Trip to Tarragona
During the first week of my time in Barcelona, the IES Abroad staff brought students on a trip to a neighboring city, Tarragona. The Catalan port lies west of Barcelona. During our overnight trip, we learned some history, explored historical sites and tasted delicious Catalan cuisine.
Day 1: Monastery Tour & Human Towers
We met in the city center of Barcelona and bussed to our first stop, the small city of Valls. We attended a museum where we learned about a Catalan tradition that was born in the city: human towers. Human towers are exactly what you think they are. People strategically arrange themselves so that they can hold as many as 12 people upwards. The instructors even taught us students how to build human towers, and we tried it out.
We got back on the bus and had free time in Tarragona for lunch.
Later, we went on a guided tour of a monastery. The architecture was beautiful, and it was cool to learn about a key component of Catalan culture.
We stayed overnight in a nice hotel in Tarragona. The dinner was delicious; they served some traditional Spanish, Italian, and American food. After dinner, we were free to explore the city and do whatever we wanted. My roommate and I chose to stay in; it was nice to catch up on some sleep and get over the jet lag.
Day 2: Tarragona Tour & Catalan Cuisine
We had breakfast at the hotel before going on a guided tour of Tarragona. The city was formerly occupied by the Romans and had lots of cool remains, including the amphitheater and circus venue. We toured the city for about two hours before heading to a Catalan restaurant.
The restaurant was my favorite part of the trip. We tried a traditional Catalan dish: spring onions. I don't particularly love onions, but they were delicious! They are char-grilled, so you have to peel back the charred part to get to the edible part. Everyone's hands were covered in charcoal, but it was all part of the experience. We had bibs and plenty of napkins to keep our clothes clean.
We ate the onions with a delicious almond-based dip; it looked similar to hummus. We also tried wine from a special Catalan pitcher. We drank the wine as if we were "water-falling" it from the pitcher. The wine paired nicely with the onions and dip.
The waiters then brought out an assortment of meat, potatoes, artichokes, and bread. We got to try lamb, sausage, chicken, and other types of meat. There was also a vegetarian option. This meal was the best traditional meal I've had in Spain so far!
We headed back to Barcelona around 3:30 p.m. and arrived around 5:00 p.m. We got back just in time for a nice siesta before we could meet up with our friends and explore Barcelona at night!
A Trip to Remember
Not only was the experience amazing, I finally got to meet other students in the IES Abroad program. It was nice to have these connections from the beginning and continue them through to semester!
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Hi, my name is Vic. I'm a junior at Washington and Lee University, and I am a strategic communication and German double major and entrepreneurship minor. I interned in Germany last summer and hope to live abroad after graduation!