Theresa, best known as beloved Admissions Officer for many of our summer programs, traveled to Barcelona recently and we asked her to tell us a little about her trip. What did we come away with?
1) Fond memories of study abroad travel misadventures
2) Barcelona is a unique and dynamic city everyone must visit
3) There is something to be said for spending time in one city, instead of seeing as much as you can in a short period of time
Many years after a rather troublesome visit to Barcelona while I was studying abroad, I had the good fortune to return on vacation.
During my first visit years ago as a naïve college student, I was so taken aback by the beauty of the city I made it quite easy for pickpockets to peg me as a tourist and had my wallet and passport stolen. Following a day long ordeal of obtaining an emergency passport, my loyal study abroad roommate and I decided to spend a relaxing day at the beach and ended our weekend trip with a blistering sunburn. Despite this seemingly awful visit, I loved the city and decided if I ever had the chance I would return, albeit a bit more cautious the next time.
While planning this second visit, I had a little over a week to work with. My travel companion and I discussed our options: we could visit a couple of other cities in addition to Barcelona or just stay in one place. We ultimately decided to stick to just Barcelona.
For one – we are on vacation and we don’t want to feel stressed about seeing everything we want to see in just a few short days.
And second – after studying abroad I have really come to appreciate staying as long as possible in any one city. It helps you get a better feel for the culture, the food, the people, everything. This was the best decision we could have made. Each day we were able to do as the Barceloneses do- sleep in and stay out late without worrying that we would miss out on something.
We planned our trip to coincide with a major festival in Barcelona called La Mercè. Planning a trip around an event or festival like this is so worthwhile. We we were able to experience such a unique part of the local culture:
Correfoc, people in costume running through the streets with sparklers
Gigantes, giant effigies of previous kings and queens that are paraded through the streets
We had plenty of time to do all the touristy things: La Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, and walking around Montjuic and Las Ramblas. And time for the typical vacation things: eating tons (of delicious tapas) and relaxing on the beach.
I am proud to report, this second visit was a success! No pickpockets or sunburn, instead just pleasant memories and a nice tan.