The Best of Barcelona and more!

Hanna and I at the Carnaval festival!Love at first sight must be real because I fell in love with Barcelona the first day I got there. I went to Barcelona with the intention to see my friend, Hanna, who has been traveling around Europe, and to see a few sites. After a fantastic weekend, I made so many friends from around the world and I saw so much more of beautiful Barcelona than I had expected to.

View of Barcelona from a hillside

View of Barcelona from a hillside

First off, Barcelona is the first big city of Europe that I’ve been to and the first time I have ever been to a hostel. Both the city and the hostel left great impressions! I stayed at Hostel One where I met most of my friends. The hostel made delicious dinners for us every night and afterward took all of us out to experience the nightlife. I highly recommend staying at this hostel if you plan on traveling around Europe.

For my first night there, my two friends took me to the castle in Barcelona where there is normally a fountain show. Although there was no show that night, the castle was still breathtakingly beautiful. Next to this was Olympic Park, where Barcelona held the Olympics in 1992. A gigantic sundial in the middle of the park left me in awe.

Huge sundial at Olympic Park

Huge sundial at Olympic Park

On Sunday, February 7, we celebrated Carnaval! For those who don’t know exactly what this is, Carnaval is a traditional religious celebration that people still celebrate in many countries. The Latin root from the word Carnaval means the ending of meat. It takes place before Catholics begin Lent, where no meat can be consumed. Therefore, Carnaval is a huge get-together where everyone consumes meat, drinks, and socializes before Lent begins.

Our group of 40 foreigners decided to go out and have fun for Carnaval! We all painted our faces, put feathers in our hair, and ate food before we took a train to the beach of Siges. Siges is where the parade begins, and it was nothing I’d ever expected or had seen before. Women and men all had costumes on of various creatures, people, and things, and put on performances!

Carnaval parade

  Carnaval parade 

La Sagrada Familia is one of the biggest attractions in Barcelona. It is a huge church (still being constructed!) that was designed by Antoni Gaudi, a famous architect that designed many buildings in Barcelona. I had the great fortune to visit this church and take pictures!

I visited a large park where anybody can hang out at and I found people doing slackline, so I joined them and had blast relearning this activity. My friends and I visited the Gothic neighborhood with the older buildings and narrow streets, and we went to the food market, which I consider Heaven. Food, being my best friend, was so cheap at this market that I left with my arms full of cheeses, fruits, meats, and pizza!

The famous street of Las Ramblas was our last stop. Las Ramblas is full of souvenirs, caricatures, food, and more, where most tourists go through when they visit Barcelona.

La Sagrada Familia Church

La Sagrada Familia Church

Slacklining - so much fun!

Slacklining – so much fun!

Mercado - where all the food is (:

Mercado – where all the food is (:

For my last day, my friend Julian and I woke up at 6 a.m., took the subway to the Modernist Park Guell (also designed by Antoni Gaudi) and we watched the sunrise over Barcelona. This is a moment I shared with a new friend that I will never forget. I ended my stay by visiting the beach, trying a Segway for my first time, and traveling on one of those cable cars that allows you to see the whole city! Until next time, Barcelona.

Besides my unforgettable trip, I’ve been enjoying my English internship a lot! I’ve begun teaching parts of the classes. For example, I will do the normal routine in the beginning of each class with the kids such as asking the date, weather, and random questions to get them talking. I also prepare many activities, games, and crafts for the younger kids. Next week, I will be starting a craft and game with each class that I’ve invented myself!

Heart tree made by the younger kids for Valentine's day!

Heart tree made by the younger kids for Valentine’s day!

The most exciting thing that has happened to me recently is that I tried octopus. Not only do I not like seafood, but I never imagined myself trying octopus in my life. I am happy to say that I enjoyed the octopus and I am broadening my horizons every day!

About the author

Alyssa Crespo

My name is Alyssa Crespo. I grew up in a little town called Fredonia, New York, and have lived there my whole life. I am 20 years old, and I’m currently still living with my family which entails my mother (Kate), my father (Jamie), and my two brothers (Forest and Sean). My major is the Social Sciences, but I still have yet to figure out what I will be doing with my Associates degree and what I will be doing afterwards for college. Spring semester of 2016 I will be doing the International Internship in Valladolid, Spain. I absolutely love learning new things every day, and I’m very passionate about what I do. I enjoy reading a lot. I also love to hula hoop dance and do yoga every day. I have my own henna business; henna is a temporary and natural tattoo, an art mainly practiced in the Middle East. I’m very interested in languages. I went on exchange in Brazil for a year and I became fluent in Portuguese. I learned Spanish in high school for four years, and I’m currently taking a sign language class which I absolutely love, so I’m also considering going into language for my education major. Food is my best friend. When I was younger, I was very picky. Since I’ve been to Brazil, I had to be polite and try everything people put in front of me; therefore, I learned to love a variety of foods and try new things. I cannot wait to see what Spain has in store for me. I am beyond excited to go on another adventure, share my culture, and learn about Spain!