Sunday, January 9, 2011

Winter break is officially over.

I’m writting this while sitting at the airport waiting for my flight back to Brussels (I'll post it after I return to Leuven, where I don't have to pay for the 'net). It was a great three weeks off! I’m sure your just itching to hear about my experiences and I’m itching to tell you. I’ll start with my most recent adventures since it’s the most fresh in my mind…

If you’re not familiar with the weather in Belgium for the winter months let me shed some “light”. It’s either: cloudy, partly cloudy, overcast, with rain or snow but always grey. Are you surprised that my only requirement for winter break was to find the SUN?! I found it in Barcalona.

One of my friends, Jill, came over from the USA and we spent 8-long days in Barcelona. That is just the right time to enjoy the city, see everything you want and still feel like you had a relaxing vacation. After 4 months of classes, I needed some R&R. We had a great time. We walked around the city visiting museums, churches and parks. I didn’t realize that Barca was home to so many artists, we found: Picasso, Gaudi, Dali, and Degas to name a few.  Good thing we weren't allowed to take pics inside many of these museums, since my blog is rated G for all audiences.

Me & Jill, 2 Americans outside the royal palace where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella greeted Columbus after he returned from discovering the new world (aka. America).

With days filled of visiting museums we needed a little different break in our culture so we went to a FC Barcelona football game (soccer). The Barca stadium is the 3rd largest in the world seating almost 99,000 fans. It was impressive but also surprising to find out that there is no alcohol served inside. It’s so common back in Minnesota to have a beer at the Vikings or Twins games – but not there. After a second thought, it’s probably a good idea that 99,000 fans don't have access to liquor. We can only guess what that much excitment fueled by mood-enhancing beverages would look like.

Those dots are people...not ants!

During our 8 days, we also took 2 day trips, the first time one was to visit Monserrat – a monestary on top a huge mountain that Rick Steve’s recommends*. We took a cable car up to the Monestary and from there a funicular up to the (almost) top of the mountain. We spent the good part of a day up there walking around, looking at the views and talking. It was breathtaking – the views and the heights!

*If you don’t know I’m a huge fan of the Rick Steve’s travel books. He’s never steered me wrong and if you’re travelling soon I highly recommend picking up one of his books.

The monestary is on the left, and I'm on the right. 

Our second day trip was going to be visiting Figures and Cadaques to see the Dali museum and home. We made it to Figures but lost our way back to the bus station and missed the bus to Cadaques. Since that was going to be our chance to visit the Mediterranean Sea, we decided to head back to Barca and find the beaches there. And boy did we find the beaches, it was long and lovely, the water was cold and salty, and we had a great time.
If you're counting...since arriving in August, I’ve visited 6 countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, & Spain) and touched 2 seas (North & Mediterranean). Taking the whole of Europe, I know that’s not that impressive but I’m optimistic these next 8+ months I’ll be able to multiply those numbers. Besides all the places to visit, I’ve got friends I want to visit. So if you’re out there reading this – be warned. I’ll find you yet! :)

Take care and see you soon!

PS - To see all my pics from Spain, click on any of the pics above or the address below:

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