September 28, 2014

BARCELONA BOUND | More Like a Home

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So far, I have been busy exploring Barcelona, rather than doing any actual studying abroad.  I have been going to the beach, orientation activities, tours of the city, clubs and bars, and on a program trip to Tarragona. On my second night here, I went with friends to Shoko, a club in Port OlÍmpic which consists of a strip of bars along the beach. When we arrived to a fairly empty club around 11:30 p.m., I figured most people do not go out on a Tuesday. Little did I know the club was going to be packed at 1 a.m. until after I left around 4 a.m.  So, another night my roommate and I stayed out until the subway re-opened at 5 a.m.  I would not suggest this for every night, but it is something that you may want to try once or twice. Port OlÍmpic is very much a tourist area. In one sense this is interesting because I constantly meet people from all over Europe and South America, especially when my friends and I take a break from the clubs to meet the groups of people hanging out on the beach.  However, a drawback to a tourist area such as Port OlÍmpic is that you have to be especially careful, because there is a lot of pick pocketing.

Besides going to the discotecas, there are so many other sites to visit in the city. My friends and I went on a bus tour through Barcelona, where we were able to get off and visit places such as the Museu Nacional D’Art De Catalyuna and a previous Olympic stadium.  We also stopped and rode a cable car up the mountain, Montjuïc.  On another day, I went to see la BoquerÍa, where the tour guide suggested that we find our own nearby market to buy food, rather than a supermarket.  He explained that market food would be the most fresh, and that most people have years long relationships with vendors from their local market.

If this all sounds like a vacation, it is because I had essentially been on vacation my first two weeks here. I only had one Spanish class that did not meet until 1:30 in the afternoon during the week days. While it would be exhausting to do this “vacationing” my entire time here, I have taken advantage of my weeks off from classes to experience Barcelona as a tourist and explore the city.

Nevertheless, now classes have started. I had an amazing time exploring, but I hope now that I am settling into a schedule that Barcelona slowly feels more like a home and less like a vacation. I very much want to feel a part of this city, which I thought about the other day when I went with my RA and another student to the mountain, Tibidabo. Once we were high up, we could see the entire city. I couldn’t help but think that Barcelona might be the perfect city. It is absolutely beautiful. The weather has been so nice and apparently never gets much colder than about forty degrees, a truly appreciated temperature after a winter in Ithaca.  I find it remarkable that while going about my day in an exciting city, I am only a bus ride away from a beautiful mountain with an amazing view. What I love most is that from the mountain top I have a view of the city and the sea at the same time. While I stood there taking in the view, I thought to myself, “I can’t believe I get to live here for three months.”

Natasha Herrick is a senior in the College of Human Ecology. She may be reached at [email protected] Barcelona Bound appears Mondays.