Ahhh…so sorry I have been rather MIA lately, but time is precious and sometimes it is so difficult to sit in a hostel and type on the computer when I know there is a city out there waiting to be explored. Thankfully, today I find myself on a mini-vacation-vacation, haha. I am comfortably camped out in the little dining room in Allison Hunt’s, for those who don’t know she’s a Chi Omega sister from college, little house in Escalona, Spain. Allison has lived here in this quite little Spanish town for the past 8 months teaching English for a bilingual program. She was kind enough to extend an invitation to me to come visit after finishing my time in Madrid. It is sooo nice to have a place to just hang, catch up on e-mail, plan, organize, and blog 🙂 Plus, it is refreshing to be with a friend from home and her smiling face and incredible generosity and hospitality make my short visit to Escalona absolutely delightful.
As far as the days leading up to now…hahaha oh so many wonderful memories and exciting new experiences and people. First, Barcelona…was fantastic. I loved the hostel I stayed at and all the people I met there were a blast. No one was a huge party person or wanted to stay out all night, but naturally everyone was down for a few drinks and a good time, so we were all quite compatible…my nights with them involved a chill bar, a water fountain show (I know how Vegas, but it was still fun), good conversation, laughs, and plenty of fun.
One girl I met while at Alberada (hostel) had been studying spanish in Barcelona for the past couple months, so she knew her way around the town quite well. Kat was such a sweetheart and truly it was a blessing to meet her because I would not have known half the places to go or met some of the fun people I did. On that note, the night we went to the bar Oveja Negra (the black sheep) we met up with some of the guys she had become friends with/known from back home in California. After some conversation and what not in the group I decided to ask the two guys (Brad and Nishant) and Kat to team up and play doubles in pool…so we did, and it was fun. Nishant and I ended up loosing by some random run of luck for Kat…she basically dominated on her own, though Brad tried to contribute to the team 🙂 haha.
During our game we also scored a free pitcher of Sangria (and I must add this place had the most AWESOME sangria I have EVER tasted!!!) because a guy walked by and accidentally knocked my pool stick onto the floor. I waited to see if he would pick it up, and he did, but Kat piped in and said he should buy me a pitcher to make up for it…haha. I told him no he really didn’t need to do that, but sure enough…like 5 minutes later he came back with a full pitcher. Haha…don’t worry we didn’t drink the whole thing…but we did have a good night 🙂
In addition to going out with new friends, I explored all over Barcelona and visited numerous, fantastic creations of the architect Gaudi. Parc Guell, Casa Bastlle, and Segrada Familia were amazing to experience first hand!!
The day I walked up to Parc Guell, which was quite a hike from my hostel, I ended up meeting a native Barcelonian and his dog Neska 🙂 Via the look-out in the park, Joan, described a bit about Barcelona to me and suggested good places to go. We exchanged contact info with hopes that we might be able to meet up later for coffee or something, but he had school projects to get done…so it never ended working out. Still, it was super fun to meet someone who had actually grown up in Barcelona, and such a coincidence that he was able to speak English. Crazy beautiful blue eyes I migh say too 😉
I also toured the Casa Bastlle, which was phenominal. The amount of detail and creativity and yet functionality that went into designing that house is awe-inspiring. Seriously I wish I could live there.
Lets see, what else about Barc. Well, I did visit the beach one day with Nishant and Brad, though I hadn’t really planned on being in the water or sand…and hadn’t worn my suit. So we just kinda sat in the sand and relaxed/talked for a while. Besides the water was horribly cold…I did put my feet in.
Before long it was time to say good-bye to Barcelona and I hoped on a bus to Madrid. The bus ride was 7 hours, but I had been up fairly late 😉 the night before so I was pretty much in and out of sleep for most of the ride. During the time I was awake I some of very picturesque landscape…and enjoyed a bit of time just sitting and thinking and dreaming.
In Madrid I quickly found my hostel, unpacked a bit, and then was treated to a special evening of friends, excitement, and yummy food with Allison, the friend who’s house I’m at now. Her cousin was also in town visiting so the three of us went out for the evening and had a delightful time. Oddly enough, Allison’s cousin, lived in Tulsa too and had just graduated from ORU…so we all had plenty of things to talk about, from back home topics to traveling excitement.
The next day I got some insight on where was good to visit from the front desk guy, Fefe, at our hostel. He was super helpful and drew out on my map where all I should go, plus he let me know that a bunch of people from the hostel would be meeting to go out to a couple of bars in the evening if I wanted to join. I was like yeah, ok whatever…I’d think about it. I spent the morning just exploring and walking around on my own…then around 4 I attempted to go on a walking tour of the city but the guide never shown up. So instead, two other girls who had also shown up for the tour (they were from Georgia and absolutely hilarious and a joy to spend time with) and I all decided to walk around together some. We visited the Cruxiform modern art museum and enjoyed the Retiro park for a while and just had fun getting to know one another and discussing what we were looking at and how we felt about it. In the evening when I got back to the hostel Fefe asked again if I would be joining everyone that night to go out. When they finally left, at like 11:30, I decided sure why not…I didn’t have much else to do. And I’m so glad I went because it was a blast. I barely drank anything, but I had a magnificent time dancing and laughing and being rediculous with some of the other people that went out. There was one guy from Pittsburg who had been in Spain to play basketball, and apparently he wasn’t just a good hoops player, but also a fun dancer. So he and I would dance together why everyone else kinda danced/watched us. It was funny and fun. It was kinda funny because people would ask me what I was drinking, and after my first drink I had only been drinking water, and when we moved from the first bar to the second it made me smile when the first option for drinks Fefe gave me was a water…he had picked up on my drinking style quickly. Besides, I had told Fefe I wasn’t planning on going out because in the morning I wanted to get up and run…and of course he was like “oh, you don’t need to do that, you can come out and run later”…but even though I didn’t stay out super late, as I had expected I did wake up later in the morning than I had hoped. When I walked out into the common area, Fefe was at the reception desk and I glared at him a bit for making me miss my run. He laughed and asked if I was going running and I said no it was too late in the morning. He said I could run with him at 4 instead and go grab breakfast with him since he hadn’t had any yet either…so I agreed and another new friendship was began 🙂
I am loving meeting all these fun people, and I have really been considering some type of networking job when I get home, because I just love meeting, talking, and working with people…of course that is when they are being nice and agreeable…there are definitely times people irritate me too…haha, so I guess we’ll see.
But speaking of new friends, a way exciting chance reunion occured in Madrid, becase Lindsey and Chris, friends of Tyler’s who we had already met up with once in Paris, ended up being in Madrid at the same time as I. So I got to trek through the city with them for two days. Total blast! I definitely think it is safe to say that te cities of Barcelona and Madrid have been super enhanced by the wonderful people I have met there and the time we spent together. It really does make a difference the company you have around you, and being with someone you enjoy can make even the most ordinary of activites seem fun. I owe so many thanks to so many people for making my trip as beautiful of an experience as it has been 🙂