Prior to beginning my course (European schools begin classes in October vs. September in North America) I decided to take a whirlwind tour of Europe for a month. It was fantastic. In one shot, I visited cities across Italy, Switzerland, Spain, France, England, Holland, and Germany. Later, during my studies at St. Gallen I also visited Luxembourg and Austria.
Welcome to Spain!
August 2005: Attend my best friend's wedding in Barcelona
With great memories of my previous too-short stay in Barcelona in 1998, I was excited for another opportunity to experience this wonderful city with my best friend (now a bona fide local) and help her arrange the final details for her marriage to Jordi, a wonderful Catalan man. And Barcelona surpassed my expectations for all the wonderful things it offered, leaving me yet again eager to return soon to this fantastic metropolis.
Fall 1998: European Tour (1 mnth) & Study Exchange in Switzerland (3 mths)
Upon returning from Japan for my first trip outside of North America and mid-way through my studies at university, I realized that I desperately wanted to go on a study exchange in Europe.
Luckily, Ivey, my business school, offered such a program and ultimately allowed me to visit the school of my choice -- Sanct Gallen Universitat, in St. Gallen, Switzerland, which featured a program on European Business. I was ecstatic!
CITY VISITED IN SPAIN: Barcelona.
TOP THINGS TO DO/SEE IN SPAIN
- See wonderful Gaudi architecture: Casa Mila / La Pedrera, his museums, Parc Gruel, and Sagrada Familia Cathedral.
- La Rambla is the main street for strolling, buskers, and nightlife.
- There is a large fortress in Barcelona which include an extensive historic military museum -- worth a look.
- Barcelona's Cathedrale.
- Olympic grounds are pretty boring, but is good for a semi-interesting 2-3 hr walk
- TIP: Buy a tourist 1 or 2 day bus pass. It will drop you in front of most attractions for a one-time fixed fee.
BEST MEMORIES FROM SPAIN
- Seeing larger-than-life sized cacti along our way to the Olympic Park.
- Hearing one of my favourite acid jazz songs next in a cool spanish club called Universad.
- Going to a little mom and pop resto and trying to order in spanish. Eventually, I pointed at something that looked interesting. Pop went over to the cooking area, which was in plain sight to all and lifted and pointed to a squid -- I was ecstatic! And it was delicious!
- Going to my best friend's wedding and seeing all the interesting catalan wedding rituals (napkin twirling, bride and groom are last to the leave the church after the ceremony, cigarette pack on each dining table at the reception, etc).
FAVOURITE FOODS / DRINKS IN SPAIN
- Paella Negra (Paella, a rice and seafood dish. Negra is made with squid ink)
- Tapas! (dimsum, spanish style!)
- Gaspacho soup -- cold tomato and vegetable puree soup. Great on a hot day!
Gaudi Architecture (45)
Catalan Living (18)
WHAT ELSE WOULD I DO IN SPAIN?
- Experience more of the nightlife and cafes in Barcelona.
- See the Salvador Dali Museum just outside of Barcelona.
- See the running of the bulls in Spain, Pamplona.
- Participate in the Tomato throwing festival in August