Upcoming Website Maintenance

This Tuesday morning U.S. Central Time the IES Abroad website will be down for scheduled site maintenance. During this time login and account creation will be unavailable, but we expect this disruption to be brief. Thank you for your patience.

Breathtaking Views

Sonal Gupta
June 14, 2016

English: One of the coolest things about Barcelona (besides the sangria, of course) is that the city is a mix of mountains, the beach, and beautiful architecture. I have loved exploring around the different areas, where alleyways are covered in artistic graffiti and filled with local boutiques and bakeries. I’ve spent a couple days at the beaches – at Barceloneta you can’t see an inch of sand past noon, and at Ocata you get the feel of being a local with lots of open space and tranquility. I’ve experienced a couple of amazing views, too – from the Montjuic Castle, the Roman ruins in Tarragona, and from The Monastery at Montserrat.

I’ve experienced a lot of reminders lately to really appreciate what I have and what I’m doing, and yesterday on top of Montserrat I had the most overwhelming moment of appreciation. We arrived at the cable car station that takes you up the mountain and asked about how to hike up the mountain, and they were surprised we were even asking. But we didn’t take 3 trains to get to Montserrat for nothing, so we went for it anyways. The moment we stepped off the train we were in a valley between the mountains, and everything around us had such natural beauty – we had no idea what was coming. We stopped at the dam to play in the river a bit and enjoy the scenery before embarking on the uphill journey for the day. The rigorous two-hour hike had us all questioning whether or not we would make it to the top as the elevation hit with every set of rocks to climb up, but I knew it would be so worth it once we got there. It hit me in the middle that I had only known these girls for less than three weeks, and I felt so myself and so comfortable taking a chance with them, struggling with them and experiencing such beauty alongside them. The views along the way kept us going – every once in a while we would stop for a break, and we could see the bridge we had crossed over the river getting smaller and smaller each time, until it completely disappeared. Every time I looked down I was amazed to see how high up we had already gotten, but I would look up and see how far we still had to go. A hike like that may be routine for some people, but for us it was quite adventure and I loved it every step of the way. Okay that may be an exaggeration, but I would go back and do it again a thousand times. Every sign pointing us in the right direction was a piece of encouragement, and once we got to the top of the mountain, the view was completely breathtaking. We could see miles out in the distance, other mountains, the river, villages, roads – everything so small from where we were standing. Words and pictures do not do it justice at all, so I guess you just have to take my word for it or experience it for yourself one day (I highly recommend the latter). I could’ve spent hours there staring at the view, but once we got to the top our minds were on one thing – FOOD. After refueling with a hearty meal, we went on to explore the beautiful Basilica. Once again, the beauty is indescribable. Standing in the middle, I could feel the history around me and all the stories that have filled that space before. It made me feel small in the best way possible, just like I felt when I looked out over the edge of the mountain.

Español: Uno de las cosas más especiales de Barcelona (además de la sangría, por supuesto) es que la ciudad tiene una mixta magnífica de las montañas, las playas, y la arquitectura bellísima. Me encanta explorar las áreas diferentes de la ciudad, en donde callejones son cubiertos de grafiti artístico y llenos de pequeñas boutiques y pastelerías. He estado en unos días en las playas de Barcelona también – a la playa de Barceloneta no se puede ver un centímetro de arena después del mediodía, pero a la playa de Ocata que nos fuimos este fin de semana, se siente como una local y es muy tranquila. He visto unas vistas bellísimas también – desde el castillo de Montjuic, las ruinas romanas en Tarragona, y desde el monasterio de Montserrat.

Hace pocos días, he recibido algunos recuerdos para apreciar que estoy haciendo y donde estoy en este momento, y domingo en el punto de Montserrat tenía un sentimiento incontenible de apreciación. Estoy muy agradecida de tener la vida que tengo hoy, y de estar aquí en Barcelona para aprender y explorar afuera de mi zona cómoda. Llegamos a la estación del teleférico que nos puede llevar a la cima de Montserrat, pero esto no era lo que planeado. Pues, pedimos a un trabajador como llegar al monasterio a pie, y él nos ríe, sorprendido que estamos preguntando esto. Pero hemos decidido a andar la montaña, y seguimos el rio que vemos en el valle hasta que vimos el calle que sube la montaña. No tomamos tres trenes diferentes para solamente un viaje de teleférico. Paramos en el rio para jugar poco y disfrutar la vista allí. La caminata rigorosa que toma dos horas nos hace inseguridades unas veces, y nos sentamos el aumento de la elevación, pero sabíamos que cuando llegamos al monasterio, valerlo la pena.  Durante la caminata, me de cuento que solamente hacía como tres semanas que conozco estas chicas, y ya me siento yo mismo con ellas, ya estoy cómoda a tomar un riesgo con ellas, y explora la pura belleza de la naturaleza con ellas. Las vistas desde la montaña en el camino proveen piezas de estimulo cuando estábamos cansadas o desanimadas. De vez en cuando, parábamos por un receso pequeño, y se parece que la puente del río que cruzamos al principio se hace más pequeña cada vez, hasta que lo desaparece. Fue una aventura nueva para nosotras, especialmente rompiendo la rutina de la ciudad.  Cuando llegamos arriba de la montaña, la vista fue increíble – no existen palabras para describirla. También nos encontramos la basílica grande y bellísima, y apreciamos todo que han vistos en este momento. Me siento toda la historia que ha ocurrida allí, y me siento pequeño en lo mejor manera.

Lesson #3: Here, they use the word “vale” how we use “okay” or “right” 


More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs

Sonal Gupta

<p>Travel enthusiast, creative thinker, and lover of all people and food. I&#39;m a hard working business student, environmental supporter, and music lover looking to creative positive change for the world. Sharing my experiences through an 8-week journey in Barcelona, Spain through IES Abroad as I work for an innovative, socially impactful startup, take classes, learn the dialect, and immerse myself in the Spanish culture.</p>

2016 Summer 1, 2016 Summer 2
Home University:
Ohio State University, The
Explore Blogs