This week I had the opportunity to spend my spring break abroad traveling to, and experiencing five different cities: Barcelona, Andorra, Marseilles, Nice, and Monaco. As you can tell they’re all along the coast of the Mediterranean, with the exception of Andorra being surrounded by mountain ranges. It sounds like an awfully daunting thing for someone like me to take on, but luckily I had my roommate with me (the trip was his idea). We stayed in Hostels and explored what the cities had to offer during the day and night (or lack thereof). Overall it was a trip I’ll never forget, even with some minor bumps along the road.
My roommate left the Friday our spring break started to go to Portugal. I would fly into Barcelona very early Saturday morning and meet him at our hostel. I was so excited to go I could hardly sleep that night, especially since I had to wake up at 3am to make my flight at 6am. As a side note, the whole airport security in the EU is so much more efficient and easier than it was in the US. Once I had arrived at the Barcelona airport, I immediately realized how foreign it was to me. I never really thought seeing everything being in Spanish would throw me off as much as it did, even though I never once took a Spanish class. I guess I just wasn’t prepared for that fact that not everything was catered to the English language. Of all people, I would’ve expected the immigration officer to speak English, but I guess he saw my American passport and knew I’d only be visiting.
My first real Spanish encounter was with my taxi driver. He spoke zero English, yet still spoke to me in Spanish as if I knew what he was saying anyways. Luckily I had the address to the hostel ready on my phone and that was all he needed. Driving through the city I noticed immediately how beautiful the city was. Everything about the city just felt refreshing, from the architecture, to the people, and even the weather. I had been there for less than an hour and I was already falling in love with it.
Never before stayed in a hostel, I really didn’t have any expectations to it. However the hostel was so friendly and welcoming. It was so lively even at 10 in the morning. All I heard was the familiar English language and that immediately made me felt comfortable. I was staying in a room with seven other travelers. My roommate had already stayed a night in a different at the hostel and pretty much as soon as I got their we began to explore the city.
We were given a very handy map that pinpointed all the places we should visit. We started off going down one of the main streets looking for breakfast and we found ourselves at one of the cathedrals. It was packed with tourists outside and inside. After that we just kept heading down south towards the beachfront.It was incredible. The weather was perfect and I felt right at home at the beach. It was packed full of tourists (everywhere, not just the beaches). We ended up getting breakfast at one of the beach side restaurants and I just felt like I was in paradise.
We spent the rest of the day exploring more of the city, just walking from one famous attraction to the next. We headed towards a really famous cathedral, but unfortunately we didn’t get to go in because it was $15 and we had to get tickets in advance.After that we started heading towards one of the famous park a little close to the beach. I immediately noticed how lively the park was. It was also when I realized how lively and animated the entire city was, even if there wasn’t any tourists around. People were just out and about enjoying their life as it is. I felt so happy inside because of that. Everywhere was teeming with people just simply enjoying themselves.
As we were heading to leave the park, we managed to discover one of the famous Arch of Triumph. Walking down the street leading up to the arch, again I could just feel how lively the promenade was. It was amazing to see, especially the arch in the distance with it growing with each step.
By this time it was starting to get dark and we decided to go up Rambla street looking for dinner. Apparently, Rambla street is one of the things Barcelona is known for. It was a street full of small shops, food, and definitely tourists. It was extreamly difficult to walk down the street because of the sheer amount of people. Nevertheless it was quite the experience. We ended up getting dinner at a Tapas restaurant, which I didn’t know before, but it just meant appetizers and I didn’t really get the appeal to it. Don’t get me wrong it was good food, but I didn’t understand why they would be known for that.
After dinner, the exhaustion started to hit as I realized I only really got a total of 4 hours of sleep. Yet my roommate wanted to experience the night life. We ended up at a shot bar that had over 200 different types of shots, for only $2 each. It was quite amazing seeing all these people coming in and taking all sorts of wild shots. I fell asleep almost immediately from all the exhaustion, knowing tomorrow would take me to an entirely new country, Andorra.