First and Last Time

First and Last Time

I started the weekend by hiking up a valley to get to Vall de Nuria. This was just one of many amazing views that made the journey worth it.     Last Saturday was about to be the most adventurous day in my life so far. This sign marks the beginning of a...
Art & Enya

Art & Enya

This program has been full of new experiences and challenges. Of course, this day wasn’t going to be anything less. We had to show up to Plaça Catalunya at 8 a.m. and randomly select a map. I know that sounds vague but seriously that’s all we were told. My random map...
Is This What “Adulting” Feels Like?

Is This What “Adulting” Feels Like?

The first half of this program has helped me feel as though I’m discovering who I really am. Before these few weeks in Barcelona, I had been finding it difficult to adjust to adult life, and I was very nervous about graduating college. I constantly felt that life was...
Barcelona Will Change How You Eat

Barcelona Will Change How You Eat

My experience with the food in Barcelona has drastically changed how I want to eat. There are fresh markets on every block and anything involving food is not rushed. The attitude toward consuming food is very different compared to Chicago. Eating here is so much more...
Tourists Not Welcome In Gracia

Tourists Not Welcome In Gracia

Today, Cindy, Dana, and I discovered some of the wonders of the community of Gracia. We visited several different gardens and sculptures, all important art pieces to the residents. However, some of the most significant and intriguing art is found almost everywhere throughout the neighborhood- graffiti. We noticed that the graffiti was expressive of the city´s feelings, especially regarding political standpoints. One statue had a yellow bag tied around its neck to signify freedom and the releasing of the Catalaunian president. In some cases, they even expressed their hatred for tourists.

The environment was hostile. Because it consists of locals, we obviously weren’t camouflaged. People walking along the street looked at us kind of funny, and one lady even yelled at us. This may be due to the high tourist attraction in the area, Park Guell, that is now too expensive for the locals to enjoy.

This is an issue because the other local parks and rest areas are very small without much greenery. Many of them are located near busy streets, where it is noisy and there are  “interesting” smells. The sidewalks and streets are very narrow, making it difficult to walk places, which is their main form of transportation. We also noticed at least two train stops that are now closed and boarded up.

However, we learned how much the residents value of the Catalonian culture. It was inspirational to see an entire community unite and support one another, taking a stance for what they want. We also learned how outside factors, such as tourism, can impact a community. Hosting countless travelers per year takes a toll on their basic ways of life. Although our experiences with tourists in America are much different, we grew to understand the frustration of the Catalans and sympathize with them.