Last weekend, I went to Tarragona with IES as a mandatory study journey. While I wouldn’t have gone there on my own, I loved it! It reminded me of going from Nashville to Sewanee, because the drive was the same amount of time and because of the size difference. It proved to be a welcome escape from the hustle-bustle of Barcelona. I was able to take some great photos on our walking tour of the monastery and of the town of Tarragona itself. I didn’t really understand why IES Barcelona chose Tarragona in particular, but then, on the tour, we learned that Tarragona was the Roman capital in Hispaniola, which I thought was a really cool and interesting choice. Despite the windchill, I had a great visit and tour. The overcast and cloudiness also made for some great photos!
Around 9:30am, I went to the Hard Rock Café in the Placa de Catalunya, because it was the meeting point for our group. I couldn’t find the IES bus anywhere, and was praying to the Lord that I would find them. Right after I prayed for peace and guidance, the IES trip leader walked up to me and asked, “¿Estás con IES, no?” God provided!
The bus ride was about an hour and a half to this monastery in Poblet, and I got some really pretty photos. From its entrance to its exit, this place was chock-full of history. We had a wonderful guide, and our tour was 100% in Spanish. I found it really interesting that there are monks currently living in this monastery, some as young as 19 years old! For this reason, the guide asked us to not to take any photos of the monks. Our tour in particular never saw any, but I still think it’s great to show respect for them by only taking photos of the architecture. That’s the whole point of our tour anyway!
Once we were done with our tour at Poblet, we got back on the bus to go to Tarragona. In the gift shop, I met Katie, a fellow vegan, and told her about EcoCentre. I’ve been telling everyone abut this little vegan grocery store because it is so helpful for me! We decided to eat lunch together when we got to Tarragona, because the itinerary gave us free time for lunch before our tour of Tarragona. We tried to go to this really cool-looking vegetarian restaurant, but it was closed for the afternoon siesta. We were disappointed, but ended up going to this awesome Italian place with vegetarian options. We each got two courses plus a drink for just 11 euros! I chose a vegetable plate, some vegan pizza, and white wine for my lunch. Yum!
Our tour of Tarragona was fabulous. I really liked our guide; she was funny, told us some really cool facts, and her Spanish was clear enough that I didn’t have to put in too much brain power to understand her. That’s always nice, especially when you just want to go home, kick your feet up, and switch your “Spanish brain” off for a little bit! She also gave us plenty of time to get photos, which I surprisingly got considering that I was carrying Katie and I’s leftover pizza for half of the tour!
After our tour, we *finally* got to relax in our hotel rooms. My roommate was Heidi, a really nice girl from the same college as my roommate in my homestay, Erika: UW-Madison. We had some great conversation, and I told her about EcoCentre because she’s also a vegetarian. I took a bubble bath before dinner, which was the best part of my day. I improvised by using the hotel’s body wash as bubbles, and it smelled soooooo good! The rest of the night was just dinner of pasta and salad, and some relaxation for me.
Saturday morning, I woke up and went downstairs for some breakfast of a croissant, some mandarins, and a couple of cafés cortados. We left the hotel at 10:30 for our Castells workshop, where we actually got to see and try making some human towers! I got a couple of great videos, and the kids from the neighborhood were so cute! After the workshop, we had lunch at a local restaurant. I got to meet some new people from my classes at my lunch table, and the food was great. They even had vegan fruit ice cream for me! I’d say it was a great trip, and I’m so happy that the mandatory study journey was in Tarragona.