For our last member-state trip we had the option of choosing between three excellent choices: The Northeast (London, Tallinn, and Stockholm , the Southeast (Athens, Sofia, and Bucharest), and the South (Rome, Madrid, and Barcelona). At first, I flirted heavily with the Southeast trip – when would I ever get to go to Eastern Europe and see real live vampires? After conferencing with pretty much everyone I knew, we decided it was best for me to get in touch with my non-existent Spanish and Italian roots. After all, I did take Latin for seven years, it was only right that I traveled to the city where I could use it.
NB: this will be a brief run down of my past eight days. For my information talk to me in a month when I am home and longing to talk about my semester abroad.
Last Thursday 18 of us boarded our Easy Jet flight for an “American” Thanksgiving in Rome on IES. For the past few years, whole foods as catered my thanksgiving dinner, so I wasn’t that sad to be missing thanksgiving at home. Let’s just say, however, the dinner was no whole foods—and I’ll leave it that. But, we didn’t care—we were in Rome. Land of dead languages, pizza, and democracy! Everywhere you turn in Rome there were remnants of ancient Rome. From the Circus Maximus to the Coliseum, Pax Romana is everywhere. Needless to say, I nerded out big time in Rome. Everywhere we went I ‘awed’ and ‘oohed’ and proclaimed, “My AP Latin class would freak out right now!” Don’t worry AP Latin class, I made you proud by not being able to translate a single thing except ‘Vini, Vidi, Vici.’
After three beautiful days in Rome, we boarded another Easy Jet flight to MADRID, Spain: Land of sangria, unemployment, and Enrique Iglesias. In Madrid, IES put us up in a five star hotel where we had a real breakfast that had fried eggs, bacon, and watermelon. For the first time, I was up early. Although there aren’t as many famous sites to see in Madrid (compared to Rome), there is an energy and a culture in this city that is unexplainable. Just walking around the city, one can feel the vibrancy and innovation lurking in the old city’s walls. I also had the pleasure of visiting three friends who are currently abroad in Madrid. Seeing their beautiful faces reminded me of how lucky I am to have great friends all over the world.
So, after another three perfect days in Madrid, we shipped out for Barcelona. Words cannot do justice to the beauty that is this Catalonian gem. Barcelona is located on the coast of Spain, filled with insanely good shopping and an incredibly unsustainable party life. Although it wasn’t super warm out (a mere 55 degrees), it didn’t stop us from swimming in the Mediterranean sea and drinking iced drinks. Interestingly many of our lectures (yes mom, I did do some school) centered on Catalonia wanting to separate from Spain and form its own country. A referendum on this idea was voted down a few days before we came, but you could sense the tension and resentment from the Catalonians towards the rest of Spain. Even if in anther 15 years Catalonia breaks away from Spain (not the best decision…), I will be back to Barcelona because I drank out of the fountain. So, see you in twenty years, Barce, when I move there to ‘retire’ to the Spanish work ethic of 10 hour work days filled with 8 hours of coffee breaks.
Now I am back in Freiburg with less than three weeks of time abroad. So, cheers to making the most of it–I know I can.