Without fail, abroad can be an exhausting excursion. Alotting yourself time to take a nap or go to sleep early some nights is essential in staying rejuvenated and happy while abroad. However, there is such a thing as abusing those essential naps.
When I first arrived I would take a “siesta” almost everyday after my classes. I was under the impression that it was a tradition in Barcelona from 4-6 p.m. to take a nap, so I never felt guilty taking two hours out of the day to do just that. I was informed by a professor at IES Abroad that “siestas” are in-fact a myth in Barcelona and that people rarely take naps in the middle of their day. I then thought back to all the days where I had returned home from school and felt as if a nap were a reward, then proceeding to spend the majority of the rest of the day sleeping in my bed when I could’ve been exploring.
After that day I made sure to take full advantage of my days in Barcelona. Instead of going straight home after class, I decided to make it a point to go to a new area that I hadn’t seen before and discover the hidden gems of Barcelona. With the help of some of the teachers at IES Abroad, I was able to compile a list of new places that I should see before I leave and to my surprise, it has led me to some of my favorite places in Barcelona.
One of my favorite places that an after school excursion has brought me to is the Park De Ciutadella. Walking from the IES Abroad center to the park, I was pleasantly surprised by Barcelona's Arch De Triumph. I had only heard about the monument but had yet to see it in person. I was completely shocked to be seeing it because I wasn’t expecting it but was so grateful for the journey that led me there. The arch is just the start to the park. Just past the arch is a long row of beautiful palm trees and a large strip of land dedicated to citizens' leisure. People use this area for music, dancing, walking their dogs, and many other miscellaneous activities.
Past this mini boulevard is the Park De Ciutadella, which I like to call Barcelona's Central Park. Here, there are beautiful blocks of landscape and even the Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella, a beauitul fountain located in the heart of the park. This place felt magical and I was shocked that I hadn’t heard of it before.
If it wasn’t for the wake up call about the myth of siestas, I would’ve missed out on so many of my favorite memories abroad. Although the balance of being well-rested is important, it can very easily become a crutch while abroad.
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<p>Noa Solomon is an avid sports enthusiast, foodie and animal lover. She studies at the University of Wisconsin as a Journalism major where she excersises her passion for writing, as well as double minoring in sports communication and special education. She was born and raised a city girl, coming from the big apple itself, Manhattan, New York. She studied at the Professional Performing Arts School in Times Square as a drama major for 7 years and continues to participate in acting as much as she can. She was just featured in the 90s teen comedy film Generation Wrecks as Brittney Pratt this past September.</p>