I have been in Spain for 5 days now and have done so much! Navigating the public transportation system is very easy and honestly it feels like I have been here for months. Except for the first day when I was learning where everything was, getting around is easy. I am still pretty jet lagged even though I want to fight it. Or at least I think I am jet lagged because I need a lot of sleep.
In a single day I went walked around my neighborhood, toured La Sagrada Familia, went on a walk around the gothic district, learned how to navigate the food markets (mercados), and attended a Barcelona-Celta game. Considering how much I do in a single day, it is not surprising how much I sleep.
The food market was one of my favorites. Every neighborhood has one. Below is a fruit stand at one of the largest markets in near La Rambla. I have found my local market and many others. We went around closing time and this is when there are the most deals because the shop owners want to sell fresh food every day. I didn’t buy anything but I will definitely return! Afterwards we ate churros and chocolate, a popular dessert in Spain. The chocolate is a cross between pudding and hot chocolate. I was a little turned around walking to the churros place, but I easily found my way back.
Later that night I went to my first futbol game (classic tourist, I know). I absolutely loved it. I went with one of my roommates who is a huge fan. Our seats were in the lowest section behind the Barcelona goal. As far as I know, Barcelona universities do not have sports teams, therefore futbol games are very popular. The home end zone is filled with extra rowdy fans similar to a student section. They stand the whole time and yell chants to a beating drum. Huge flags are waved around, which would definitely not be allowed at Badger games for safety reasons. Based on the number of yellow “Libertad” (liberty) flags throughout the stadium it appears that many people support Catalan independence. Before I came here there were many friends and family who were nervous for me living in Barcelona because they thought the civil unrest would be dangerous. I have yet to feel unsafe. But back to the game. We snuck down to the fourth row by the end of the game (see picture above). Barce scored 4 goals in the first 30 minutes and the final score was 5-0 Barcelona. The next home game is Barcelona vs. Real Madrid and the cheapest tickets for that game sell for around 1,000 dollars! I hope to go to another game, but I can’t afford that one.
Overall it is wonderful here. My roommates and host family are wonderful and the city is beautiful. Temperatures range from 40F to 60F which is much higher than the -10F Wisconsin is experiencing right now. I feel like a wimp, but I wear my winter jacket most days just like the locals because this is winter to them. Every day is an adventure here and I look forward to the days to come!