Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bisous and Besos from Europe!

So this will be a quick post before I knock out in my awesome hostel in Barcelona, Spain! I am currently in my fall break so I have a whole week to travel and explore Europe with some friends. I have already visited Paris (we stayed there for about four days) and I arrived this morning in Barcelona and had quite an eventful day!

It's so interesting being in another country other than Italy, although I must admit my head is reeling from the constant change of languages within the past few days. In less than a week I have been speaking in Italian, English, Spanish, mandarin and Cantonese (with some Chinese vendors or tourists I met) and very, very, very little French. It was quite a struggle realizing that instead of "grazie," and "buon giorno" I had to say "merci" and "bonjour", and now that I'm in Spain it's taken me a while to switch off my Italian mode and get back into speaking Spanish. I hadn't realized how much Italian I had picked up until I found myself struggling quite a bit to remember how to talk in Espanol.

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect for fall break, but so far I have been loving every single moment of it from the second I stepped off from the beauvais airport into Paris. From then on every day since has been absolutely magical. I think Paris is the first city that I have really fallen in love with. Being able to walk through the crisp autumn air of the city, having dinner by the seine river, finding the original Shakespeare and co. Bookstore,  visiting countless museums for free because of my student visa (including the louvre, orangerie, and musee D'Orsay) among many other adventures felt like a complete dream. Paris is hands down the most stunning city I have ever been in, I might has well have been living in a painting. (Also, the stereotype about Parisians all being stuck up was not true for me at all, I was fortunate enough to meet many friendly Parisians who were very patient and amused with my 10-word French vocabulary)

I think may be in danger of falling in love with Barcelona as well, although both cities are very different. I am loving the food, architecture, and the festive culture I see everywhere. Tonight my friends and I were able to go to see a Flamenco performance, have unlimited sangria, and have a tapas (dishes of selected Spanish foods). Needless to say, we were all very happy by the end of the night ;) One of the first shocks that I got when I came here though, is that the main language in northern Spain isn't Spanish, but Catalan, a certain dialect that is a cross between Spanish and French with a little Italian thrown in. For example, instead of "salida" which means "exit" in spanish, you would say "sortida" in Catalan. It's a mix between "sortie" (french for exit) and "salida". Apparently,  a lot of northern Spain had a lot of influences from its surrounding countries, so it seems quite different from the stereotypical Spain that we think of. I'm also not sure what I was expecting about Spain since the only Spanish-speaking culture I know is from Latin America, so to hear and experience Spanish in a very European-style is extremely fascinating to me.

And before I leave, here is a beautiful picture of notre dame in Paris,

A spanish choir was singing that day

as well as the street view of Barcelona from the hostel I am staying at:

hoy esta lloviendo!

Hopefully I'll be able to find the time to post more updates and more pictures :) sending lots of French and Spanish kisses to everyone, bisous and besos!

Buenos noches!

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