imberlykay's Travel Journals


  • 26 years old
  • From Illinois, United States
  • Currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina

My First Trip to Europe: Study Abroad in Barcelona, Spain

I will be writing here for family and friends to follow me, read about my experiences, and view photos that I will be taking while abroad.


Spain Barcelona, Spain  |  Feb 18, 2013
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  • Oporto/Lisboa

 "the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page" -St. Augustine 

So this semester I'm not wasting any time and this past weekend I went with two of my friends to Oporto and Lisboa, Portugal. This trip is probably my favorite trip so far. Not because things worked out perfectly, but because both cities were so beautiful and I traveled with two of the coolest girls I've had the pleasure of knowing here in Barcelona. I met Xiaomeng and Aiqi last semester at UAB and I never really thought we would become close enough to travel, but as it turns out we did and I wouldn't have it any other way. They say that you can tell how strong a relationship between people is when you travel together and I don't think I've ever experienced that in such a good way until now. Another reason why this trip was so great was because although we were in Portugal where Portuguese is spoken, I was able to sort of understand it since it's a tiny bit similar to Spanish. I would speak in Spanish and whoever we were talking to would of course answer in Portuguese, but I was amazed that we were able to hold a conversation although they are different languages. In all of the moments when I conversed with people in Portugal I kept thinking the same thing: it is amazing to travel and see beautiful places, but it is even more amazing to be able to converse and understand a person of a different culture and language no matter how you do it. The very act of trying to learn from someone of a different culture and different language is probably the most fulfilling thing I've done in life. In my room I have a quote written on my mirror that says "the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page" (St. Augustine). This quote could not be more true, and I'm so incredibly happy that studying abroad and backpacking Europe has been and continues to be a chapter in my life.

Friday morning we landed in Oporto and found our way to the hostel, settled in for a bit, and then hit the town. We ate at the famous Majestic Café, then headed towards all of the sites that we wanted to see. These included Torre dos Clérigos, Livraria Lello (library used in Harry Potter), and greja Santo Ildefonso. In between two sites we also did a wine tasting which was definitely a tourist trap but the wine was pretty good and I knew that I had to try it. On Saturday we took a bus to Lisboa, which was about three and a half hours from Oporto. We arrived around six and settled into our hotel, then ate at a restaurant called "The Great American Disaster". To my surprise the food was really good and the chocolate milkshake was definitely the best I've had in Europe so far and tasted just like one I'd get back home. The decor was that of an American restaurant in the 1950's, which made for a fun experience. Hanging on the wall was an old poster of Chicago and that made me miss home more than the chocolate milkshake which is saying a lot if you know how much I love chocolate ;) By the time we got done eating it was pretty much dark but we still wanted to see the sites we had planned to see. We meandered down a big avenue similar to Passeig de Gràcia here in Barcelona or Michigan Avenue in Chicago and saw a lot of things and ended up at the ocean. Along the way we saw some pretty cool things including an old trolley covered in graffiti but still running, Praça do Comércio, and Santa Justa Elevator. We called it a night after that but the next morning we were able to see Santa Engracia before we left to head back to Oporto to fly back to Barcelona. Now you all know I can't go a weekend trip with having something go wrong..Friday morning I slept until 6:55 and was supposed to leave at 7..oops..somehow made it to the bus stop just in time to get to the airport only ten minutes after I had originally planned. On Sunday we ended up missing our bus back to Oporto and thought we were going to miss our flight. We made it to the airport with twenty minutes to get our passports checked and go through security before the gate closed. I have no idea how we didn't miss our flight but I'm so happy that I was wearing my lucky sweatshirt.

I'll leave you guys with that :)

This next weekend I will be going to Madrid with my program which I'm VERY excited about since it's the capital of Spain and I want to see what a big city in Spain is like considering Barcelona is unofficially in Catalonia (almost official, maybe? haha)

Miss you guys


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