Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Yesterday was my 21st birthday and I'm so blessed to have spent it in the beautiful city of Barcelona. Although I was bummed to not see my family for the first time on my birthday, it was still a great day! We celebrated with a birthday dinner at the top of Las Arenas, the old bull fighting ring that is now a shopping mall. My first drink as a 21-year old was a very expensive piña-colada that was not very good.

After dinner we headed down to the beach to go to the Ice Bar. We have been planning to go to the Ice Bar ever since we arrived here, and saved it for my birthday. It was kind of expensive but it is more of a one-time thing for the experience and some great pictures. We got a free drink with our entrance and they gave us giant coats and gloves that made us look like astronauts.

The bar was actually very small, I felt like I was in the freezer at work
The bar was cold, shocker I know. It was -11º C when we entered. I didn't feel cold though until after they gave me my drink because even the glasses were made out of ice. My glass of course had a hole in it and was dripping everywhere. The lady gave me a new cup and re-made my drink but it tasted similar to nail-polish remover so needless to say, I didn't finish it. Since it was so cold we were only able to stay inside for about 45 minutes.

After the Ice Bar we went to another bar and then eventually to a club. Overall I had a great night! It was amusing seeing people react to my crown. It must be an American thing to wear a crown on your birthday because everyone thought I was engaged and was having my bachelorette party!

The night before Olga had made me a special birthday dinner complete with cava (Spanish champagne) and homemade cake. She also gave me a cute little bracelet that I will cherish forever.

Overall it was a fantastic 21st birthday spent in the most amazing country with some pretty spectacular new friends :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013


This weekend we had an excursion to Zaragoza, Spain. It is a very historical town West of Barcelona. We left bright and early friday morning and stayed the night.

On the first day we began our day with a tour through the city of Zaragoza. We toured the most amazing cathedrals but were not allowed to take pictures inside. They were absolutely breathtaking though. Zaragoza like to celebrate Christopher Columbus and was very proud of his accomplishments. They have this interesting fountain that is shaped like South America.

We also toured the Catedral-Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar which is a gigantic cathedral dedicated to the Virgin.

We then crossed the bridge which gave us a beautiful view of the river and the city.

That night we walked around the city center. The night life was not very good in Zaragoza, more of an older crowd. 

Our hotel was very very nice. My favorite part was the little radio I had over my bed. The room had a little speaker so we were able to play music throughout the whole room. It was pretty entertaining.

Look at the beautiful walls!

The following day we woke up bright and early once again and headed to Abu-Jafar's palace. He had an extremely long name, but they called him Abu-Jafar. I remembered his name thanks to Aladdin. The palace was amazing inside!! 
I liked to tell people that this is my summer home.

We then toured the Roman Ruins of the city which were pretty cool. A couple years ago they found an entire Roman theater!

A Roman bath

The theater

Finally we concluded the trip with Chocolate con churros. SO delicious!!

Overall it was a great trip but I don't think I'll be going back to Zaragoza. It was very far away and kind of in the middle of no where. It was really cool to see the gigantic cathedrals and Roman ruins but it was a lot of walking and very very long tours. I definitely learned to appreciate Barcelona and was excited to get back "home".

Happiness hit her like a train on a track

Hola friends!

It was difficult for me to update this week because we were very busy and then we had a weekend excursion to Zaragoza. On Wednesday we had a little tour of the Arc de Triomf, The Parc de la Ciutadella, and the Born neighborhood.

Yes, Barcelona has it's own Arc de Triomf. It is unrelated to the one in Paris; it celebrates Barcelona's own triumphs. Also, I learned that The Eiffel Tower was originally offered to Barcelona but they rejected it because they thought it was ugly!

We then continued into the Parc where we learned that it used to be a military base where the cannons and guns pointed TOWARDS the city of Barcelona because they didn't want to Catalonians to rebel. Now the military base is gone and all but 3 buildings remain. It is now one of the most beautiful parks in Barcelona. It also houses the most beautiful fountain I have ever seen.

There is also a zoo in the park that is very very famous because it used to be the only zoo in the world to have an albino gorilla in captivity. He was very famous; his name was Snowflake. Unfortunately he died about 6 years ago.
Snowflake -what a stud!

Here are some amusing things I have stumbled across in my travels so far:
Spanish Red bull -still just as unhealthy in Spanish 
Its easier and more common to drink these GIANT water bottles. The one of the left is  the normal size of water. Restaurants also make you pay for water because they give it to you out of a bottle. Sometimes its even cheaper to get soda.
This one's for Jeff!
There are random "pet stores" where the turtles eat pickles.
The wild parrots that make a lot of noise.
Barcelona is ALL about the ham. Ham flavored everything.  Every market has these lovely pig legs hanging in them.
Everyone has a dog. Dogs are an accessory in this town. They are often times unleashed and just follow their owner around town.
Pigeons like to land on monuments. 
Roman ruins everywhere. This market is closed because they were renovating it and  stumbled across and entire abandoned Roman city under it. No big deal... 
There are A LOT of pigeons. People like to feed them...
There are random pet stores on the street that sell bunnies, guinea pigs, turtles and birds.
So far I've seen Burger King, McDonalds, Subway, KFC and Dominos
Restaurants love to play old school American music videos. As in 90's and before. This  one is "Oops I did it again"!
Barcelona is all about cleanliness. Every night they sweep and wash the streets.
There are more mopeds and motorcycles than cars. I liked this one ;)
A lot of people smoke here. They have cigarette vending machines.

If you don't have a dog, then you probably have a baby. And you probably  push it around in this strange sleeping bag contraption.
This week I feel more like a local. I've given people directions, I've successfully asked for directions in Spanish. I know how to get to and from places. I'm so happy to be here and have this experience. Every day I think to myself, I'm so happy to be here!!