A little late on my night's post, but I wanted to gather my thoughts before I brain dump on you all again. Today began in a pretty interesting way...we had a meeting back in the hotel conference room at 10 am. It takes approximately 25 minutes to get there from the apartment on the metro. I had to buy my metro card as well so we left early for that. Here is the thing about buying metro cards...It is hard or we are just dumb. It kept rejecting our euros until I was finally able to figure out how to insert the euro in the correct direction. Yep, that simple, but I was able to get the unlimited card for 3 months that is only 80 euro. After the metro card fiasco, we had to run to catch the metro and almost got on the wrong one, but we realized it last minute and was able to squeeze on the correct one. Then we were able to figure out the transfer location and get to the correct spot. We quickly made it to the hotel (not running because I do not run, but fast walking). At the hotel, we meet with the academic advisers for UAB (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona). They showed us the campus (pictures) and explained the schedules. I realized that my Tuesday/Thursday classes are back to back on different campuses...as in a 20 minute commute using the metro. We technically have 25 minutes in between those times, but it is also my night class which means another 20 minute metro ride at night by myself to my apartment. I am planning to drop my last class and switch it for an early time slot if possible that way I will be at the same campus on Tuesday/Thursday. Prayers that it goes over well. After the academic meeting, we received our student IDs and then had a cultural meeting. The cultural meeting outlined our excursions for the semester and other fun opportunities to participate in. January 26th will be our winery tour and a tasting of a classic Catalan dish. The 28th-30th is a cooking workshop that will teach us numerous Spanish and Catalan dishes as well as how to make Sangria. February 14th-15th will be our weekend to Lisbon, Portugal. On February 18th, we get to watch a professional Flamenco dance show. On March 13th-14th we get to travel to Sevilla. March 10th is a Skyline Boat Tour. March 21st is the trip to Girona. There will be more fun things to pop up but that is the itinerary for now.
After the meetings, we got to walk around Catalunya which is the center of the city. Some advice, wifi is pretty much everywhere, but when you don't have it, it can be frustrating if you are avoiding international charges and data usage. I suggest getting a SIM card after arriving in Barcelona. Vodaphone has 25GB of data a month and 150 national minutes for only 20 euro a month. The catch is that your phone has to be "unlocked" meaning you can change the SIM. The SIM gives you a Spanish number, but you can still use WhatsApp that is attached to your American number. It is better for using maps and for traveling outside of Spain. While walking around, I bought a SIM and it was pretty simple with speaking Spanish and using your passport. Also, print a copy of the passport and carry that around just in case your belongings get stolen. Pick-pocketing is really bad in Barcelona, but I have been good so far by using a cross-body purse that locks the zipper and not using my pants or coat pockets.
At 2 pm, we went on a bus tour of the city. We saw most of the districts and passed a lot of places that I will definitely be going to again. Also, let me set the scene...we are in a huge tour bus, we turn left, another car also turns left in our blind-spot...BAM! We have a car accident. Everything and everyone was okay, but it took 30 minutes for them to go over insurance and what not. I would definitely say it was a interesting experience. After that got sorted, we got to see some amazing views.
After the tour was complete, it was close to 6pm so we returned to the apartment to decide on dinner. We ended up getting more tapas. Sorry no picture this time, we were starving and the food was off the plate before I had the chance to snap the pic. We had patatas bravas again, croquettes (fried potatoes and chicken in a ball), and pinchos (bread with beef and a roasted green pepper). I also tried a white sangria, but it tasted like sparkling orange juice, and was not that good to me. After dinner, I just hung out at the apartment like a bum because I am tired, but tomorrow is full of possibilities as a free day and nothing planned. Guess we will have to wait and see what happens next...