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The City of Dreams: Barcelona Edition

It didn’t take long at all to find out that this would be an incredible semester. Within the 20-minute ride from the airport to my apartment, it was easy to see how beautiful Barcelona is. Upon arriving at my new home (for the next four months), I knew right away that this is a great apartment  in a perfect location, as we are just a short 15 minute walk to many of the attractions Barcelona has to offer. Though all 5 of us roommates were extremely tired, we wanted to get out and see some of the city and get to know each other a little. CEA seems to know how to match roommates because all four of these guys are great roommates. (If you guys are reading this, don’t make fun of me for saying that!)

P.S. jet lag is a very real thing, or at least struggling to adjust to a time change over six hours, but we are almost all adjusted to that.

We landed in Barcelona at a perfect time because one of the first days there we got to encounter a huge holiday known as “Dios de Los Reyes Magos” or The Three Kings. On the night before this holiday, there is an impressive parade that goes through the streets of the city, and the sidewalks are lined with thousands of smiling people. The excitement was definitely in the air, especially for little kids who receive presents on this day and also for us five American college students who had no idea the caliber of this parade!

 Día de los Reyes Magos
 Dia De Los Reyes Magos

The holiday means that most stores and businesses are closed for the day. That didn’t stop us from what was going on that night though, which was getting to see FC Barcelona, one of the top soccer clubs in the world play a match in front of over 100,000 people. All of the fans are very into the game and I quickly learned that you don't stand during the game (or you get yelled at by someone behind you).  I also learned that whistling is the equivalent to booing. Makes a lot more sense as to all the whistling when the opposing team came out at the beginning of the game! FC Barcelona won the game and it was definitely one of the greatest sporting events I’ve been too.
 Camp Nou-Home of FC Barcelona over an hour before the game

Within 48 hours we got to experience a holiday, a huge soccer match, and some fantastic Spanish food. So far, we’ve only had a few mix-ups with ordering that food. We went to McDonald’s and my attempt to order a chicken sandwich came back to me as chicken wings. The item on the menu was in English, so I’m not too sure how I managed to mess that one up. And yes, I know that McDonald’s isn’t exactly the fine local cuisine that is recommended when living in a new country, but we were hungry and in a hurry! Other than that American delicacy, it’s been a world of tapas and paellas and other delicious meals.

My favorite spot so far is Park Güell, which if you Google search Barcelona, many of the top pictures you see are from Park Güell. The views of the city as well as the coast are truly incredible from here. We were there right around sunset and the colors, the architecture, the landscapes are amazing; no wonder it’s such a famous spot!

 Park Guell a little while before sunset
 View from a little higher up!

We’ve been here over a week now and it’s a strange feeling because we’ve done so much already in our short time that it feels like we’ve been here for months.  At the same time, however, we still are struggling to find our apartment when we walk home from a restaurant so we clearly haven’t been here for too long! We are starting to get a hang of the streets though, and the metro system, and even speaking some Spanish (my Spanish definitely was nothing to brag about before studying abroad in Barcelona so I’ll keep you updated on how it’s coming along). Each day here is a new adventure, and who knows where today will take us; it doesn’t matter where - we’re ready to see it all!

Visca el Barça!

Kevin Mooney is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Barcelona, Spain. He is currently a junior at the University of South Carolina.


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