Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spain and Finishing School

After being back in the US for one week I have finally found time to talk about the last few weeks of my time abroad. They were filled with a few more trips, some papers and lots of bonding time with some great friends.

The first weekend of April was Easter. Although I could not be home to spend the holiday with my family I decided to try and make the most of it and head out to Barcelona for one last trip with friends. It was a short weekend since we had all used up most of our skip days but we definitely made the most of our time.

We left Friday morning and had a nice quality Ryanair flight. Which involved us sitting in the back row of the airplane which was also where the bachelor party on our plane decided to hang out and drink heavily. So after that long two hours we were happy to be on our own in Spain. We spent the first night checking into our hostel and walking around the city. Our hostel was one of the most basic ones I have stayed at. There were six of us in our group and our hostel room was basically a room with 3 sets of bunk beds and a set of lockers. We did not have windows that closed or locks on the doors. The doors just swung open right into the lobby where reception was. Needless to say we did not get any sleep the first night because we heard everything that was going on in the lobby. The showers were also fun as they were down the hall and flooded often. So it basically turned into get your hair wet, turn the shower off and put shampoo on your hair, turn the shower on and rinse it out, turn the shower off and put conditioner in, then turn the shower on to rinse off and that was basically it. Oh and I couldn't forget our complimentary breakfast of toast, cereal and warm milk! YUM!

Anyways the first night we decided to get a feel of the town. We went and walked along the water and looked at boats, then we found a nice park that led to the Arc de Triomf of Barcelona. After that we were in the downtown area and looked around some shops and had dinner at a Spanish restaurant. Dinner involved burritos and pina coladas! It was nice walking around the city because some of the apartments were decorated really sweet on the outside with pictures and paintings. After dinner we started walking back to the hostel and passed a big church that had people spilling out all around it. There was some event going on for Easter and thousands of people were there for it so it was cool to watch. After that is was beddy bye time or just laying in bed listening to people because they were so loud in the lobby. (Pictures: on the left is the church we passed and on the right is inside one of the shops).

Sagrada Familia
The next morning it was time to explore the city! I did not realize that these adventures were to begin at the crack of dawn. So that was interesting... there was definitely some Starbucks involved!! Otherwise survival would not have been an option. The first stop of the day was Sagrada Familia. It is a famous church and is absolutely beautiful! We wanted to go inside but the line to go inside the church wrapped all the way around the outside of the church (15 minutes after it opened). It was just amazing how much effort and thought goes into all of the architecture. That is what I loved about every trip I went on while abroad. Compared to the US everywhere else puts so much more work into their architecture. It is not just about how to build the biggest building for the lowest cost but there is much more thought put into every aspect of each building. It is amazing. 

Next on the list for the day was WALKING! We started with a combination of trains and walking to get up to one of the highest hills in Barcelona. It was a sunny and clear day outside so there were plenty of beautiful views. Which was also perfect for action shots! However the main reason we were on top of this hill was because it was where the 1992 Olympics were held. The main thing we were able to see was the track. It was really cool because the track is still in great condition and doesn't make it look like these Olympics were held 20 years ago. After that it was time to head up the hill to the next location. Kristin and I decided the best mode of transportation for this would be a clear plastic container type thing that ran up the hill on cables. It was cool because we could see all the scenery around us and had great views of the entire city. Once on the top of the hill we were able to run around yet another...you guessed it...CASTLE! This one was a little different though because it was so high up and right on the water. So we could enjoy the water and have some more nice views of the city. This is also where we decided to have lunch. And by lunch I mean cheap hot dogs and sangria! The sangria was awful. Just awful (and strong). So that was fun!

Next we started making our way down the hill. This is when our afternoon crash started hitting. On our train down I believe about half of us were asleep. But it was not an option to slow down. Well except for on top of a mail box for a quick nap. After we got off the train we had to hike up this very steep hill. But once we got to the top we were on top of the second tall hill in Barcelona. So we walked around for some more views. After that we headed over to The Guell Park. It is an area filled with mosaics. Everything was decorated in mosaics and it was very pretty so we were able to spend some time here looking out at the city and relaxing while taking pictures.

When we decided to go to Barcelona our entire goal of the weekend was to lay on the beach and drink margaritas. Well the weather all weekend was windy and in the 60s so unfortunately this goal was never accomplished. However we did get to have some time on the beach. We spent our evening sitting on the beach all bundled up eating snacks. It was actually quite depressing. But also a nice relaxing way to end the day. After that we tried to find a famous fountain in Barcelona but once we got out to the location we realized that the fountain wasn't actually running. So we had nothing left to do except hit up the same Spanish restaurant for some more burritos and pina coladas! Just for the record, the bar tender will correct you if you say two pina coladas because it is actually dos pinas coladas! Oops! Anyways it was a fantastic dinner and ending to the night! By time we got back to the hostel at 11:15 we had been out on the town for 15 hours and we definitely all slept that night!

The next morning we packed up the room and headed out for a Sunday morning church service on Easter Sunday. It was kind of cool because we went to a non-denominational church that spoke mostly english. It was also neat because we were able to meet many other students that were studying abroad in other countries. I always thought it was cool that no matter where I was traveling or what I was doing in pretty much every country I was able to meet other people that were the same age as me doing the same thing as me. Did I mention that I love studying abroad? After church we headed out to the airport and began our journey home. It was a great weekend and wonderful last trip with friends.

Now time for the good stuff. All the fun really happened in the last week of school. It all began one Tuesday evening when we figured out that a local bowling alley had half off of bowling and drinks. So we headed out on the town for two games and some fun! After our games we decided that we needed to work off a little more energy so we walked a wee bit to get into town and hit up the local night club. Needless to say the place was completely empty which left plenty of room on the dance floor for us to show off our moves. Somehow this bowling and dancing was just not enough fun to be able to call it a night and take a cab home...so we decided to walk the three miles home. Which was an adventure in itself. It involved many Disney and musical songs, threats of pushing each other in the street and wandering through a field in front of the manor. It was possibly one of my favorite nights of the semester! (The picture is how our walk started out).

The next exciting night of the week was Thursday. It was finally time for our valedictory dinner where we got our diploma-esk sheets of paper. It was basically just a fancy dinner that we got to dress up for and drink wine. I believe our table spilled the red wine at least twice. After our fancy dinner and bonding at the table one last time it was time for a slide show of  the semester and then most importantly it was the last night that the Bistro would be open for the semester. So it was our one last night to hang out with every one in the Manor before finals began.

Our one last fun night at the Manor was the last Monday night we were all together. It just so happened to be one of my friend's 21st birthday. (Happy birthday Matt!). Oh and we also had one last volleyball game at the prison. So we finished that athleticism up and then headed out to celebrate. It was our very last night to have fun together because Tuesday was the night to cram for our last test. So we danced the night away like usual. It was a perfect last night together and I'm truly going to miss the friends that I spent these nights with.
The Bestest Friends I Could Have Ever Made
The last day was spent packing up our room and studying for our last British Studies exam. It was very sad because we had to be out of the manor a couple hours after our test so we did not have much time to socialize and say good-bye to each other. So to everyone I didn't get to say good-bye to, Buh-bye and I will miss you! Thankfully my parents decided to show up on my last full day at the Manor so I could enjoy showing them my new home. That blog will be coming shortly. And these were my last few weeks at Harlaxton Manor.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I definitely miss those hostel breakfasts of plain cereal and toast!! haha.