One of my favorite things about this program is that we get refunded for any travel in Spain, cultural activities, and extracurricular activities. This allows low-income students like me to really live a study abroad experience with fewer setbacks. More specifically it allowed me to have one of the most beautiful weekends of my life in Barcelona.
My friends and I booked an AirBnb 1 hour away from Barcelona in a town called Sitges. I won’t lie, at first we tried to use public transportation to get from the airport to Sitges and it did not work out. But in the way we found a beautiful highway bridge and were able to take an uber from the wrong address to the right one. That ride through the curves on the side of a mountain facing the sea. Afterwards, we explored the area and found our nearby beach as well as an awesome burger place.
The next day we visited the Parc Guell, the free parts, where we appreciated columns among the trees made of stone designed by Antoni Gaudi.
As we learned Gaudi was very much inspired by nature. One of his signature styles can be seen in both the church and the columns at the park, leaning columns. These actually work better at supporting big structures. These park columns were also made to match the plants that would be placed above them. Going here was truly a magical place. Then we visited one of Gaudi’s most famous works, La Basilica Familia Sagrada, with a guided tour. This church was like no other, completely majestic. Personally, I have fallen in love and I’m completely obsessed with the history and intricacies of this place. It has been in construction for 137 years and it is now on its 9th architect. Gaudi was its second architect just a year after construction started and remade the 1 tower design to now have 18 towers. Gaudi’s plan is to dedicate this church to the Holy family and the aspires will be represented in ascending order of height the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists and tallest of all, Jesus Christ. Next to the church, there’s a museum dedicated to the construction and Gaudi’s works and plans and it describes how Gaudi was not only an architect but also a senior engineer, decorative designer, and acoustic designer of the church. He designed a balcony inside the church at the perfect height of the church to create what we today know as a surround sound system for a choir of 1000 singers. If you ever visit, there is so much more to learn about this beautiful place and Gaudi’s genius. I urge you all to really come for a guided tour to see one of the wonders of the world. I will definitely be keeping tabs on it as the 6 missing towers are to be finished by 2026.
That night back we enjoyed delicious paella and churros and ice cream dessert in Sitges. And although it isn’t nearly as warm as we’d like it to be, we took a stroll on the beach at night near our apartment. The next day before the airport we made sure to grab a bite at the oldest taperia in Sitges where I had the most delicious flauta yet, burrata tomatoes and arugula, simply delicious. It was truly a perfect weekend and I hope you visit too at my recommendation.
Mayeline Peña, student blogger primavera 2020