I haven’t been able to post in a while because I have been so busy lately between my classes coming to an end and trying to make every last day count here. In Spain the majority of your presentations/projects/papers are due at the end of the semester. One thing I forgot to mention is that I rode a camel in Morocco and before I left for spring break, my program gave us a cooking class on traditional Catalan cooking consisting of Paella, Catalan cream, bread with tomato and soup.
Spring break was quite an adventure!! Liverpool, London, Malta/Gozo, and Italy (Bologna, Rome, and Milan)..
Liverpool was definitely a destination that I can now check off of my non-existent list of places to go before I die. As a Beatles fan, I always talked about someday going there and seeing Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane, but I didn’t think I would actually ever go. It was one of those things you would always talk about but never do. But RyanAir made it possible with a 15 Euro flight there! Upon arrival into Liverpool, the other side really is cold and damp according to Ringo Starr’s song, “The Other Side of Liverpool”. It ‘s littered with factories and nuclear power plants. However, the nice side of Liverpool, across the water, was a great U.K. city.
I met my friend Nick Card an IU student studying in the U.K. at Canturberry who is also an avid Beatles fan. We went on the Magical Mystery Beatles Bus Tour. It was a retro bus from the 60′s/70′s and took us to popular places such as the home the fab four grew up in and Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields! After the tour we went to The Beatles Story museum which captured their careers and lives before/during/after their careers. They couldn’t have done a better job representing The Beatles for truly what the stood for.
The nightlife in Liverpool was absolutely crazy. Among experiencing in America and all over Europe, Liverpool takes the cake and ice cream too topping it off with the wildest people, young and old just getting intoxicated out of their minds! After listening to a Beatles tribute band at The Cavern, the pub where they started off at it was off to London the next morning! The concert was amazing! They all did a near perfect job of sounding and acting like the Beatles!
I was especially excited to go to London for the second time during my semester abroad. I loved it so much the first time I couldn’t keep myself away. Especially this time with reservations to the world famous restaurant St. Johns! Number one on Anthony Bourdain’s top 13 places to eat before you die. It had to be the most unique best meal I have ever had. My friend and I had roast bone marrow with parsley salad (what they are famous for), rabbit, brill fish and chips (best fish and chips in London), and pigeon which tasted like filet mignon. We also had an appetizer with bread and melted cheeses/sauces on it along with an apple crisp, blood orange sorbet with Polish vodka, and madeleines for dessert. YUM!
We also visited the Victorian-Albert Museum in London after our lunch.
Here is the link to the 13 to-die for restaurants – http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/must-visit-restaurants
I now have been to #1, #12, and #13.
From London it was off to Malta. A tiny tropical island south of Sicily (http://g.co/maps/4grmn). I also visited the tiny island Gozo next to it and my friend Annie was lucky enough to go to the tiniest of the three islands Camino. Some highlights of Malta were that we went mountain biking all over the island gozo, ~15 miles of hilly territory we covered. The food there was tasty also, experiencing some authentic Maltan dishes mostly featuring rabbit as it was their specialty. I also tried a fish pedicure, if you haven’t had one, try it! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_fish) . However, my favorite thing that I did was scuba diving! I dove in a coral reef and it was my first time diving other than surface scuba diving in Disney World. I was underwater for almost an hour and it was one of the coolest things I have ever done. I saw tropical fish, jellyfish, schools of fish, sea urchins, and all different types of coral. I have pictures but I need to get them developed since I took them with a disposable underwater camera. So they will posted in a few weeks! It was then off to my last destination Italy, the finale of my spring break.
Italy by far won the award for country with best food that I have visited abroad. Over a period from Friday-Monday, I visited Bologna, Rome, and Milan! I had a half day in Bologna and used this time to explore the city center and try Italian food in Italy for the first time. After eating my heart out, I caught the train to Rome and stayed at a NICE hostel this time, kudos to my older brother Michael for picking it out and also recommending basically every delicious place I ate at!
Rome was all about the Romans (obviously). I toured the coliseum, and the roman forum and listened to some amazing roman stories about the coliseum and forum. After exploring those areas I went to the Vatican City to check it out on Easter Saturday and loved it so much I decided to go on Easter Sunday, for mass and the popes speech. Going to Rome wasn’t in my original plans but I decided to go there since it’s Rome after all and it was great timing that when I would be there it would also be Easter.
The finale of my spring break was in Milan. This is the city my brother studied abroad in when he was my age. Milan, overall, had the best food out of any city I have been to this far. When I was there, I tried every single typical Italian food/pastry and they were all delicious, especially the pizza. I checked out the city center, Milano Cathedral, and castle while I was there and it was a great place to culminate my vacation within a vacation.
To sum things up, this was the best spring break I have ever had. I am very thankful that I was safe traveling and navigating Europe, especially when I was traveling alone in between destinations. It is good to be back in Barcelona and it is now time to live it up in my remaining weeks here!