I promise I’m not much of a jetsetter but in the span of 3 days I took a total of 5 flights. Because of a family vacation I took a nauseating 2 hour car ride from Cayafate to Salta Argentina, flew from there to Buenos Aires where I then stopped in Miami to catch my connecting flight to Washington DC. I was home for less than 36 hours before taking a flight from BWI to Toronto and then from Toronto to (at last) Barcelona.
Needless to say I was absolutely drained when I arrived Monday morning. Regardless, my friend from school at VCU and her mother and sister greeted me at the apartment and allowed me no time to wallow in my jet lag. After a quick tour of the apartment we headed straight for the unfamiliar streets to go sightseeing.
The sights of a new city charmed me, and each small corner store with its shelves of foreign products dazzled me, despite how drab it might appear to the native eye. On the streets I was greeted by the first thing I noticed about my new culture, the bit brash attitude of Spaniards in public places. There were no “sorry”s when someone bumped into me, but all this was forgotten with the delicious warm smell of small bakeries on the street. Which brings me to number two: the King Cakes. I arrived in Barcelona just two days before Dia de Los Reyes. A round cake topped with glacier, cherries, and sugar filled every bakery shop window and café and countless pedestrians could be seen carrying them in boxes.
As we carried out our shopping we used number 3: the very clean metro to get to a section of the city with more shopping called Las Ramblas, but it seems that number 4: mopeds seem to also be a very popular form of transportation.
I have always loved fashion so as I scanned the stores and fell in love with the European cuts and styles, I simultaneously scanned the streets and fell in love with the street style. I noticed number 5: duster-styled wool coats. So long embarrassing puffers. And number 6: Spaniards love trendy sneakers. These aren’t your gym class sneakers though. I saw only the trendiest flatforms, collections of Stan Smiths, and pristine Nikes. I continue to drool over the effortless cool Spanish street style and catch myself wondering how American I look.
Amidst the stores we passed an exhausting amount of restaurants offering tapas and paella (numbers 7 and 8) and café’s that offered churros con chocolate (number 9). Churros con chocolate I have yet to try but I have full faith that my strong chocolate cravings will lead me there by the end of this week.
After the shopping and excitement of my fresh arrival, my body caught up with me and decided it didn’t love all the wear and tear. I caught a cold somewhere between Argentina and Barcelona, giving me a rude awakening to lastly number 10: the lack of strong indoor heating.
Talia is a current student at Virginia Commonwealth University studying at Elisava Barcelona School of Design and Engineering in Spain during the Spring 2016 term.