Friday, March 20, 2009


Barcelona was just as fun as I imagined.  My 21st was definitely something to remember and was probably a lot cooler than celebrating at the Purdue campus bars.  We had an evening flight so we did not arrive in Barcelona until around 9 or 10pm.  We were staying with some friends of one of the girls that went with us.  She found an apartment in a great location that looked straight out of the Real World (an MTV show where they always live in really nice places).  It was huge, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, leather couches, and a nice kitchen.  We met up with the people staying in the apartment next to us that were from England and hung out with them a majority of the weekend too.  That night we arrived was technically my 21st so we celebrated accordingly and went to a bar on the beach. 

The next day we did the touristy stuff walking up and down their main road.  We stopped at the Gaudi museum to check out some things dedicated to the famous architect, Antonio Gaudi.  His work was completely before his time as a very modern and contemporary style.  He is very well known throughout Spain and especially in Barcelona as he worked on many major projects in the city (Park Güell and Sagrada Familia).  After that we just walked down the port of Barcelona. 

On Saturday we continued with our touristy things to the Picasso museum.  It was a huge museum with many of Picasso’s famous collections.  After seeing his collection in Madrid (at the Renia Sofia with works like the Guernica) I was seeing the same type of things there.  They had many paintings from his “Blue Period” and a few other famous Picasso works.  After the museum we headed to Park Güell which is a Gaudi designed park. Again, his architecture was evident as there were many unique designs throughout the park.  After we climbed what seemed like 3 miles uphill, we made it to the top of the park.  The top overlooks the entire city out to the Balearic Sea.  It was an unreal view and we were able to catch a little of the sun going down.  After the park Jake and I headed to see the Sagrada Familia.  This was Gaudi’s last major project that is still to this day not completed (construction began in 1882).  Unfortunately, it was late in the evening and we were unable to go inside but just standing outside the structure was incredible.  The amount of detail that goes into each part of the church is really unbelievable. 

That evening we heard about an Ice bar where the entire bar was made of Ice (cups, bar, seats, and ice sculptures) that sat right along the beach.  Upon arrival, you are given a huge jacket and gloves as you enter into this refrigerator type bar.  I’ve never seen anything like it before and it was a really neat experience. 

Each week I always say I can’t wait to get back to Madrid and always compare each city to I visit to where I’m studying.  Barcelona reminded me a lot of Madrid (big buildings, many things to do, and a lot of people) but it has one thing Madrid lacks.. a beach.  It was so relaxing to walk down the port, see all the sailboats, or walk along the beach at night.  To sum it up, Barcelona is just a really fun city.  I don’t know if I could handle all the craziness that comes with that city.  There truly is no other city like it in the world and that’s what I loved about it.  I really hope I can go back and visit someday (hopefully with my brother, Craig) because it is a must see city in Europe. 

Me on top of the Gaudi Museum overlooking the city

Alright I didn't take this but this was a better picture than what I had of the Sagrada Familia

View of the city looking out to the sea on top of Park Guell
Barcelona's port
Sharon and I in the ice bar, Icebarcelona.. notice the glass is even made of ice

Monday, March 9, 2009


Alright sorry it has been a while since I’ve updated.. so this one may be a long one.

Two weekends ago we decided to stay in Madrid for the weekend and kind of take it easy. Two of my friends from Purdue, Gretchen and Nick, were studying in Sevilla for the semester and decided to take a trip with two of their friends from Mizzou in their program to Madrid. They were all able to meet up with my friends for an excellent sushi dinner. We hung out a little bit more the next day before they had to take their bus back to Sevilla.

This past weekend, my group of friends from Madrid all went to Sevilla for a little taste of southern Spanish culture. I can easily tell why people fall in love with this city. It is hard to compare Madrid to Sevilla because they are both wonderful and very different in many ways. Things are more relaxed, easy going way of life in Sevilla. The weather was awesome (high 70's and sunny) and it really had the authentic Spanish feel to the city.

Five of my friends took a bus down on Thursday night and another friend and I met them on Friday afternoon when our bus arrived. Our hostel wasn't too bad and was in an excellent location. When we first met up with the Madrid clan, we all went separate ways to do a little shopping. I called my friends after we were done and they were able to meet up for a little bit to walk around the city. Both of them had previous plans for that night so the Madrid kids found a nice little restaurant where we could sit outside and enjoy our dinner with some sangria. After we were finished, we headed out to one of Sevilla's most famous Flamenco bars where we were able to catch the end of the show.

The next day the five that went to Sevilla on Thursday left early on Saturday to get back to Madrid. So my friend, Joanna, and her two sorority sisters from IU went exploring the city. We found a great breakfast place where I had probably the best pancakes I have ever had. We sat outside to eat them and the place was right along the river that runs through Sevilla. We went down to the river for a while to just hang out and take the beauty of the city. After a while at the river we were able to meet up with my friends from Purdue in the Plaza de Espana. They were able to give me a little tour of the city as we made our way towards the Seville Cathedral. The Catedral de Santa María de la Sede is known to be the largest gothic cathedral and the fourth largest church in the world. The inside was breathtaking as well as the view from the top of the bell tower looking over the entire city. After the cathedral we grabbed a quick bite to eat (and some banana split gelato), and we headed back to the hostel to get ready for the evening. For dinner we found a nice place where we all split two paellas (Spain's most famous Spanish dish). After dinner we were able to meet back up with Nick and Gretchen for the night.

Our bus didn't leave until 2:30 so we had some time to kill when we woke up in the morning. We went back to that same pancake place because we had a $5 off coupon and they were just so damn good. Gretchen met up with us towards the end of the meal and we said our goodbyes. Hopefully we can see each other again before school starts back up in the fall. We got to the bus station just in time (after it took us 10 min. to find a cab.. that would NEVER take that long to find one in Madrid) and took the 7 hour journey back home.

Each place we travel I always find myself comparing it to Madrid. And each week, I find myself almost anxious to get back "home" towards the end of each trip. Sevilla was a completely different city where I almost questioned if I chose the right city to study. Sevilla was almost like a vacation for me. The city was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and it had a completely different atmosphere that I loved. But in the end, I know Madrid was the right choice. I feel as if I would get bored after a while in Sevilla because there is always something going on in Madrid. In a perfect world, I would live in an apartment in Madrid (near Gran Via probably) and have my weekend home in Sevilla when I just wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of Madrid. I am glad I was able to get a little taste of home by seeing people from Purdue while in Europe. It has also been great to meet all of each other’s new friends while abroad. We already have trips planned together for Wisconsin, Mizzou, and unfortunately, IU. I am thankful each day for this opportunity and I am really not looking forward to going back to reality in less than THREE MONTHS!! I cannot believe how fast this is going and I don't like it. I turn 21 in Barcelona this weekend (March 12) so I am anxiously looking forward to that.

Me, Gretchen, and Nick (friends from Purdue) in la Plaza de España

The Sevilla Cathedral

Plaza de España

View from the bell tower of the Sevilla Cathedral

Sevilla's River