Cord Belding, Travel Log 4: “Studying Abroad…It’s More Than Just a Walk in the Park”

Ever since arriving here in Barcelona I have found that I really enjoy walking around and getting “lost” in the city.  I really enjoy walking from my apartment to my metro station and taking it to a random stop and just walking around to see what I can see or find amongst the buildings and alleyways.  However, the walk I want to talk about was the one I took just the other day where I went from my apartment to the ocean by just walking.  On a good day this walk might take me anywhere from forty five minutes to maybe an hour.  However, this walk meant more to me because I didn’t want to just take the easiest and fastest route because then I felt I might miss something on the way.

My apartment is just about 10 minutes away from the most beautiful, and unfinished, church in the world.  La Sagrada Familia is one hundred and thirty five years in the making and to see a building like this in person truly brings to light the phrase “seeing is believing.” To stand next to this building made me feel unworthy to share the same space as it; beauty like this can only be viewed through your own eyes.  Pictures don’t do it justice because as it stands currently, it is one hundred and seventy meters tall and yet it isn’t even finished.  Even thanks to modern technology it is expected to be finished in 7-10 years so it still has quite a bit left to go.  I spent probably twenty minutes just walking around this behemoth and just taking it all in because I may never get to see it again after I leave this beautiful country.  Going inside is a bit pricey, but thanks to a class I take here at CEA I’ll be able to see it for free, except obviously for the price of my tuition.  So my time spent around La Sagrada Familia was enough and I decided to keep walking.  I was getting a bit hungry so I went looking around for a place to get a sandwich when I stumbled upon a place I never would have found had I not been on this walk.  The place was called Chivuo’s and upon my surprise I had stumbled into an American style restaurant where the best thing on the menu was a Philly Cheesesteak.  A cheesesteak being one of my absolute favorite meals to eat, I ordered it expecting it to not be as good as the ones I get in the states.  Much to my surprise again I was found enjoying the best cheesesteak I’ve ever had, but let it be known that I’ve never had one from Philadelphia so my judgement may be a bit skewed.  Slimbach writes, “While it’s true that the initial decision to uproot is ours, soon afterward, much of our life abroad happens under our feet and without our permission.” (Slimbach 156).  I suppose I took this quote quite literally, because it mentions life abroad happening under our feet without permission.  I took that as meaning that even when we are in a place that we don’t recognize, that it can lead to something so much better than you or I could ever have imagined.  I never would have found my now favorite restaurant in Barcelona had I not taken this walk to the beach from my apartment.  I never would have seen the sights that seem so slight to me now having seen them so many times over the last month, but at that moment it meant everything to me.


One thought on “Cord Belding, Travel Log 4: “Studying Abroad…It’s More Than Just a Walk in the Park”

  1. I definitely agree finding new places that try to mimic or make American food on the off chance I try them have been really interesting seeing the different take on something we consider so uniform in how it should be.


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