This past week my Mom came to visit! We had a really great time together, although it went way to fast. Unfortunately Dad wasn’t able to come, he wants to wait until July so it will be nice and hot.
Mom’s visit began with a few small roadblocks, but soon turned around and was great. We were staying in a really nice neighborhood of Madrid, close to the Park Retiro, which was great to walk around in the mornings. Luckily the weather was really nice in Madrid, a very nice change from April in Wisconsin. Most of our time was spent with me showing her my favorite parts of the city. The first night we went for tapas at Mercado de San Miguel, which is one of my favorite tapas “bars”. It has a great atmosphere, and because it’s a market there is a huge selection, allowing you to try a bit of everything – perfect for first timers. ;)
|Now that's some ham.|
The next day, unfortunately I had to go to class, leaving Mom to walk around the city a bit alone and attempt to go to the Reina Sofia museum. When I got back from class walked around the city more and went out for Mom’s first real Spanish Paella – and of course more sangria.
|She really liked these trees.|
We decided to take the tourist bus to see the rest of the city. It sounds cheesy but it’s actually really fun. You can get on and off as many times as you want, and get to see a lot of the city in a short amount of time. We saw my favorite streets, plazas, buildings, and parks in the city. It was great to be able to show my Mom where I have been living for the past 8 months, a big change from a city of 5,000 to 3 million.
On our last day in Madrid, I took Mom to Villa to show her my university, and introduce her to my host family. I had class in the morning, and then we walked around the university and the city a bit before “the introduction/visit”. It was…interesting. Difficult for me, because I am the only person who can translate, and when they are all wanting me to tell someone else something…its gets really confusing. They definitely pulled out all the stops for making my Mom lunch - it was quite the ordeal. My host mom made a bit of all of my favorite Spanish foods, and they were not wearing PJ's! After lunch I packed my things and we were off to Barcelona.
|My host mom made Paella - yumm!|
The next morning we took the train to Barcelona for an exciting weekend in one of my favorite cities in the world. Barcelona is one of those cities that you just have to see to realize its incredible beauty. I have never been to a city quite like it; beaches, mountains, and crazy architecture – very cool. It was great to get a chance to go back to Barcelona – it was the first trip I took back in September when I arrived here in Spain. Seeing things twice – and things I never got to see last time was really fun. When we arrived we made our way to our hotel and then set out for some quick sightseeing and lunch. We had tickets to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s cathedral, which is by far the most amazing church I have ever been into. It literally takes your breath away when you enter. It is still under construction, and has been for the past 128 years, and was cool to see the changes since the last time I was there. We spent a good 2 hours in there, and then made our way back to the hotel, which what just 1 block away, to meet Chris who came in from London to spend the weekend with us!
|that is one impressive church.|
When Chris arrived we decided that we would go again to the Sagrada Familia with her so that she could see it and not have to go alone. It was still impressive. That night we wanted to go for Paella. We had a recommendation for a restaurant on the beach with, “the best Paella in all of Cataluña” – it did not disappoint. After a walk along the beach with some ice cream, we were ready to head back to the hotel in preparation for the next day.
|you gunna eat all that Chris?|
We spent the next day walking around the city, down the famous streets, shopping at street markets and shops, and visiting Park Güell. It was great weather, although cooler than Madrid…so not great beach weather. :/
That night we attempted to go to the light show at the Magic Fountain. Apparently the show only goes until 9pm…we arrived at 9:10. Oh well, now we have something to go back for! We also discovered the terrace at our hotel that night. We went up there and holy man! The view was AMAZING!!! The Sagrada Familia was literally right in front of us! We decided it would be the perfect place for breakfast the next morning.
|that view does not suck - the breakfast didn't either ;)|
To make good on our morning plan, I ran to the bakery to pick up some breakfast – and we took it to the rooftop terrace for some amazing morning views and coffee. After spending a couple hours on the rooftop we decided that we should probably get out and enjoy our last day in Barcelona. We decided to spend our last day at the beach and exploring the old fisherman’s wharf. We walked along the extremely windy beach, put our feet in the freezing cold water, and ate what else – but seafood! It was good food, although we had what has to be the world’s rudest waiter. I was shocked at how we were treated by him – we almost skipped lunch and just left with our drinks. Although I am glad we stayed because we tried black rice, which is NOT paella, as the waiter so kindly told us, but for those of us who are not Spanish – its basically paella dyed black with squid ink. Very fishy – but fitting for our last night in Barcelona. That evening Chris went back to London and left my mom and I for one last night together before we parted ways until August.
I had a really good time with Mom and loved being able to show her around where I have been living and what I have been doing since September. (I think) She had a great time as well, but as my Dad says, “Is there anywhere in Europe she doesn’t like?” I guess we will have to travel more to find out. ;)
Now it is Holy Week…doesn’t sound quite as fun as Spring Break does it? I am off to Alicante with my host parents to spend the week in their “beach” house…and its supposed to rain the entire time. Oh boy. Wish me luck.