I’m about a week behind on my updates so I’ll try and keep it short. Time has been flying by, day after day I am realizing how little time I have left in Europe and it begins to scare me a little bit. It’s been such a fantastic semester. I’m so fortunate to get this chance to travel around Europe while studying, to be able to learn about the history of the world and meet all kinds of different people.
After our academic excursion in Prague, I spent my spring break in Madrid and Barcelona. The second I stepped into Spain, I felt a sense of peace. I felt super comfortable walking around and simply enjoyed the atmosphere of Madrid a whole lot. I went on a walking tour, flamenco tour and a pub crawl. Madrid welcomed us with great weather, blue skies and sunny. We only spent about 2-3 days there, which I definitely don’t feel is enough.
The bear and the Broccoli in the photo below is a Madrid symbol. It is actually a strawberry tree but it looks like a broccoli to me. It represents the Spanish lifestyle. The story is told as such: In the forest with all kinds of bears, all fighting for the same food or what not. The tree is planted so that the bears will just drink out of the tree, and once they keep drinking, they will soon get drunk and fall asleep – preventing any fighting between the bears. It’s pretty neat, if only world crisis can be solved as easily as that.
Our other stop for Spring Break was Barcelona, Catalonia. It’s a very interesting place and I am pretty sure I fell in love with Gaudi as soon as I saw La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. Two MUST SEE places. Don’t call people from Barcelona Spanish, they will get offended. It is a way different feel that being in Madrid. It’s more laid back, beaches, touristy, but also lots of history. Again, we only spent a few days there so we didn’t get to see much. Unfortunately, one day was shot because it poured rain all day but it was good because I wasn’t feeling well that day.
Sant Jordi Diagonal Hostel. If you hit up Barcelona, for sure to stay there. It is a small hostel with perhaps about 30 or 40 guests. A few extremely friendly and out going staff, a cozy living and dining room, practical kitchen, free wifi and just a fantastic atmosphere. It was one of my favorite parts of Barcelona. I know that doesn’t say much about the city, but it meant a lot to me because I was feeling worn out by the end of that week. From Prague to Madrid to Barcelona. Flights at 6 in the morning, not sleeping, partying, sight seeing. I was looking forward to sitting, watching some tv and doing nothing. That was exactly what I was able to do at Sant Jordi. I highly recommend it.
As I mentioned earlier, I was pretty worn out by the end of Spring Break. As much as I loved Spain and would’ve loved to spend more time there, I was glad to be back at the Castle for a few days. Those few days were busy with school work and a surprise visit from a friend I met about 9 years ago. I have not seen him since then and he happened to be in the Netherlands.
I’m currently in Copenhagen, Denmark visiting friends I met during my gap year in Cambodia. I arrived the other night and it’s been relaxing. The houses are beautiful, very colorful around the streets and the lake was the perfect place to take a stroll and catch up on life. After staying in hostels all semester, it is quite nice to be in an home-y apartment once again… at least for a weekend.
More on Copenhagen later!