Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would spend my spring break on a beach in Barcelona, Spain, riding bikes in Faro, Portugal, and climbing the San Francisco-like hills of Lisbon. Yet, I did all of these things and much more during the most amazing spring break I could have ever dreamed of. My feet may never forgive me for the amount of walking we did during our 10 day vacation, but I had an incredible time seeing two countries with a unique way of life.
The first city we visited was Barcelona, Spain. As soon as we arrived I noticed the architecture. I had never seen anything like it. It was an indescribable blend of gothic and modern styles. One of my favorite places we went in Barcelona was the Picasso museum. Before this trip, Picasso wasn’t one of my favorite artists but I appreciated his work. After seeing the museum I fell in love with his Pigeon paintings and even bought myself a small print of one of them. We also went to the beach and even though it was cold, it was great to just walk in the sand. During our time in Barcelona we ate tapas almost every day but certainly walked off all the food we ate.
I had the unique opportunity to celebrate Easter in Barcelona at a beautiful medieval cathedral, Santa Maria del Mar. To be honest, I was a little sad on Easter even though we were having a great time. It was a little depressing to spend Easter in a hostel but I knew that not being home for a holiday would be hard long before I left the United States.
After we left Barcelona we headed to Portugal, my “homeland.” My grandparents are Portuguese so I grew up surrounded by lots of seafood, Sangria, and lucky roosters. Even though I am half Portuguese by blood, I felt extremely disconnected from the culture. I couldn’t understand a single word of the language and the people seemed disappointed when they saw my last name and thought they could speak to me in Portuguese.
Faro, in the southern Algarve region of Portugal was our first stop. It was extremely different from Barcelona. It was quaint and relaxing with lots of good food. We took a boat to Ilha Deserta, a cute, uninhabited little island off the coast. We walked along the beach, enjoying the soft sand and sunshine while collecting beautiful little seashells. In the afternoon, we rented bicycles and rode through a nature trail along the marshes, enjoying the sunshine and salty air. Faro was relaxing but we were ready for an exciting new city by the time we left for Lisbon.
We ended our spring break in Lisbon, one of the most unique cities I have ever seen in my life. It was indescribably beautiful and colorful. The buildings were covered in gorgeous patterned tiles, reminiscent of its Moorish past and the streets were filled with streetcars going up and down steep hills. I had never seen anything like it in my life. We of course enjoyed delicious Portuguese food and some Sangria here as well.
By the end of the tip however, I was ready to return to Siena. Traveling is wonderful for a variety of reasons but sometimes you just need a break. We were exhausted and ready to return to reality. But then I realized that my “reality” here in Siena is still a dream. I have one month left now and I can’t believe all of the things I have experienced during my time here so far. It has been a beautiful, amazing, life-altering journey for me. No, it’s not wonderful every second, but that’s life. Even when I have a rough day, I know there are plenty of amazing days just around the corner. So with that, I am ready to take on my last month here in Siena and enjoy as much as I can before this whirlwind journey is over.
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<p>I'm a sophomore from George Washington University majoring in Communications and minoring in Italian and Journalism. I love traveling, art, and food. I am so excited to share my experiences with you, especially my quest for the best bread in Italy.</p>