The question of 'What are you even doing here' has cropped up quite a lot since I moved to Tarragona with my friends Carey and Lauren. Everyone from current Erasmus students, to corner shop owners and random hot men on Grindr asking me 'WHY ARE YOU HERE'.
WHY. JUST WHY.
It's as if Spain isn't a holiday destination or somewhere amazing to relax and lay low for a few months before moving onto a new university, new country and a new lifestyle. Or as if they don't get enough tourists here as it is. What is with that question? Maybe they don't even look at their amazing beaches and seemingly constant good weather in summertime.
By now, if you don't read this blog, or you're just catching up, or you're one of the awesome people i've met in TGN and not had it properly explained to you: I'm on a 2 month break (SPRING BREAK YEAH) in between the two semesters at foreign universities i'm studying at this year, down to some interesting academic year dates in Germany from April - August. This means I get 2 and a bit months of free time to do the hell I want with; some students at my university went back home to go to the grind and save and save and save and be miserable in cloudy, rainy England, but I am here in Spain living with my two friends, in a place and a country that I adore so far.
But on that note I've been here since the end of January and i've just booked trains to move to Germany for semester 2 of my Erasmus year abroad, and yet I am still confronted with that question.....and still considered a tourist. Even if I try and order something in a shop, or a café in my ridiculous broken and fragmented Spanish, I am instantly replied to in English, or French. Maybe I sound a leetle beet like zees now or maybe the Catalonian influx of tourism from France is infinitely greater than the UK. Who knows, but I've got my money on the latter to be honest.
Anyways, i've got my tickets to Germany booked up for the end of the month: i'm taking an overnight train-hotel from Barcelona to Paris, and then onto Köln in the morning where I just have to take a regional train to get to Koblenz all for around 150€, money i've saved up since January.
I honestly will miss this place, Barcelona especially....it has such a liberal feel for a city, mirrored by its friendliness and openness to new, bizarre things. People here seem to have a lot of piercings, tattoos and interesting haircuts, all signs of a place that feels new and fresh. I like that about Spain. People are much friendlier than UK or France, less stylish than both, but at least they're not as arsehole-y as the French about it.
We spent a day up in Barcelona with friend who were visiting from Aix, riding bikes into student riots, into hailstorms and then owering into cosy, warm Irish pubs all the while being freezing cold and wet but absolutely loving the place. Not the first time I've been to Barcelona, but one of the best just because I saw pretty much everything in the space of a few hours -on street level- for once. Also on the way home our train broke down which caused a few tears from the girls, but after looking at the mad situation we'd just been through was cause for a bit of a laugh actually. I loved it, definitely one to tell the grandkids.
Also, finally while I haven't uploaded many photos to this blog to document my travels recently, I do have a lot of interesting ones to share, if not just for myself in the future to look back on. Here's a few interesting ones from Barcelona / Tarragona.