Traveling from Germany to other European countries is affordable and convenient, this is one of the reasons why studying abroad in the middle of the European continent has been a great blessing. This past week I traveled to Spain and Portugal, it was not in my initial plans to visit Portugal but it kind of just happened. These are my favorite kind of trips, the spontaneous play it by ear ones.
Maybe it is because this way of living is connected to my personality. I am not a planner. I like being lost at times and I like experiencing the unexpected. It feels as though when you plan things and have certain expectations part of the magic you experience when you visit new places disappears. Yes, of course, some things need to be planned or nothing will get done. However, if things don’t go as you planned, it’s better to just go with the flow then get stressed out. Breathe and remain grateful. Talk to the locals, try some tapas, and order a jar of sangria. You will figure it out.
We started this trip in Barcelona or “Barca” as many travelers call it. My boyfriend and I arrived a few days later to join the group, the rest of my traveling buddies and a couple of other friends from SDSU. They came from Rotterdam, Netherlands to enjoy Spain with us.
I remember taking a step back and observing these two girls, my boyfriend, and one of my favorite travel buddies and feeling very grateful for having the opportunity to all get together and enjoy each other’s company in Barcelona! I felt thankful for having them in my life and being able to share unforgettable moments with them.
My boyfriend and I got lost the night we arrived. I had lost my iPhone a couple weeks ago and was relying on him and google maps to get us to the hostel. Even though we got a little irritated we laughed most of the time and made fun of the situation. I loved getting lost with him. He was totally unbothered and so was I. This was his first time in Europe and watching him reminded me of when I arrived four months ago. His eyes sparkled with curiosity, it seemed like he was five again. He was in awe and so was I.
That night we went to a local park, grabbed some snacks and drinks and talked for hours. It was two of our friend’s birthdays which made it even more special. The next couple of days we visited the Sagrada Familia, a famous Spanish church designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, and Park Güell. Then came my boyfriend’s birthday and his wish was to go to Ibiza. We left the group while they were in Madrid and flew to possibly the friendliest island in the world. We had a blast.
We met two locals, Felipe and Martin, that we will never forget. Their hospitality and openness made our experience extra special. Felipe reminded me of my stepdad and his love for life and people. Martin always had a smile on his face and you could just tell he was in love with life too. Even the way he walked reflected this. What a relaxed man!
After our time in Ibiza, it was time to meet the group again in Lisbon, Portugal. We had a great time in Lisbon and saw many similarities between the Portuguese culture and my own, the Mexican culture. Even some of their dance moves are the moves my mom taught me growing up. We had an authentic Portuguese dish that consisted of falafel beans, chorizo, delicious pork cut into mini squares, and tomato which is similar to lentejas, a popular Mexican soup. It was so good! We also took a train from Lisbon to a nearby town called Sintra and spent the day there. The town was mainly filled with castles and other historical buildings. At the top of Castello Mouros, the largest castle in sight, the view was unreal. It was so green and beautiful, you could almost see the full curvature of the Earth. This was my favorite part of my time in Portugal. I couldn’t stop staring.
I am continuously experiencing breathtaking moments in Europe. I love my life in America but I had no idea how much more amazing life became when you stepped out of your comfort zone, bubble, or whatever you like to call it. Life is truly what you make of it. All those quotes that you read or hear growing up become your reality, they become truth.
Anyway, here are a few pictures of my time in Barcelona, Ibiza, Lisbon, and Sintra. Hope you enjoy them!