I was pretty excited to be on vacation once finals finished. My roommate and I had planned to spend a few nights in Madrid before each flying out. We packed up and left early in the morning and hopped on the 5 hour bus ride to the capital. It was really nice to be able to spend some time together before taking off. We visited the Prado Museum that holds a lot of artwork of very famous spanish painters such as Goya and Velazquez. We visited a christmas market and walked around in plazas packed with people. We even got to visit the royal palace! Madrid seemed like a busy city with a lot going on. I wish I had been able to spend a few more days there to really take it all in but unfortunately that'll have to wait till next time!
I visited the famous city of Barcelona during the spring of my year abroad. My mother and sister flew out to meet me for my spring break which was amazing. We spent the few days we had there walking around a lot and seeing the sights.
Our first stop was Parque Güell, which was designed by Gaudí in the early 1900's.It is a really interesting place to walk around and the combination of history, architecture, and art is insane. If you're going to Barcelona I would definitely recommend checking it out, but make sure to get there early because it gets pretty busy during the day. We didn't buy tickets into the limited places of the park, but next trip I definitely would. The next place we went that makes my list of favorite places in Barcelona is La Boqueria. It is essentially a big market with hundreds of tiny shops. You walk through it for hours if you want and purchase any thing from fried cod balls and cured meats, to vegetarian pies and sushi. They have just about anything you could imagine! In the end we only had three days in Barcelona and it was no where near enough the see the entire city, but I had to get back to Granada in time for classes.
A few tips if you're planning on visiting:
1. Take advantage of the awesome public transportation system - It'll save you money and can always be an adventure.
2. Read up on the city a little bit before you go -The locals speak Catalan which is a different language from Spanish, and English is not widely spoken, so you should know some background information of what you want to do.
3. Tripadvisor! - Definitely a great tool if you are unsure of where to go eat or what to go see besides the obvious touristy things. It was definitely a big help in finding some of our favorite restaurants.