the beautiful city of Barcelona. I spent most of my time there with my two friends- drinking Sangria, bar-hopping, eating tapas, admiring the famous Antoni Gaudi’s architecture, touring the Gothic churches and truly beginning the life as a crazy Spanish person.
Maybe “crazy” isn’t the politically correct term, but Spaniards certainly know how to party and know how to do it well. They put Italians to shame when it comes to staying out all hours of the night and into the early mornings. Time slips away in Spain—seriously, one second it is midnight and the next thing you know its 4 a.m. and you would have never guessed it.
It took me a while to get used to the language change. It's strange switching from Italian to Spanish, because they sound very similar but are really incredibly different. Before my trip, my Spanish foundation was fairly strong, considering I studied it for years in school, and my Italian basically non-existant. But, since I had spent so much time in Italy, I was just getting good, and BAM- back to Spanish. I found myself digging deep back into my mind where I had stuffed my old Spanish grammar and vocab. in order to learn another language. After a few days and a bunch of mistakes, I started to get the hang of it again.
People really appreciate it when you at least try to speak the language. My pet peeve is when people do not even make an attempt at speaking the language, while thinking that speaking English slowly is going to make it any more understandable!! Drives me insane.
I was happy about was a change in food. I loved the pastas, pizzas and every other carb. Italy is famous for, but my body was over it. Italians know how to do it right, but after a while the three or four course meals get real old. In Spain, tapas (miniature appetizers) are genius, in my opinion. I could live off them- and I basically did when I was there. Granted, many of them don’t contain the healthiest ingredients you could imagine—one of my favorites is croquets: basically fried ham and cheese or sometimes they come with vegetables or seafood inside. They are absolutely delicious, and in moderation—like anything else- they won’t kill you. The chorizo—the Spanish sausage—was another favorite of mine. And the Spanish tortilla—an omelet-type tapa made with eggs and potato is a classic.
Another thing that is ridiculously unhealthy but very traditionally Spanish: Churros. They are basically strips of fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar. And, if you really want to go the extra mile (which I do), you can dip them in hot liquid chocolate. Mmmmm, Devilishly scrumptious.
And a famous park—Parc Guell—is one of the more touristy places in the city, full of scarf and jewelry vendors, and street musicians trying to make a buck. Nonetheless, it is probably close to the prettiest spot in Barcelona. There are beautiful birds flying around, several of Gaudi’s structures (including his own house) and views of the coastal Spanish city that took my breath away. It makes sense why people from all over the world visit it everyday.
Next stop—The farm.