It has been a couple of weeks since I have returned from my study abroad experience, and it has been tough. When I first got to Barcelona I didn’t have any culture shock or any trouble adjusting to the time zone there because I was so excited to be in a foreign city by myself. My return home was a different story. For the first week I woke up every day at 6 am because it was noon in Barcelona, and I always got very tired at the end of the day when all of my friends wanted to hang out and were doing things. This was one of the first things I noticed about coming back home. The next challenging aspect of moving home was when I was hungry and when I ate. Now this may seem like a ridiculous struggle to have but when eating in Barcelona I would eat lunch around 2:30 and dinner at 8-9:30, but at home we ate at noon and like 6-7:30 so I was never hungry at the right times and didn’t really eat much with my family. Although these are small things they really play a big impact into a persons life.
The next thing that was challenging when coming back home was reverse culture shock. When I went to Barcelona I was so excited to be there and so ready to immerse myself into the culture that I didn’t experience any culture shock because I was open to almost anything, but when I returned home it was tough. When in Barcelona I would wake up every day and walk out on my balcony and look at the incredible view and then walk to class and get to look at all the architecture and beautiful sights. At home, I was either stuck in my house or had do drive my car to get to where I wanted to go, and everything was the same stuff I looked at and went to in high school. I was slightly depressed when coming home because I had moved away from this new incredible place where I experienced so many new things, and now I was back home to the place I spent 20 years of my life and have done everything there is to do. Even things such as being 20 minutes on the Metro away from the beach were tough to get used to not having since now I am nowhere near a beach. Overall it was a tough adjustment being back in my hometown instead of being in Barcelona.
The last challenging aspect about returning home was the food. Barcelona offered new food and new food experiences that I don’t have at home. Whether it be traditional tapas or a fresh seafood paella the food in Barcelona was incredible, but now I don’t have the options I did there. The first few days it was fine because I missed a lot of my home food such as Skyline and Chipotle, but after that I just wanted to be able to go to all of my restaurants that I loved in Barcelona. This summer was the greatest experience of my life and I got to experience so much culture and so many different things and I am happy and sad to be back in the United States and at UofL again, and I can’t wait until my next traveling adventure when I go abroad.
The next couple of weeks I spent exploring the city of Barcelona, and going to beaches during the week. During the weekends, I made multiple trips to Girona, the south of France, and Costa Brava through the ISA program. The trip to Girona and the south of France were involved in the same trip. Girona was such a fun trip for me because multiple scenes of the show Game of Thrones were filmed there, and it was so cool to see where they were actually filmed.
Next on that trip we visited Arles, France. This is the place where Picasso painted one of his famous pictures, and Van Gogh lived and visited the hospital for his ear. This city was quite interesting and even had a large outdoor market to shop in. The next part of this trip was a stay in Montpellier. This was a cool town with a lot going on. At night, we walked around a square and watched a bunch of street performers dancing. Below are pictures of the painting as well as the actual place that he painted. Overall France was a really cool trip seeing a lot of art and different architecture, but my favorite part of that trip is most definitely going to Girona and seeing all the different locations that Game of Thrones was filmed.
The next weekend I went to Costa Brava, a popular vacation spot for people who live in Barcelona, and it’s a lot less touristy than Barcelona. We took a bus to our hotel in Roses, and then took a boat to a very cool city Cadeques (pictured below). This was a beautiful and hard to reach city but had great views and good beaches. This is even the location of Salvador Dali’s house and it was really cool. The next day of the trip we actually went to the museum of Salvador Dali, and that place was crazy. It was like walking into the mind of a madman artist and all of the exhibits were crazy and awesome. Walking through the museum was fun and quite interesting.
These were two really fun trips filled with different arts, cultures, and beautiful views and architecture. I learned a lot more about art than I thought I would and really enjoyed all of it. The next two weekends I am going to have will be spent in Barcelona and then Ibiza and I am very excited!
For the past four weeks I have done so much has been hard to get myself to write a blog post because it feels like we are never sitting down and we are always out exploring this great city. Over the course of my trip so far I have been to not only all around Barcelona, but to multiple other places in Spain and even into the south of France. Since I have visited so many places I figure that I will recap each place and show pictures of the many places that I have been. The first picture is the view from my apartment. We live by Parc Joan Miro and Plaza Catalunya, and this really cool shopping center that was once a bull fighting arena. This is a really cool area with good food and even an awesome art museum to visit.
A few days after we arrived I went to La Sagrada Familia, the church designed by Gaudi. This was an incredible experience. The pictures don’t do justice on how big this actually is. We learned about the history of the church as well as all the symbolism and attention to detail that was put into every aspect of the design. They are not even finished with La Sagrada Familia yet, but they have plans to be done by 2026, celebrating 100 years after Gaudi’s death.
Next me and my roommates decided to explore the Labyrinth Park of Horta which was an interesting experience. The Labyrinth wasn’t as large as we expected it to be, but we still ended up getting lost a few times and taking the wrong way a lot. We ended up making it through and it was a pretty cool little place to visit sort of away from the city.
The next big thing that I did, and it is probably one of my favorite things is visit Park Guell and Bunker. Park Guell is a great place to see the city of Barcelona, and get a great picture on a bench designed by Gaudi. Although we didn’t pay to get the picture on the bench we still got a good view of the city, but then we continued over to Bunker, which was an even better view of the entire city. Bunker is just an old bunker on top of hill at the edge of the city where you can get a great view of the whole city, and we stayed up there for an hour just taking in the views. The first picture is one of Park Guell and the second one is a picture of Bunker.
My next activity will be a trip to the South of France I will end my blog here and write about my explorations outside of Barcelona in my next post!