Barcelona, Spain – Day 1

June 24 – 25, 2015


Hello again! On Wednesday, June 24, at 1:50 PM I left SFO to head to Barcelona, Spain! I am studying abroad in Barcelona for four weeks (although you could hardly call it studying). I will be taking a Spanish language course and a course on “Contemporary Spain: History and Culture” and earning 9 credits toward my general education units  – that, let’s be honest, I don’t really need to do… But I think that I have the experience of a lifetime in store for me, here in Spain and in Europe.

Down and dirty details: study abroad with CEA, an affiliate study abroad program, for four weeks in Barcelona, Spain. It’s not an immersion program, so I am staying with five other girls my age from different colleges (two are from Cal Poly!) and we have a really cute apartment in the L’Eixample District for the duration of the program. I  have my own bedroom and there is a kitchen, two bathrooms, a living room and dining room, laundry machines, and a really cute little balcony.

View from our balcony
Our living room

At the end of the progam, my younger brother, Harrison is flying out to meet me and we are going to travel around Europe from July 25th to August 9th staying in hostels and doing some “sibling bonding” as mom calls it. We are planning on going from Barcelona to Ibiza then to Rome and Florence and Venice then to Nice then to Paris and finishing in Amsterdam where we are going to be flying home from. It should be really exciting and I can’t wait to see how it goes!

But of course like all great adventures abroad, my trip began with the inevitable hassle of a long and painful flight. The first leg was 10 hours and didn’t go as planned from the get-go. I arrived at the airport and checked in only to be told that they had closed my gate and that I might not be able to make it on! After finding out that I just needed to hurry, I ran to security, hurried through and ran to my gate only to find that they hadn’t even begun to board yet? Then I settled in and was looking forward to taking advantage of the individual inflight entertainment system. I lucked out and had a window seat and the couple sitting next to me was good company. After the flight took off the man pulled out a small brown Ace Hardware bag (how funny is that?!)  full of chocolate chip cookies and I couldn’t believe the irony haha. Then I started to watch The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and I was really looking forward to it, along with some of the other new releases available in-flight, but only 30 minutes in the Captain announced they had to restart the system because some passengers weren’t functioning. Unfortunately from me for the remaining 9.5 hours of the flight my in-flight entertainment system didn’t work anymore from this point on and it became a long painful flight. Luckily, I had some GMAT study aides (EW) and my Kindle with me, but you can only read for so long… They ended up giving us a voucher for $25 off a ticket, but that did not help the experience.

10 hour flight from SFO to AMS
SF from the plane
Amsterdam from the plane
Windmills in the water from the plane window before landing in AMS

We landed a little late in Amsterdam and it took a long time to unload the plane (a 747!) so I had to run again through the terminal to customs and then to my gate to make my connection to Barcelona. Unfortunately after running to my gate, I got there only to find out that it was moved to a different gate because the original plane had technical problems. More running later I finally made it to my gate dripping in sweat and exhausted and boarded for another two hour flight.

Finally, I landed in Barcelona at 12:30 in the afternoon and found my lime green suitcase (THANK GOODNESS) and then met up with a CEA representative to be transported to my apartment!

Apparently, all of the study abroad students in the program live in different districts which is unfortunate. But that is a cultural difference between Spain and the US. College students live amongst the elderly and families in the city and commute a long ways to classes on foot or by metro instead of living in central/specific housing. When I got to my apartment another CEA representative met me with my keys (that look like something from the 1600s and cost a mere 200 euros to replace!!) and showed me around the apartment. I was the fourth to arrive and all of my other roommates were already passed out so I began unpacking and then a short while later the last two arrived from their European travels.


We had a very low-key day and didn’t do much until dinner time. For dinner we went to a little restaurant down the street called Casa Jaime and ordered a pitcher of Sangria and got to know each other a little better.

Sangria at Casa Jaime

After dinner we got ready for the evening and then we met up with some other friends at a bar where you pay 3 euros and then you get to pour your own drink (as strong or as weak as you like). This was a really fun place full of lots of people our age and a lot of study abroad students in particular. After that we walked to another club, but it was only around 2 am and nothing really starts happening in Barcelona until after 2 so it was pretty dead and we were feeling the jet lag so my roommates and I grabbed a couple cabs and headed back to the apartment for the night. Especially because we had orientation at 10:00 the next morning!

All in all, a promising beginning!

Keep following along with me here, I’ll put up blogs when I can! Jet lag and the 9 hour time difference have been a little bit of an adjustment! haha 😉

xoxo J