Monday, August 20, 2012

Barcelona!

After a busy week at home, I've moved back to Boston and settled in on campus, so I finally have a chance to sit down and write my post about my trip to Barcelona with Stephanie!

We spent four days in Barcelona, which gave us a chance to go sight seeing, experience the nightlife, swim in the Mediterranean, and relax on the beach.  On our first night in the city, we decided to go out for a drink or two.  The thing about the tourist cities in Spain is that bar/club employees stand outside on the main streets and offer you coupons for free drinks and try to convince you to go to their bars. Most of the time, we just said "no, gracias" and kept on walking, but finally we gave in when one guy said, "just come on, it's a lot of fun!"  We followed him up to a crowded bar filled with people from all different countries and introduced us to the bartender, Salvatore, as "the American girls!"  We got a big welcome, and Salvatore found barstools and told us to sit at a table with the Germans.  We ended up having a great time, and spent the entire weekend hanging out with our new German friends.  On our last night out together, we decided to pay Salvatore another visit.  His bar was packed again, but he recognized the Germans right away, and kicked people out of our table from the first night so that we could sit there.  Needless to say, they were rather confused.  

Barcelona is an incredible city, and we got to see sights such as "La Sagrada Familia," a Basilica designed by the famous architect Antoní Gaudí.  The project was commissioned in 1883, and construction is estimated to be completed between 2026 and 2028.  We also visited Camp Nou, the home of Futbol Club Barcelona, arguably the best soccer team in Spain, and Europe.

El Gotic - this is the neighborhood of Barcelona where we stayed

The balcony at our hostel.


Passeig de Gracia

Camp Nou

Giant people-puppets dancing in a plaza.
La Sagrada Familia


La Sagrada Familia, opposite facade
Me with our German friend, Tim
Steph with Tim's brother, Mike
The German brothers with our bartender, Salvatore!



Thursday, August 16, 2012

Around Bilbao with Steph

When Steph arrived in Bilbao, I was excited to show her my home away from home and my new city.  On her first night, I brought her out in Getxo to Puerto Viejo (the Old Port), where there are lots of bars and restaurants. She had her first pintxos there, then we went to the beach where there were fiestas going on with fireworks, rides, sideshow games, and churros stands, of course!



Steph's first pintxos!

Churros con chocolate!


And a giant chocolate-filled, chocolate-covered churro for me :)
On Day 2 with Steph, we went into Bilbao to see the Guggenheim Museum and el Museo de Bellas Artes (fine arts museum), then went to Casco Viejo for an authentic Basque lunch.

Outside el Museo de Bellas Artes


Steph in Casco Viejo 
Steph with the Puppy at the Guggenheim
Pictures from Barcelona coming soon!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

There's no place like home :)

Hi everyone!!

Stephanie and I were on the go during her entire visit in Spain, so I haven't had a chance to post any updates.  I showed her around Bilbao, and we spent a long weekend in Barcelona before a few days of day trips to beaches not far from Bilbao.  We had a fantastic time together, and I have lots of photos and stories to post about it, so check back within the next few days!

We returned home on Thursday, and were traveling for a full 24 hours.  I was much more excited to come home than I expected to be.  My time in Spain has been even more amazing than I'd expected, but I've missed my family and friends, and there's no place like home <3  I was excited to land in Philadelphia after our 8 hour transatlantic flight, but unfortunately, we arrived to news of a delay for our flight to Boston.  It ended up being delayed 3 hours, but we finally made it home, and Dad and Mom welcomed us at Logan with big hugs :)  I got to relax with the family at the campground this weekend, and I'm still adjusting to the time and dealing with some jet lag and reverse culture shock.
I'm sure I'll be back into the swing of things in no time, but my travel experience has truly made an impact on me and my perspective in the world.  I'm looking forward to more adventures in the future!