International Travel

Certainly surreal

One thing that I love about being here is that the people (generally speaking) are so friendly!  I’ve found that many people cannot speak English.  But once they find out I’m from the United States they start showing interest and talk to me (in Spanish) even though I can’t really understand them.  This is where Google Translate becomes my best friend, on both sides.  We will actually go into quite deep conversations with Google Translate.  I love it.

Last Friday I went up to Montjuic.  Nicole and I bought a roundtrip ticket for the Port Cable car that goes from the beach area up to the lower level of Montjuic.  It provided us with some stellar views, though it was kind of overpriced.  This whole area of Barcelona has a very outdoorsy type of feel.  Lots of runners sped by us.  We checked out the Olympic Stadium from the 1992 Olympics.  It wasn’t that amazing, but still nice to see.  We then headed up to Montjuic Castle in another cable.  The Montjuic Castle was much bigger than I expected.  I definitely recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the area (It’s only 3 euros if you’re under the age of 29).  Walking around it and imagining all the history is quite an amazing experience.  There were a number of look-out spots surrounding the castle.  The castle included many views of the sea and many views down to the city.

Then on Sunday, I went on a huge group tour to Besalu, the Dali Museum and to Girona.  The group included 224 people, which was spread out onto four coach buses. Besalu is a small medieval town with a population of about 2,500.  There is a famous, picturesque bridge that leads into the town.  It was definitely worth visiting, even if it was only for about an hour.  Next, we headed to Figueres, home of Salvador Dali and the well known Dali art museum.  I was so impressed with this museum.  Dali was a very interesting person with a great sense of humor.  The artwork told a funny story through his surrealism.  I didn’t once get bored in this museum.  After leaving the museum I had felt like I knew Dali personally. We then got a quick lunch and headed to Girona.  Girona is also known for its medieval architecture.  A walking tour was included of this colorful town.  We learned much of the history and even saw where scenes were shot for the Game of Thrones.  We walked up to the best view of Girona, Muralla at sunset, and that may have been my favorite part of the day.  Following the tour, Nicole and I went into an Irish bar where I ordered a pint of Guinness and nachos.  It was a long day, but I really enjoyed it.

This past week has been one of the hardest in many ways. I thought I was actually improving. But, my host family let me know otherwise. I feel lost and unwanted within the house.  I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong and the language barrier adds to the difficulty.  It’s hard to be living somewhere where you don’t know if you’re accepted or not.  I don’t want to sit here and be a negative Nancy, but my time here would be much more positive if I had a (host) family that supported me. And unfortunately, Nicole, the only other American in this small town is moving back to the United States this weekend. One big support system a 4 minute walk away is now leaving.

On a different note, this weekend I’m heading to Lyon, France where it’s supposed to be in the low 30’s.  I’m going to have my warm winter clothes ready to go!  This will be my first taste of Wisconsin winter of the year!  Then next week there is only school Monday and Tuesday.  The rest of the week is off for the Day of the Spanish Constitution on Wednesday and on Friday it’s Immaculate Conception, another Spanish holiday.  I will be heading to Seville and Granada (Southern Spain) for this extended weekend. This will wrap up my traveling before coming back to the United States for Christmas.  

In 21 short days I’ll be back in Fort Atkinson. I cannot wait!


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