Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nice to be Home

Well as you probably could have seen from my long-term absence, I have arrived back in the United States. My travels past me, I am settling back into my cozy life in New Jersey, enjoying a good dose of rest and relaxation. It is always nice to travel, but it is quite nice to come home, as well. With my travels in Barcelona, Ibiza, Paris, Geneva, Interlaken, Milan, Athens and Rhodes fresh in my mind, there are two things that I miss most about Europe.
One is, of course, quite predictable for me- the fashion. I miss the European attire that even the most seemingly disinterested sported. I miss how almost everyone seemed to take some interest in dressing themselves in the morning, even if they seemed to only be stepping into the market or Monoprix in Paris or for gelato in Milan.
My Best Friend, Syra, and I at the Louvre in Paris, France
The second thing I miss is the food. When I first arrived in Barcelona, I was excited by the ubiquitous presence of pork and beef and fresh vegetables and bright fruit. It was odd to me to see small markets, selling tiny amounts of vegetables and fruit as compared to the large supermarkets in the States. But the produce was bathed with bright skin, and I remarked many times how juicy the typical produce in the markets in Europe resembled the produce found in the organic section of my supermarket. Barca made me love lunch- as odd as that sounds, as I found it to be the biggest meal. Perhaps I most loved a good sandwich with pork meat and juicy green peppers followed by Crema Catalana (flan) or Profiteroles.
Yet another meal of Croque Monsieur

But as I continued my travels, my expectations were only surpassed with new delights. Paris offered escargot (Snails with a wonderful pesto seasoning), and croque monsieur (open faced sandwiches with cheese and ham) and crepes, eclairs, tarts or macaroons to tickle my sweet tooth after just about every meal.
Geneva and Interlaken stuffed me with sausages, fondue and chocolate. Amidst the scenic landscape of Switzerland, I even discovered my now favorite morning meal, Bircher- Museli, a sort of cold oatmeal with pieces of fruit that pairs delightfully with yogurt that has converted me to a breakfast lover.
Oh, and then there was Milan! Pasta, Gelato, Meat, Cheese. Oh, god.
On Top of Tibidabo (Mountain Overlooking Barcelona)
Sampling local candies in Paris, France
Athens and Rhodes made me more adventurous. I'll be honest- I'm not exactly the most willing when it comes to trying new foods, but Athens and Rhodes inspired me to try Grape Leaves, Moussaka and I was even to fit in my old favorite- Greek Salad before just about every meal. And just about all of it I combined with Tzatziki sauce.
Athens was rather interesting because their was a cab strike just about the entire time I was there, so getting around proved to be a bit difficult. However, it did not stop my enjoyment of the city and my group rented out buses to get to the Acropolis and Plaka, a section of Athens with small shops and plenty of restaurants.
I really did enjoy my trip and am extremely thankful for the wonderful experiences I had throughout the entire month. Every day I managed to do so much (most likely because I averaged about four hours of sleep a night throughout the entire month) that although the trip was technically only a month, it felt much longer.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bye Barcelona!

So I said goodbye to Barcelona and went on my way to Paris. Despite both countries being in the European Union, the change between the two countries is so amazingly apparent. The cultures are surprisingly drastically different and it can most certainly be seen through the people, attitudes, values and ambiance of the cultures.

Barcelona is extremely open and welcoming. I tried to reflect the easy-going ambiance of Barca with my clothing and choose to wear a flowy maxi dress on my last day in Barca. I paired my Madewell Maxi dress with a skinny braided belt as it was a little big. Barcelona really lent itself to wedges and flipflops- I felt like I lived in my Lucky Wedges! I paired them with flowy hair and beckoned Barca goodbye.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Last Tuesday I boarded my flight to Barcelona, and landed safely Wednesday morning lacking sleep but making up for it with a great amount of excitement. The plane ride was an overnight flight so I tried to keep occupied with The Picture of Dorian Gray and my best friend, Syra, by my side. Unfortunately, we had a lay over in Switzerland, but we made the best of it was an early breakfast- a cup of coffee (which was 8 Euros...literally!) and Muesli (for those of you who do not know, it is most similar to cold oatmeal). After our four hour layover, we took a quick flight from Geneva, Switzerland to Barcelona, Spain.

Although I was extremely jet lagged, the program I am on required a four hour orientation where I heard a little bit about the itinerary for the next few days. I am enrolled in two classes with my program, International Business and Financial Accounting, which are both going quite well as I have had my second day of class. Every morning we have class from 9 to 1:30 and then fill our days with touring, shopping, eating and sampling the night life. So far, I have visited La Rambla and toured the streets and shops. Above is a picture of a market in La Rambla with all of the little trinkets and different foods. Candy is certainly ubiqutous in Barcelona as everywhere my group tours there seems to be bundles of sweets that taste delightfully sweet.