Last day in Spain & Last day in Europe :(

The next day, after staying up until 5:00 AM, I woke up at 10:00 in the morning and honestly, I shed a few tears. ¬†I was depressed because it was the last day in Europe. ūüė¶ ¬†I knew I couldn’t mope around in Spain because after all, I was still there. ¬†Carrie and I then got up and explored the city of Barcelona again.

First we went to Park Guell.  This park was in walking distance of our hotel.  It is on such a steep hill that you have to ride multiple escalators to get to the top!

I didn't take this picture, but I wanted you to see this!

On the top of Park Guell is a beautiful view of Barcelona.

It is ridiculous how much La Sagrada Familia (the big church) stands out among the rest of Barcelona.

While visiting Park Guell, we were starving and stopped at a nearby restaurant.  We had puella (again, yep) and this time the fish had the heads still on it.  It freaked us both out!

After this, we hit the metro and went to Sagrada Familia. ¬†It’s huge and amazing. ¬†We didn’t go inside because it was 15 euros and had a huge line. Ridiculous.

After this we went back to La Ramblas. ¬†Carrie had more gifts she wanted to get and I didn’t mind just walking around some more. ¬†Along this journey, we got our last gelato *tears*. ¬†Carrie’s looked like a rose!

While we were standing along the streets of Barcelona eating this gelato, a random guy came walking by us and went, “Meowww!” without any facial expression or anything. ¬†He was dead serious. ¬†We both busted out laughing and instantly assumed he MUST be from Prague. ūüėõ (Remember what I said about the guys in Prague???)

After this, we went in 1 more really cool shop and then headed back to the metro to go back to our hotel. ¬†We had a farewell dinner to attend. ūüė¶

We all got ready and pretty and attended the farewell dinner in central Barcelona. ¬†For dinner that night we had a salmon soup and then more fish! ¬†It was pretty good. ¬†That night our tour director talked about the trip and how much he’ll miss us and stuff. ¬†After this we all did a big cheers with our wine glasses.

Carrie and I got tight with the above girls, Ilana and Rebecca. ¬†I miss them already. ūüė¶ ¬†While we were at dinner, it hit me. ¬†The trip was OVER. ¬†I leaned over to Carrie and said, “We’re leaving in 5 HOURS!” and she was like “DON’T TELL ME THAT!” ¬†We obviously didn’t sleep that night. ¬†It was sad how much fun we were having at the dinner and how quickly we realized it was over.

After dinner, a lot of people from the group went to this massive fountain that glows at night.  By the time we got there, it stopped glowing. Lame!  Oh well.

We then had a dance party in our hotel room to our favorite tunes with our friends.  It was epic.

Carrie and I got our things packed for the last time. ¬†At 3:00 AM the whole group went downstairs to say goodbye. ¬†Most of the people were crying (including me). ¬†There were two trips to the airport, one at 3:00 and one at 6:00. ¬†Carrie and I had to take the 3:00 AM bus ride. ¬†We all said our goodbyes for a while and it was really sad! ¬†Really, really sad!!! ¬†All of us live across the country from each other. ūüė¶

I then put my suitcase on the bus and sat in the dark on the way to the airport (just to add to the depressing images here).  We got to the airport and everyone was pretty depressed.  The airport was pretty empty too.  It was seriously one of the saddest things ever as we all parted ways in the airport to fly to our different destinations.  My heart breaks a little when I think of that moment.

Our first flight was from Barcelona to Frankfurt, Germany. ¬†I know, it doesn’t make since because Germany is farther away from America than Spain! ¬†I fell asleep on the plane for a little bit, but it was only a 2 hour flight. ¬†Carrie and I then walked out into the Frankfurt, Germany airport. ¬†If you remember, we were there before when we were on the way to Greece. ¬†It is funny how differently we felt towards the food in that airport on the way home than on the way to Greece. ¬†We were starving to death and though the food in Germany was more healthy than in America, we were really sick of bread and all they had was the same sandwiches everywhere! ¬†I would have taken America’s fast food at that point.

After a few hours, we made it to our flight to Atlanta. ¬†I knew I was on the right flight because there were missionaries and southern accents around me. ¬†I also heard my first “Yall” in a long time (besides the ones that were coming out of my mouth!) ¬†The flight was 10 hours and I couldn’t manage to sleep. I was wide awake and in deep thought throughout the flight. ¬†Seriously. ¬†I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things that happened in Europe and all the things I learned and experienced. ¬†My heart was feeling heavy, but also inspired and happy that it all happened. ¬†I am very thankful for this experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. ¬†Every time I think about it, I tear up… Ok, I have to stop writing this now (I’m tearing up). ūüėČ

I got back to Atlanta around 4:00 PM on July 25th and was greeted by friendly people who were welcoming me back to America! ¬†It was nice to have people speak my language for sure. ¬†Somehow I was not tired. ¬†I got 1 hour of sleep and barely slept any in Barcelona. ¬†I gained a lot of endurance on that trip I think! ¬†I also wasn’t all that jet lagged since I stayed up so late in Barcelona! ūüėČ

Mama made me some veggies when I got home and I was very THANKFUL. Thank you mama!

Up next, I will sum up my overall thoughts of Europe in another post! ūüôā

 

 

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August 5, 2011 at 2:46 am Leave a comment

First full day in BARCELONA!

The next day was our first full day in Barcelona.  Carrie and I headed to a street called La Ramblas, which is the most famous street in Barcelona.  It is surrounded by trees and shops.  At the end of the street is painters and we looked around, but the ones I liked were too much money!

We also found a famous marketplace with fresh fruits.  If I had known that it would have been closed the next day, I would have gotten some fruit. It looked SO AMAZING.

Carrie and I also had lunch along Las Ramblas and we shared and amazing, amazing lunch.  It was a salad with more puella!

After this, we headed back to the hotel, got ready, and went back to meet our roomies at the food market.  That night we all ate tapas along La Ramblas.  Carrie and I tried Octopus!  I didn’t think it would LOOK like octopus, but it did.  It had the tentacles and everything!  Ah!! We tried our best to eat it.  It wasn’t bad, but it was grossing us out because it looked like octopus.  No regrets!

The Octopus, taken from Ilana's camera. It was with potatoes too.

We also had Sangria, a famous drink from Spain. ¬†It’s really good, but you better be careful with that stuff… It’s strong!

After this we decided to go back to the area with all the clubs.¬† Ilana, Carrie, and I went.¬† We saw some other people group our group there too.¬† We decided to go to a different club, Catwalk, but it was much less cool than Shoko and much more empty. ¬†Some foreigners wanted a picture with me, so Ilana got a shot too. Haha…

We decided to leave and then I went back to Shoko with Bonnie, Katie, and Adam.  Katie and Adam left pretty quick.   Luckily, Bonnie was cool and decided to stay!  That night was one of the most fun nights of the trip (my last real night in Barcelona AND Europe).  Bonnie and I danced and met cool people who lived in Spain.  Unfortunately for Bonnie, there were two creepers wearing blonde mullet wigs and one of them literally bit her BUTT.  Not kidding.  He found her later again that evening and bit her shoulder.. what the heck!?!?!

Bonnie and I danced the night away and I danced with a guy named Agustin who is from Argentina, but he has lived in Barcelona for 8 years. ¬†I met his cousin too and some other people. ¬†Since Agustin could barely speak English, his cousin Rodrigo helped us communicate. ūüėõ ¬†They asked questions about America, such as: “Do Americans get drunk a lot?” I responded yes, but I do not get drunk! ¬†They also asked if clubs were really cool like the “movies.” ¬†To that question I responded no! ¬†Fun fact about Europe: I did not come across 1 drunk European. ¬†The only drunk people I saw were the ones on my tour. ¬†I believe Americans think getting drunk is cool because you have to be a certain age, but in Europe they’ve been drinking their entire lives so it’s not a big deal. ¬†America, get on board!

That night we stayed at Shoko dancing and talking beside the beach until about 4:00 in the morning. ¬†For some reason the stereo broke and everyone was leaving at that time. ¬†Normally clubs in Spain stay open until 12:00 PM. ¬†At this point, it started to rain outside and our new friends ran with us to the metro in the pouring down rain. ¬†We were soaking wet by the time we got there. ¬†We all rode the metro together and said our goodbyes once Bonnie and I reached our stop. ¬†Bonnie and I had to take another metro after this one and we both were freaking out about how awesome the night we had was! It was so cool meeting people. ¬†It was the best night of the trip. ¬†I wished that I had known Bonnie was so cool earlier on in the trip. ¬†We had so much fun together! ¬†Oh well. ¬†It’s hard to get to know 47 people really well in 5 weeks I suppose.

My first full day in Barcelona was amazing to say the least. ¬†I like Barcelona because the culture is the most interesting of all the places I went. ¬†It also wasn’t stressful being there like Paris and Rome was. ¬†There are amazing things to see, but it’s not overwhelming. ¬†It’s also not overwhelmingly crowded with tourists. ¬†It was just a lovely day!

August 5, 2011 at 1:51 am Leave a comment

Barcelona by Night!

We arrived in Barcelona after a 9 hour drive from Nice (our longest drive) around 7:30 PM.  We arrived to our hotel, showered, and go ready for a big night in Barcelona!  Rebecca, Ilana, Carrie, and I went to dinner at a restaurant near our hotel (which is a little outside the center of Barcelona).  I had my first paella, which is a rice dish made in Spain.  I got it with seafood inside.  Rebecca can speak some Spanish, so that helped at the restaurant and while we were in Spain!

Our tour director told us to go to the city center to find good clubs.  We took the metro there (to La Ramblas) and started talking to this really nice lady about where to go.  She was promoting things for another club, but she was also honest with us about where the best place to go was.  Rebecca was really the only person who talked to her because she was speaking fully in Spanish!  Thanks to this helpful woman, we hopped over to a club called Opium.  It turns out you can’t get in unless you’re 23, which is weird.  Luckily this club was next to two other clubs as well (and they were along the beach!).  We decided to go to one called Shoko and it was amazing looking on the inside!  Once you walk inside, you take some stairs downwards and there’s a bar in front of you.  The club was big and the DJs were up high playing techno music.  It was dark and with lights everywhere up on a high ceiling.  We got there early (early for Barcelona) around 12:15.  There were people standing around talking and drinking.  There were also people sitting down and eating and also standing outside on the deck, which faced the beach. It was a really cool club!

As time passed, more and more people came in.  We all got a drink and by the time we walked back towards the dance floor, it was beginning to get very crowded!  We all started dancing near the DJ and this guy was creeping and trying to dance with us.  He was too old!  Also while we were dancing, this one guy just came up to Rebecca and started kissing her!  As the night went on, we danced and I met a guy from France.  He told me that he studied in Paris and then moved to Barcelona.  He studied International Business and is now living in Barcelona for a year.  Some interesting things in our conversation included:  1) I told him that I thought French people hated Americans and he told me that wasn’t true.  2) We both are sick of the places we’re from (He was from Lyon).  He said he was tired of France, even though it’s beautiful.  I told him I was tired of Georgia.. and it’s not that beautiful!  (At least in Athens or Macon).  We also talked about my trip and he told me he could travel to other countries with about 50 euros.  Pretty cool!  I wish I could do that!

Overall, it was a fun night in Barcelona dancing and meeting cool people!

August 5, 2011 at 1:44 am Leave a comment

Niceeee

On July 20th we woke up early in Paris and headed to the train station to hop on a fast moving train to Nice, France!  I was expecting the train to be crappy, but it was nice!  The train ride was 5.5 hours and we all slept like babies.

In the afternoon, we finally arrived in Nice. ¬†Carrie and I and our roomies Ilana and Rebecca all decided to chill for a second before we headed out to explore. ¬†We went to dinner that night and I had a not very good salmon and fries (so sick of fries!). ¬†One good thing about France is that they usually give you free water. ¬†This is the first time we’ve had free water in Europe. ¬†Most of the water is about 3 EURO. Ridiculous? Yes! ¬†You also get charged for things like butter and little condiments like that.

Anywho, that night we all grabbed a bottle of wine and sat by the beach at night.  It was so lovely!

We all decided to not set alarms for the next morning and we slept in late. ¬†We’re all getting really exhausted from being on this trip for a month now! ¬†We woke up around 10:00 and headed to brunch. ¬†We found a place that made an “American Breakfast” and we were sold. ūüėČ ¬†I had an omelette with bacon and fruit and so did Carrie! ¬†After this we headed to the beach. ¬†Nice has the bluest water I think I’ve ever seen!

That afternoon Ilana and I decided to go parasailing! ¬†I’ve never done it before and it was awesome! ¬†Nice is so gorgeous from up high! ¬†The driver of the boat dipped us in the water several times and it was pretty cold. ¬†I’m so glad we went parasailing because it was a blast!

After hitting the beach, we walked around and got some fruit smoothies. ¬†Lets be honest, I make better smoothies than any place I’ve had in Europe. ūüėČ

That night we went to a better restaurant and I had sea bass that was pretty good. ¬†It came with vegetables. Thank God! ¬†We sat by the beach AGAIN at night and grabbed some gelato on the way back to the hotel. ¬†Another nice night in NICE! ūüôā

Nice was such a good place to go after being in cold, rainy Paris for awhile. ¬†I had an relaxing time and I would totally go back one day. It’s beautiful! ūüôā

 

 

July 22, 2011 at 4:18 am 2 comments

Versailles

On our second day in Paris, Carrie and I attempted to see Chopin’s grave and the Opera house in the morning before going to Versailles. ¬†It ended up being another fail because the rain was pouring so hard that it made things difficult. ¬†At this moment, we both agreed that we MUST come back to Paris one day. ¬†There is so much to do and a few days is not enough. ¬†I’m sad I didn’t get to see Chopin or the Opera house, but I suppose I’ll have to save it for later!

We rushed in the rain that day to make it to our train to Versailles. ¬†Versailles was -you guessed it- beautiful and awesome. ¬†I didn’t take many pictures of the inside because it was so epic that you can’t get everything in. ¬†I’ve felt this way about a lot of amazing buildings I’ve been inside of in Europe. ¬†A camera will not capture what you’re seeing and it can’t capture everything at once. ¬†You just have to go see these places with your own eyes! ¬†The only picture I snapped on the inside was the Wall of Mirrors room…

Pretty amazing, huh? ¬†This picture doesn’t give it justice. At all.

After going to Versailles, we all headed out to dinner and I HAD THE MOST AMAZING STEAK IN THE WORLD. ¬†I’m not kidding!!

Everything about that meal was perfect. ¬†Holy moly. It was so good, tender, juicy, tasty… Ok, now I wish I was eating it again.

After this, we grabbed wine (of course) and headed to the Eiffel Tower to see it sparkle at night.  I also tried my first crepe from France.  It was good, but too sweet for me. I should try a non-dessert crepe next time!

The Eiffel Tower was lovely at night…

My second full day in Paris was great despite the cold and rain. ¬†I really want to go back one day because there is a ton to see and I didn’t have enough time to do everything I wanted to do! ¬†While we were in Paris, we stayed a little bit outside the city, so we were often riding the metro. ¬†That was probably the only yucky part about being in Paris, but it wasn’t that bad. ¬†Only sometimes it smelled like urine… ūüėČ ¬†It helped though seeing young French¬†businessmen in the metro. ¬†Whew. ¬†So good lookin’ ūüėõ Not kidding. ¬†Also while in Paris, I couldn’t help but admire how well everyone dressed!! ¬†Literally everyone dressed well. ¬†I felt so out of place because I was wearing chacos and flared jeans while everyone was wearing heels and skinny jeans. ¬†It was obvious I’m not from Paris!

Overall, I loved Paris. ¬†It was one of my favorite places in Europe and I was not expecting that at all. ¬†I’ve heard all sorts of different opinions of it. ¬†I personally enjoyed it a lot! I want to go back there so badly! ¬†You seriously need a week or two to really enjoy Paris I think!

July 22, 2011 at 3:50 am Leave a comment

PARIS!

The first full day in Paris was awesome.

We woke up early in the morning and headed straight to the Louvre, which turned out to be WAY more cool than I could have ever expected. ¬†There is so much to see in the Louvre. ¬†You could really spend about 5 months inside looking around. ¬†My favorite part inside the Louvre was seeing the Napoleon III apartments. ¬†Yep, this was inside the Louvre museum…

I was in awe.

We spent about two hours looking around the Louvre and yes, I saw the Mona Lisa. ¬†Her eyes really do follow you around the room. ¬†There are a billion people surrounding the Mona Lisa too. ¬†It’s ridiculous!

Crazy people surrounding the Mona Lisa.

After going to the Louvre, we had lunch and then headed to Notre Dame. A mass we being held while we were in there, which I thought was interesting to watch. ¬†I’ve heard a lot of organ in Europe without even trying!

Somehow these two things took up pretty much the whole day! ¬†We did not have enough time in Paris. ¬†I really want to go back!!! ¬†We did do a little shopping around between the museum and the Notre Dame. ¬†I can never find anything I want in Europe to buy because it’s either cheap or way too expensive!

After going to Notre Dame, Carrie and I made a journey by metro to see Chopin’s grave. ¬†Unfortunately, we got there too late because it closed at 6:00. ūüė¶ ¬†We decided to eat dinner around that area and it was lovely! ¬†The waiter was so nice. ¬†It reminded me of our waiters in Corfu! ūüôā

Later that night we headed out to a bar.  I wish we were in Paris on a weekend, because the nightlife is pretty much dead otherwise.  We had a nice time though.

July 22, 2011 at 3:10 am Leave a comment

First night in Paris!

Along the way to Paris, we stopped through Belgium. ¬†I don’t really know if I should count that I’ve been to Belgium, really. ¬†We ate lunch in Bruges and dinner in Brussels and walked around for only 2 hours. ¬†We spent the night in a suburb of Brussels and we were so far away from the city that we could only spend 2 hours exploring that afternoon. ¬†It was pouring down raining that day and I didn’t take any pictures at all for fear of getting my camera soaking wet. ¬†I was disappointed that I didn’t get to spend much time in Bruges or Brussels at all. ¬†However, on a happy note, I was relived to have a break for once and just chill inside. ¬†It was a very cold and rainy day, so it was nice to have a night in.

The next day, our bus broke down and we were stuck in a rest stop for about 3 hours along the way to Paris.  We got there about 2 hours later than planned, but it all worked out.  That night when we arrived in Paris, we immediately jumped on a boat and cruised around the city.

After this, we headed to the Eiffel Tower and grabbed quick dinners outside before heading to the top! ¬†I was told to have a hot dog off the street in Paris, so I decided to try it. ¬†Honestly, it wasn’t my favorite, but at least I gave it a chance!

Then we were off to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  The Eiffel Tower is so much taller than I expected it to be.  I felt like it took a while to get to the very top.  The weather was bad that day again, but luckily it stopped raining while we were up top!

The Eiffel Tower provided some lovely views of Paris!

My first impression of Paris was GOOD. ¬†I fell in love with it the second I got there! ¬†Paris is so beautiful and there’s so much to do. ¬†I wished I had at LEAST two more days there.

After seeing the Eiffel Tower, we checked into our hotel and I collapsed to sleep. ¬†We’ve been in Europe for about a month now and non-stop traveling is beginning to become exhausting! The weather in Belgium and Paris was so cold too. ¬†I only packed 1 pair of jeans, which I totally regret and so does everyone else (because everyone else did the same thing!). ¬†I basically wore the same jeans for about 4 days. ¬†Go me!

July 22, 2011 at 2:51 am Leave a comment

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