This past weekend, a few friends and I spent about 4 days in Barcelona. It was a great mini vacation for us, and although it was just over an hour away by plane, it was drastically different than quaint Oviedo. One of the first things I noticed while we were walking through the train station was that the signs were in three different languages: English, Spanish, and Catalan. Barcelona is in a different region than Oviedo, so they have adapted a different dialect. It is possible to somewhat understand the people who speak that, but it is very difficult. Our hostel was perfect because it was not located in the center of the town, and it took less than ten minutes to walk to the metro. The efficiency of the metro was mind-blowing to me. In Philadelphia, if you miss the subway, you’re guaranteed to wait about ten minutes. In Barcelona, it came every three minutes (there was even a countdown on the screen!) It had a kitchen, and we made good use of it by making some home made sandwiches. In the end, it gave us a chance to save money on food, and spend it on other things! On Sunday, there was a Barcelona vs. Madrid game, so we went to a bar to watch it with some locals…it was so much fun! The bar rumbled when Barcelona got a goal…and won:)
Most of the places we went to, people either spoke Catalan or English to us. One thing I learned from travelling outside of Oviedo is that if someone hears you speaking English, they will more than likely speak English with you. In Spain, there is a big emphasis on the importance of learning and knowing English, so any opportunity that arises where the person can practice English, they will take it. Even here in Oviedo, there have been many times when the waiter will try to speak to my friends and I in English, even when we order in Spanish perfectly.
I saw many of the touristy sights in Barcelona, including La Sagrada Familia, the Montjuic Palace and the Olympic stadium, Botanic Gardens, the Cathedral, the beach, and my favorite site: Park Güell, an “architectural gem.” We took a ride up in a ski-lift type thing, and saw so many breathtaking views of the city. All in all, I’m so happy I got to see Barcelona. It was not at all what I expected, and I’m glad I saw it for myself.
This past week, we didn’t have regular classes because it was a week full of cultural workshops. There were many classes to choose from, like cooking, dancing, photography, newspaper, etc. Instead of being in the traditional classroom, we were exposed to the language in a different way. We each signed up for two classes of our choice, mine being cooking, and other called movements. We were instructed in Spanish, of course, for all the classes. Friday is when presentations were held, but not all of the students had to present their individual work. The ones who were brave enough to go on stage did. It was nice having a break from regular classes, but it really is catching up to me this week because I have three tests. I have only had a few so far throughout the semester, but now the work is starting to pile up because of the past weeks without tests.
I spent this weekend in Oviedo, my first weekend since about three weeks ago, and I’m happy I did. As much as I love traveling
around, whenever I come back here it truly feels like home. I have met some people who study in Barcelona, and I am so happy that I am not studying in such a busy city. Leaving is going to be hard, but that’s not something I want to think about right now. Coming up this week is our third dinner with Jaime, which will be a good reward after this week of tests.