Diversity Abroad – Blog

Port #3: Spain

October 7, 2016

Visiting Valledemosa and seeing the view of the island of Mallorca by hiking the mountains

Visiting Valledemosa and seeing the view of the island of Mallorca by hiking the mountains

Visiting Gaudí's park after seeing his other works on the street of Barcelona

Visiting Gaudí’s park after seeing his other works on the street of Barcelona

 

Day 1: On the first day in Barcelona I signed up for two field programs.

 

In the morning, I went on a city orientation tour where we went to the Spanish Village, Passeig de Gracia, La Sagrada Familia, and the Cathedral of Barcelona.

The Spanish Village included differents buildings that represent the culture, architecture, and tradition of one of the regions within Spain. Passeig de Gracia is a street similar to Rodeo Drive in Beverly hills with many different high end stores and includes Gaudi inspired architecture—including the Gaudi houses Casa Amatler and La Pedrera.

 

We also took an exterior tour of the famous La Sagrada Familia cathedral built by Gaudi. It is still under construction and will be finished in around 10 years. The cathedral contains 3 sides with three different themes. La Sagrada Familia means “the sacred family”. The front theme of the cathedral is “The Nativity” which is the birth of Jesus. The theme of the backside is the “Passion of Christ” which is Jesus’ death. The third side, still under construction, is the “Glory of Christ” which includes the Four Gospels, Mother Mary, and Jesus. Afterwards, we went to the Gothic Quarter and visited the Cathedral of Barcelona.

 

From there, a few friends and I decided to walk to La Rambla—a very long street with many stores and restaurants. We stumbled upon La Boqueria Mercado which was an open air market filled with fresh meat, seafood, fruits, pastries, and tapas. We got a good glimpse of the cuisine in Barcelona by buying fresh Jamon, fruit juices, croquets, empanadas, and ice cream.

 

That night, I went to another field program that took us to the highest point in Barcelona in a city called Tibidabo. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant and ate a lot of tapas (small plates/appetizers).

 

As I got back from my field program, I ran into my roommates. I decided to go with them to watch an amazing Flamenco show which was a great end to my first night in Barcelona.

 

Day 2-4: With 3 hours of sleep, I headed to the airport to go on a field program to Mallorca. Mallorca is an island in Spain, near Ibiza. The field program had a theme centered on tourism. We learned about tourism in Mallorca from three perspectives: government, university, and the private sector. This was the best field program I’ve been on thus far because it was extremely educational for me as a Business major and we were treated like celebrities as they gave us a great tour of Mallorca. All of the directors and managers we met in Mallorca were very professional and experienced with their companies. I was very impressed by their business plans and visions on how they approach tourism in Mallorca.

On the first day we visited an NMO and the University of Balearic Islands. I learned about the strategies to create year long tourism in Mallorca and some of the issues they face—such as exceeding carrying capacity in the summer which can create a divide. Afterwards, we went to the beach near our hotel. To my surprise, there where many fish in the clear blue water because of the lack of waves. 30 minutes into being in the water, a fish bit me and my foot started to bleed. The life guard laughed at me when I asked for a band aid.

 

On the second day, we visited a town in the mountains called Valldemossa and Deia. We tried Coco de Patata (yummy sweet potato bread) and did some shopping. Afterwards, we went to the most luxurious hotel in Mallorca where many high class Europeans stay and spend anywhere from 800-3,000 euros a night. We received a special tour for the hotel and were treated to lunch where we ate many yummy tapas and had the best dessert (ensaimada).

 

After La Residencia, we went to a town called Soller where we went hiking. For dinner, the director of BC Tours treated us out to a white tablecloth dinner where we ate the Spanish delicacy, Paella. We had a very informal conversation with the director. He wanted to get to know us and answer and questions we might have had about tourism or his company.

 

On the last day, we went to Porto Cristo and visited the Drach Caves. The Caves were very beautiful. At the end of the Caves, they had a very beautiful 3 piece orchestra performance who were playing in the caves on a boat with lights. Afterwards, we headed to the airport and because of the storm our flight was delayed for 3 hours.

 

Day 5: On the last day in Barcelona, I decided to see the art that Barcelona had to offer by taking a tour of the street art, going to the Picasso Museum, and going to Park Guell by Gaudi. Before heading back to the ship, I bought many last minute souvenirs and ate my last tapas. It was a great way to end my time in Spain.