Rich and relaxed lifestyle in Barcelona

By Julia Kacmarek

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I have been in Barcelona, or Barthelona as the locals pronounce it, for a few weeks now, and it has been anything but relaxing. When we first arrived at the BCN airport, it took about four buses to ship all of us studying with API (Academic Programs International) to the hotel we would be staying at for three days. We stayed at Hotel Montblanc, which is located in the heart of the city. There we had meeting after meeting about classes, safety, our apartments, etc. By the end of the weekend, we would be shipped off to move into our apartments.

Since being in Barcelona, we have done so many incredible things, that I don’t even know where to begin. I have seen the Sagrada Familia, the Picasso Museum, and Parc Guell. Just yesterday we had a day trip with API to a Calcotada in Barberà de la Conca and visited the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Poblet.

After having doubts about how my travel group would handle nearly 160 people traveling by bus to the same place in one day, I have to say, they did a really great job. After touring the Monastery, we sat down for a mid-day lunch that consisted of an assortment of meats and sausages, including kidneys. It was pretty shocking to see a cooked kidney on my plate at first, but at the same time, I had to remember that I was definitely not in the U.S. anymore!

After lunch, we stopped by a winery and learned how the Catalan people make Cava. Cava is basically Champagne, but since the French coined the term first, the Spanish had to come up with a new one. Cava means “cellar” in Catalan, which makes sense because that is exactly where they make the Cava. After the wine tasting, we climbed back into the buses and made our way back to Barcelona. All in all, the day trip was long, but fantastic. It was great to do something outside of the city that I probably wouldn’t done without my travel group.

There is so much here in Barcelona, and I can honestly say that I really am having the time of my life here. I know people always say that when they go abroad, but it’s true. Everything from walking to class, going for a run, or simply getting a café con leche at a local corner café is incredible. Life is so rich yet relaxed here. Nobody hurries you out of a restaurant, bothers you to provide incredible customer service, or even expects you to be working from 3 to 5 pm everyday. I could definitely get used to the lifestyle I am living here in Barcelona.

Julia Kacmarek is a collegian blogger. She can be reached at [email protected]