Living in Barcelona is a completely different experience than living in the States. The people, food, transportation, music, apartments, etc are unique in their own way. Some of my favorite aspects of studying abroad are from living in the city.
My amazing host mom Cristina and my roommates!
Carmela Ferradans, our IWU faculty member that came with us to Barcelona. She teaches the Spanish Civil War class here and to whom I owe all my Spanish history knowledge.
The schedules in Spain are much different than ours. They have 5 meals a day and have siesta time from 2-5pm, which means they close down their business during that time. On Sundays, most stores and businesses are closed all day. Usually during time, we go to the beach!
Spaniards are also night owls. They have dinner around 9-10pm and sometimes will go out later that night for drinks or snacks. Usually you’ll see many bars and pubs that only open late at night.
But the best part of the week are Sundays! Many of the museums in Barcelona are free to the public Sunday mornings and afternoons.
Museum of National Art of Cataluña
After our trip in Zaragoza, we drove to Belchite. It was a town completely destroyed in the Spanish Civil War. The town decided to rebuild itself on a new plot of land, leaving the ruins as a memorial.
We were told not to stray away from the path since many of the houses and buildings were still capable of falling down.
The old olive well was used to dump bodies during the war. Now the well is completely sealed.
This is the interior of the largest home in Belchite.
One of the churches in Belchite. It wasn’t completely destroyed, but the interior of the church is opened up.
The next day, we were up early for another tour packed day.
We went to the Roman Theater and got to walk through the roman ruins. The town used to be named Caesar Augustus so there were many sculptures dedicated to Caesar.
The Roman Theater!
We found weird tribal masks upstairs. Great photo opportunity!
Lots of stray cats lived in the ruins. The workers make sure they’re well fed and happy.
After the ruins, we went to the beautiful La Aljafería in Zaragoza.
We went on a weekend trip to Zaragoza which is in the Aragon region. It was a 4 hour bus ride from Barcelona.
The town of Zaragoza was home to many Roman ruins and Moorish architecture, known as Mudejar architecture.
An example of mudejar architecture.
I went on the Spanish guided tour of Zaragoza instead of the English one. From what I gathered from the tour guide, Zaragoza is a pretty cool town. The town square was completely renovated and included a waterfall sculpture of South America. Churches also lined the town square.
The architecture of these churches dated back to 711 a.d. when the Moors invaded Spain.
One of the churches we toured. We weren’t allowed to take any photos on the inside, unfortunately.
A huge monument in the newly built town square. The entire fountain/waterfall represented South America.
Another amazing church!
After our super long day of tours around the churches, we went back to Hotel Sauce. They had towel warmers!
Later that night, we went out with our IWU professor Carmela Ferradans for some bonding time.
The food in Barcelona is amazing! Although there are pizzerias and burger joints in Spain, those don’t compare to authentic Spanish dishes. Here is a collection of foods I’ve had so far on my trip.
Before our flamenco performance, we headed to a cafe for chocolate con churros. The hot chocolate is really thick and meant for dipping, not drinking.
Chocolate con churros. The churros came without sugar and we had these special sugar packets that we emptied on the hot churros.
Seafood! Everything was flash frozen due to their health code. So many different kinds of seafood that are hard to find in the US.
All water is served in a bottle with a glass provided. Spaniards don’t drink the tap water like we do. In many restaurants, they will provide a giant water bottle with glasses so everyone can share.
They told me I wouldn’t find pancakes in Spain. I proved them wrong.
Patatas Bravas. Very typical and popular tapa in Spain. Tapas are smaller portions of food that is meant to be shared or had as a snack. You can find many tapas bars in Barcelona.
My lunch from Santa Gloria, a bakery near my apartment. It’s a tuna sandwich with loose leaf tea in a cast iron pot.
Another lunch from Santa Gloria! And another tuna sandwich for me!
My breakfast every morning. Sometimes I’ll have mini muffins or an apple instead, but breakfasts are very simple in Spain.
From another bakery down my street. My favorite foods from Spain are definitely the pastries.
Flamenco was absolutely thrilling! I’ve seen flamenco dancing and spanish guitar before, but nothing compares to flamenco in Barcelona.
There were 3 acts. The first featured a woman dancing, the second had traditional singing, and the third featured a man dancing.