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Montpetravels: Barcelona – Ibiza – Rome

Confession: my last post was much shorter than I intended because the hostel wi-fi crapped out and deleted everything I wrote about Barcelona so I went to sleep instead of redoing it. Good thing I took notes though, right? Ha. Ha ha. None of that. I will try again though for the sake of documentation.

Barcelona
It’s all a little fuzzy and it’s only been two weeks since I was actually there. So much has happened since then! Anyway. Our flight from Paris was suuuper early, but at least we gave ourselves enough time to get to the airport, unlike London. As soon as we checked into our hostel we passed out for a bit then met Jacob at the beach for paella and walking around. Note to the general audience: if you’re going to order paella, don’t wimp out and order vegetable paella. Because they will give you a freezer bag of peas and cubed carrots thrown on top of a bed of rice. Anyone who has ever eaten a school meal knows what I’m talking about. Go ahead and get the seafood one (unless you’re vegetarian) because you’re in Barcelona and it’s way better. After dinner we walked around some and got gelato, where we watched the tragic scene of a little girl dropping her scoop on the floor. The angriest five-year-old I ever did see. She wasn’t even crying or yelling; she was just standing in the gelato shop like a statue with her face fixed in such a horrible angry expression. It took everything in us not to laugh. After gelato we walked around La Rambla, Barcelona’s main tourist strip with restaurants and gift shops. It’s under a canopy of huge trees and was beautiful, albeit crowded, at dusk.
We spent three days total in Barcelona, and the last two somewhat blend together, but I really enjoyed them. Highlights include meeting another UNC graduate at our hostel, going to Parc Guell, el mercat for jamon and fresh fruit, la Sagrada Familia, and churros and chocolate. Parc Guell is so beautiful and I would love to go back to spend a whole day there. It’s like a giant playground. Gaudi designed it, and it’s full of intricate mosaics and beautiful structures interwoven with the natural beauty of the location. It’s situated at a looking point over Barcelona, so from one of its high points you have a great view of the ocean and the city. It was one of those “and in that moment I swear we were infinite” experiences. (So shoot me for being cheesy. I loved it.)
Another thing about going from France to Spain: it confuses your brain. I took French for ten years in middle school, high school and college. At one point I was comfortably fluent, and have unfortunately since let it decline since then, however it came back in the couple of days in Paris. I also took two semesters of accelerated beginner spanish (equivalent to 101, 102, 203 and 204 at UNC) during college and became beginner’s proficient. Enough to get myself around and have basic conversations. Knowing French already made learning Spanish easy, however, it made switching languages during this trip hard. Because the two Romance languages are so similar, I found myself using two languages in one sentence so many times. “La cuenta s’il vous plait.” “Donde estan les toilettes?” The mixing struggles went away after a couple of days but the beginning was definitely rocky.

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Ibiza
Welp the internet did that “delete a section of your blog post” thing again for Ibiza. Sorry, Ibiza. WordPress just isn’t your biggest fan. But at least you aren’t alone. Barcelona understands. Anyway, Ibiza was really nice. I was a great place to lay low and recover from a few really big, busy cities and prepare for Admerica. Michelle and I spent our time wandering the island, trying a restaurant here or cafe there. We wandered down to the docks and beach a couple of times, which were beautiful. I wasn’t able to find a local landromat, so I did my laundry in the bathtub. Funny how professionalism and smelling musty/having wrinkled clothes don’t equate. I loved Ibiza and would go back in a heartbeat! Well, this is true for everywhere we visited. But it was great!
Quick note to all travelers: it’s better if your passport is with you when you go to the airport. You will have a moment of panic at the airport checking in, realizing that your passport is still at the hotel. You’ll have to run back, hoping it hasn’t been lost since you checked out. If you’re lucky like we were though, you’ll be able to go to the hotel and back and still be on time for your flight. (After missing our flight from London Luton we gave ourselves pleeeeeeeenty of time for every subsequent flight.) You would think that after I set my passport on the table by the door and thought to myself “Do not leave this. It will be right here,” I wouldn’t leave it, but I did. Hm. It all worked out though.

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Rome
I’ve been wanting to go to Rome for a couple of years, ever since I completed my Classical Archeology class at UNC. It just boggles my mind how many layers of history and civilization are in such a small area. I had less than 24 hours in the city before heading back to the states for ADMERICA, so we had to make the most of it. We checked into our hotel
and did a quick run around our area of the city, which was near the Piazza Republica and a bunch of really cool ruins. Of course, we had pizza and pasta, because Italy. I loved, loved, loved Rome. left wishing I had more time in the city, but was excited for Boca regardless!

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Next up, Rome (post-Boca), Athens and Dublin. Also, a post dedicated entirely to ADMERICA!

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