Posts Tagged With: Barcelona

So this is goodbye?

Well, I am officially back in New Jersey so I guess this is goodbye. I could talk about what an amazing and life changing experience this was and how I grew as a person and sound as cliche as a Study Abroad pamphlet. So rather than be a redundant bore, I’m going to talk about how delicious the food is in Europe.

I actually tried snails! They were surprisingly minty and gross.

I actually tried snails! They were surprisingly minty and gross.

Spanish Tortilla with salmorejo (creamy tomato soup)

Spanish Tortilla with salmorejo (creamy tomato soup)

First, I’d like to thank my incredible host mother because home is where I had the best meals. She even taught me how to cook a few of my favorites, like Tortilla Espa├▒ola.

Churros and Chocolate: possibly the best thing to ever exist.

Churros and Chocolate: possibly the best thing to ever exist.

Those who study abroad and have the option of a host family should definitely do it, without my homestay, I would not have been exposed to the delicious cuisine of Spain without breaking the bank.

Patatas Bravas :)

Patatas Bravas ­čÖé

Pancakes from a very american brunch place in Spain

Pancakes from a very american brunch place in Spain

In Spain, the majority of the food was deliciously fried or very meat heavy. Ham and cheese croquettes was one of my favorite meals. The seafood in Spain is also beyond amazing (before going there I did not eat fish…that changed quickly upon arrival!), cod fish, shrimp, and other shell fish are popular.

Ham and cheese croquettes.

Ham and cheese croquettes.

Don’t be surprised either if you find all your meals lacking in vegetables. Coming from a home where I ate raw veggies on the daily, it was hardest to get used to having all of my veggies cooked in oil or fried. Bread is another staple at every meal. My host mother would buy bread from the bakery basically every other day and we would eat it with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Pirinono (a cinnamon-bun like dessert from Granada)

Pirinono (a cinnamon-bun like dessert from Granada)

Spanish coffee is better than Starbucks. But then again, any coffee is better than Starbucks.

Spanish coffee is better than Starbucks. But then again, any coffee is better than Starbucks.

Another main difference between Spanish and American cuisine is the hour at which food is eaten. In Spain, I would eat breakfast, then snack, then lunch at around 3pm, then another snack, and dinner was early at anywhere between 9 and 10pm.

I found the best cake place in Sevilla (its near Plaza Nueva!)

I found the best cake place in Sevilla (its near Plaza Nueva!)

Cookies from Madrid

Cookies from Madrid

Besides just eating in Spain, I tried foods from eleven countries total: France, Holland, England, Morocco, Portugal, Czech Republic, Scotland, Belgium, Germany, and Hungary.

Sausage and potatoes in Budapest.

  Sausage and potatoes in Budapest.

Dutch cheese

Dutch cheese

Currywurst in Germany

Currywurst in Germany

Beef in Hungary!

Beef in Hungary!

Trying local cuisine was one of my favorite aspects of traveling but that is just because I’m an incredible foodie.┬áIMG_4766

Fancy grilled cheese in Paris

Fancy grilled cheese in Paris

French Croissant

French Croissant

Anyways, I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone (AKA my grandma) for reading about and keeping up with my semester in Spain.

Belgian Waffle

Belgian Waffle

Adios! 

Coffee

Coffee

Fancy Iced Coffee

Fancy Iced Coffee

More Coffee

More Coffee

French Coffee

French Coffee

Coffee from an eastern european country (I forget which one)

Coffee from an eastern european country (I forget which one)

Spanish Coffee....Again

Spanish Coffee….Again

I'm not the only one who drinks coffee!

I’m not the only one who drinks coffee!

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One Week, Three Cities

Last week was Semana Santa, where every church┬áparades its Jesus statues around town while dressed in costumes┬áthat look just like the KKK, attracting many tourists as well as freeing students from school for the week. I’m sure it is much more than just this, however, as I am not religious whatsoever nor am I very curious, I really cannot say much more. However, I took this week-long break as an opportunity to get to know more of the less catholic side of Spain.

SEVILLA

To begin the week, I had some lovely visitors in Sevilla including my roommate from last semester. They were my first real visitors and I was very excited to show them the city. We had a lot of fun walking and sitting and eating (it seems like that was all we did).

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I showed them the more popular sights in Sevilla including La Catedral, La Giralda, Plaza de Espana and El Real Alcazar de Sevilla. I also took them to all of my favorite places like the top of Las Setas at sunset, my favorite cookie store on Calle Regina, the park by the river, and my favorite tapas bar in Alfalfa called Bodega.

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La Catedral during one of our many sitting breaks.

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Plaza de Espana.

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Las Setas at sunset. My favorite view of all time.

I really enjoyed being able to show them around Sevilla because it made me feel more like an actual resident and less of a “long term tourist”. I also was able to do a lot of things I had wanted to do like ride the little boats in Plaza de Espana (best five euro ever spent!) and eat churros for breakfast.

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We had about two full days in Sevilla which in my opinion was the perfect amount of time to do everything we wanted.

MADRID

Our next destination, Madrid, was a beautiful two hour train ride away. To be honest, I was rather underwhelmed by the city. It was very beautiful but it didn’t feel like Spain, at least not the same way that Sevilla does. My friends said that it reminded them of London, it had a much more “European” feel to it rather than “Spanish”. Also it didn’t help that practically everyone there spoke English too.

One of the cuter Madrid streets

One of the cuter Madrid streets.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Madrid, I really liked being able to explore the streets and the architecture was absolutely stunning. Once again, we spent most of our time walking and sitting and eating (I think that’s the best way to travel, personally).

Parque "El Retiro"

Parque “El Retiro”

I forget what this building is called but it was very pretty.

I forget what this building is called but it was very pretty.

We went inside one museum, “Reina Sofia” which was nice. But my favorite part of this city was walking through the park called “El Retiro”. It was beautiful and gave us a shady place to sit and avoid getting sunburnt.

BARCELONA

From Madrid, we took a three hour train ride to Barcelona, which is by far one of my favorite cities in Spain. In Barcelona, I felt a lot more like I was in Spain again, even though their primary language there is actually Catalan (everyone also knows English too) and many of the residents want to secede from Spain.

We visited Parque Guell, the Gaudi house, La Sagrada Familia, Plaza de Espana, Las Ramblas, and the beach. My favorite out of all of these was Plaza de Espana because it was absolutely stunning with a beautiful fountain and steps that once you climbed to the top, you could see practically all of the city.

Plaza de Espana

Plaza de Espana.

The view from the top

The view from the top.

Las Ramblas was mostly tourists and very crowded, though looking at the cute little pop up style shops was fun.

The food was also delicious, we got tapas twice and went to this wonderful sandwich place called Bo de B where I had the BEST sandwich of my life. I am not over exaggerating, I swear, it was delicious and only 4 euros.

In Park Guell.

In Park Guell.

The view from Park Guell.

The view from Park Guell.

Overall, I think I liked showing Sevilla the best, but only because I think of it as my city and it was really great that my friends could see what I’ve been doing the past few months. My second favorite city was Barcelona probably because of all the beautiful views it had to offer (I don’t know why but I love being up high, maybe because I was short as a child?). And Madrid is third on my list only because it didn’t seem to offer as much as the other two cities, though I did eat a DELICIOUS fried calamari sandwich while I was there.

It is really interesting to be able to see three major cities in Spain within such a short period of time, it really gave me an insight into the differences within the country. I also just loved being able to spend time with so many familiar faces (shout out to Vicky, Seannie, Shelby, and Steph for making this trip so much fun!).

Categories: Study Abroad, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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