As I stepped off the plane and took in my first foreign breath, besides being engulfed in a cloud of a Frenchman’s cigarette smoke, my heart stopped and my eyes watered. It all began with the unbelievable opportunity to spend ten days exploring the cities along the coast of France and Spain on a school trip with Prometour Tours. Starting a countdown exactly 354 days before, the excitement for my second out-of-country trip, the first being when I was 8 years old, was unfathomable. Visiting cities such as Nice, Cannes, Eze, Monaco, and Barcelona, the trip became a life changing experience.
Seven hours, some rough turbulence, and eight cups of Coke later, I landed in Nice; a city lined with the mesmerizing clarity of the sparkling, blue water. Our first stop, Monte Carlo, provided us with perfectly made gelato, an outlet for the fact that we were too young to gamble. As we traveled down the same road the late Grace Kelly met her fate, we found ourselves in the beautiful principality of Monaco. The longer I stared at the breathtaking scenery, the more I couldn’t believe where I was standing.
My most unforgettable experience sailed my way on boat ride across the Mediterranean Sea. Rushing through the crowd to get the bow seat, my initial gaze at the horizon before me has been forever implanted in my mind. As the wind blew through my hair and the waves put droplets of water onto my glasses, my field of vision was filled with bulging cliffs, and the point where the blue sky and blue water met. I had never been so sure of anything in my life.
Our last day in France, rainy yet beautiful none the less, was celebrated with a traditional French dinner. Although the duck didn’t have a positive affect on my taste buds, I was satisfied with the infinite smiles infiltrating the room. Keeping to the rural side of France, the mile long daisy fields, fine cuisine, and the glistening water that was always in view, our five days in France was spent perfectly. I couldn’t imagine how our upcoming days in Barcelona could exceed my time spent along the French Riviera.
After a five hour bus ride, half spent staring out the window, and the other sleeping, I stepped immediately into a city rich with culture. As forty students rolled their luggage through the busy streets of Barcelona, we noticed its resemblance to New York City, yet the cultural aspect of architecture and art set it apart. The local musicians filled the streets with traditional Catalonian music, while art and graffiti covered the walls. Our nights were celebrated with a traditional Tapas dinner, and riveting Flamenco shows.
One aspect of Barcelona that one cannot miss is its famous architecture. A memorable trip included that to Park Guell, a park dedicated to honoring the incomparable architect Antoni Gaudi. His compelling art projects, including the famous mosaic dragon fountain, were compiled in a majestic park. Another one of Gaudi’s enthralling projects was the La Sagrada Familia, a privately owned Roman Catholic Church. This enormous building began construction in 1882 and isn’t expected to be complete until 2026. The faÃ§ade, as well as the inside of the church, was the most captivating piece of art I have ever laid eyes upon. Antoni Gaudi’s architecture adds that much more beauty to the streets of Barcelona.
The ten days were over, and my life was turned upside down. The beauty this world has to offer is unexplainable; and it all began with my trip to the self proclaimed “Sprance”.
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