March Abroad: Part 1

After two months of living responsibly, carefully tracking my finances, and attending all of my classes, I’d had enough. Fortunately, the first week of march corresponded with Trinity’s “reading week” (read: spring break but fancy) and I was able to start working on destroying my conservative lifestyle in favor of a more exciting European adventure. Which I nailed.

My first stop was Barcelona, where my friends and I stayed at an airbnb so close to the Sagrada Familia that it greeted us every morning as we searched for our 3 euro breakfast ham sandwiches. In order to maximize the amount of time I could spend tired on the trip I flew into Barcelona Saturday night (just in time to watch Barcelona defeat Real Madrid in El Classico) and left at 6 am on tuesday (a flight I slept in the airport to catch, a thing I will never be doing again). Highlights of the trip included a hike to a crumbling set of buildings in a park on top the hill to watch the sunset (see gallery above) surrounded by roughly eight trillion abroad americans chugging 2 euro rose and my visit to the Sagrada Familia. I also very much enjoyed renting a bike and peddling aimlessly by massive churches and ancient palaces. Europe is awesome.

From there I met up with my friends in Malaga for a two night beach adventure, which was both very fun and in the context of the month barely remarkable except for the part where we celebrated Kate’s 21st birthday by drinking terrible Cava in our hilariously under heated airbnb hot tub.

The highlight of Malaga was leaving – not because I was stoked about leaving the wild Parakeets and ocean views behind, but because by virtue of cognitive dissonance and love for trains I had purchased a first class ticket aboard the 8 o’clock Renfe AVE Train to Madrid. A train that was promptly cancelled due to a Renfe strike brought about by the spanish not wanting to work on a friday. I chose to be upbeat about the situation, primarily because I’d been rebooked on the 9 o’clock train and got to spend an hour hanging in the business lounge of the Malaga train station before boarding the train and spending two full hours saying “this is amazing” out loud while I was brought omelettes and croissants and unlimited coffee while my train blazed a 200mph path to the spanish capital. It was, dear readers, the greatest moment of my life.

Things continued to go well once I disembarked my silver-and-red-striped chariot, as I wandered about Madrid, meeting up with my friend Isabelle to pose for pictures outside of the royal palace and in several parks and to eat burrata at a market that included a full mozzarella bar. From there I headed to a last second hostel booking that turned out to be the nicest hostel I’ve stayed in, where I met a guy named Luciano from Chile who’d been travelling southeast asia for the last five months and who really wanted to go get a beer. It was at this point that I discovered that in Madrid when you order a beer, you get snacks for free along with them, a revelation that resulted in my living on cervezas and associated tapas for the rest of the day.

My last day in Spain was packed, starting with a delicious brunch at a NYT recommended spot in an alley and including two of the bigger museums I’ve been to. For my money, in case you were wondering, the Prado, while amazing, is not quite as enjoyable as the Reina Sofia. I then wandered to a famous churro place to stuff my entire body full of an enormous amount of fried dough covered in chocolate, and then talked a nice hotel into printing off my ryanair boarding pass. Down to enough time for one more activity, I headed to the rooftop bar above the Círculo de Bellas Artes for a final delicious adult beverage, waited until my friends showed up to pose for photos, and then headed off to the airport to return to Dublin.

That’s all for the first segment of March Abroad, but don’t go anywhere. We’ll be back with more from Paris and Berlin after the break.

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