It’s is so wonderful to be back in jolly good England, but I must say, England has nothing on Spain and Italy! In true vacation fashion I ate my body weight in tapas, paella, gelato, and pasta. And somehow managed to not have to buy bigger pants when I got back. I true feat.
I guess I should start from the beginning.
First on our vacation was Barcelona, Spain. Now, when I was in high school I had all these grand plans to study in Spain, but coming to college I found it more plausible for me to study in London so I did. But, man, going to Barcelona. WOW. It was a game changer. I’ve never quite fallen in love with a city as hard as I have fallen for Barcelona, it was a little overwhelming.
I speak a little Spanish, but they don’t speak traditional Spanish there, it is a regional Spanish but very close to the Spanish I know so the language wasn’t really that hard. I could understand it but I couldn’t read it because it looked more like French to me. I was very impressed with myself when our tour guide said the exact same thing! Go me!
So, Barcelona is just this beautiful city full of so much history. I really didn’t know anything about Barcelona before going so I learned A LOT. We took a free walking tour the first day, which I recommend everyone doing in any city, and got to see much of the medieval city. It was just so amazing.
The next day we went to all the touristy spots AND the beach. My two favorite things from that day: Park Guell and working on my tan! Park Guell is like Dr. Seuss land. Really. I learned that America seriously needs to step up their park game! And the beach was awesome but super hard to find.
Barcelona used to be a crime ridden and rather unattractive city until it landed the Olympics in 1992 and it was completely transformed. They then had enough money to build their beaches so it was really cool sitting on a man-made beach. Our tour guide told us that because the beaches aren’t natural, the city has to import the sand from Egypt! So I got to tan on the beach in Barcelona AND touch Egyptian sand. Two birds with one stone my friends! Also they import their palm trees from Hawaii.
The food in Barcelona was absolutely amazing! Paella, a sea-food and rice mixture, is out of this world. I was a little scared to try the full out sea-food version so I tried the chicken one which was equally delicious. Then we had a lunch full of tapas. As soon as I learned about tapas in high school I knew I had to try them and they certainly didn’t disappoint! Lovely, lovely food. Watch out mom, Barcelona might steal me away!
So after our wonderful, sunshine filled time in Barcelona we headed to Italy. First stop, Venice!
Venice is an amazing city and we went in the early morning before all the tourists could make the island sink faster. We took a gondola ride in the peace and quiet, it was magical! My favorite part of Venice. We also had out first taste of pasta and gelato there, not a bad start to our adventures in Italy. From there we took a little side trip to Verona on our way down to Milan.
Verona is super cute and a lot bigger and busier than I thought it was going to be, but Juliet’s square is wonderful! However, it seemed like every school group in the world was there. Children are only cute when they aren’t trying to push past you. But other than that we toured the museum and took pictures on the balcony and I bought a lock and wrote my boyfriend and my name on the lock and locked it in the square! That was really exciting because his favorite play is Romeo & Juliet.
From there we went to Milan which was my least favorite city in Italy. It’s very modern and it is the fashion capital of the world but if you can’t afford to shop there then there isn’t too much to do. The city also has the world’s tallest Gothic Cathedral which was pretty cool but didn’t really compare to Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I know you shouldn’t be comparing cathedrals but I was still kind of on a Barcelona high. Despite Milan being my least favorite, they had the best gelato ever. Not only was it tastiest but it was also the biggest cone ever. It was literally as big as my face.
Next was Florence. Florence was beautiful and I had a lot of fun there. We climbed all 414 steps of the Belltower, got a caricature, and ate gelato on a hill overlooking the whole city. We also met some characters in Florence which really highlighted the whole trip. The man that did our caricature was pretty much an Italian pirate. Strangest ten minutes of my life.
Last but certainly not least was ROMA. I was most excited for this city because I am obsessed with Roman history and to be able to actually see all the ruins was amazing. A dream come true. Coming out of the metro and seeing the Coliseum was absolutely insane. It’s beautiful in its antiquity. We also saw the Forum, the Trevi fountain, the Spanish stairs, and the Vatican. Actually, we spent Easter listening to the pope! A once in a lifetime experience and it was completely different from anything I had ever done before because I’ve never been to a church service in my life, so it was certainly something!
Overall, this spring break was amazing! It was warm and beautiful and I loved being immersed in Spanish and Italian culture. It was wonderful. I ate so much pasta, pizza, and gelato and not enough tapas but don’t worry I’ll be going back to Barcelona!
I’m down to just a month left here and it’s a fun-filled month. This weekend is my second to last weekend left in London because next weekend I will be going to the Lake District to study some Wordsworth. Who doesn’t need a weekend in nature?
Thanks for reading lovelies!