It’s been a little over a month since I arrived in Madrid, and my time here has been nothing short of amazing. I have had the opportunity to see about 6 cities here so far on trips through NYU and traveling with friends.
The first week we got here, NYU took us on a day trip to Segovia. We started off by seeing a Roman aqueduct from the first century. Through it has been secured over time, the aqueduct still was made up of the original stones the Romans used to make it. NYU professors also showed us around the charming city and took us to the Catedral de Segovia. It was a gorgeous gothic-style building with stained glass all around the cathedral and rows upon rows of pews. For lunch, I tried out a regional dish called fabada asturiana, which is a delicious stew made of white beans and chorizo. The city was a look into how the older Spanish cities were, as compared to more modern cities like Barcelona and Madrid.
A few weekends later, my friends and I decided to take a trip to Barcelona before the weather cooled down, though that still hasn’t happened. We took a bus at 11:30 at night on Thursday and reached Barcelona at 7:30 in the morning on Friday. Though we were exhausted, we dropped our bags off at the hostel and started exploring the city. Our hostel was centrally located near the high-end shopping, so could conveniently walk most places. We started by seeing the Arc de Triomf and made our way to the Parc de la Ciutadella, which was absolutely gorgeous. There were several greenhouses with trees and flowers and a large lake with row boats. We kept going and found la Cascada Monumental, which was a huge and breathtaking fountain. We then passed through a neighborhood called La Ribera with super cute shops and restaurants to get brunch at a fabulous restaurant called Brunch and Cake. With its name, I couldn’t resist ordering a huge slice of red velvet for dessert! We then split up and a few of us made our way to Park Guell, which is an elevated park and has full views of the city and coast. We chose to keep hiking up even after the park ended and had 360 views of the entire Barcelona. The next day, it was raining, so I went to the Picasso Museum and then made my way to la Familia Sagrada. We went and got tapas for dinner afterwards. We had to take the bus back Sunday afternoon, so we spent time lounging on the beach that morning and hopped on the bus. Barcelona was definitely more touristy than Madrid, but I loved that it was right on the beach and had a very relaxing vibe.
The next weekend, I went to Bilbao on an overnight trip with NYU. We took the bus on Friday, got lunch, and went on a walking tour of the city. It’s not a very large city, but it’s continuing to grow as more people move to Northern Spain. We walked over to the Guggenheim Museum, which was designed by Frank Geary. It’s a very interesting building with a roof that looks like it’s made of silver waves. There were a lot of great sculptures and exhibits there as well, and we all enjoyed looking around. On Saturday, NYU took us to a winery for a tour and wine tasting. Our tour guide took us through the complete process of making the wine, from crushing the grapes to seeing the towers of bottle waiting to be labeled. The winery also had a great view of surrounding towns, including Laguardia, in which we ate lunch. The winery also had a hotel designed by Frank Geary that resembled the Guggenheim in Bilbao but was purple to represent the surrounding wineries. The drive back was gorgeous, since we could see the landscape changing from the mountainous surroundings in the North to the dessert climate near Madrid.
Classes here have been really nice, since they’re all relatively small in size. I’m taking Spanish every day, so I have been able to see the continuous improvement in my grammar and vocabulary, and I’ve even been having conversations with locals in Spanish! I’m also taking a politics class about Spain and the EU, and I’m enjoying learning more about the EU and its role in international politics. In terms of Stern classes, I’m taking Intro to Marketing and Foundations of Finance, both of which I’m enjoying a lot.
So far, I’ve been really enjoying my time abroad and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the semester will go!