i'm so excited to be bringing a bit of spain to the blog over the coming weeks! since we did quite a bit of moving around while there, i've split the blog posts up by city (and sometimes there will be more than one post per city depending on how long we were there). i'll also do my best to link them to each other in case you miss one or want to go back and see it again! typically when traveling i pull my camera out during the day when we're walking around town and put it away at night when we're hanging out, exploring or going any place special... but every once in a while you'll see some night photos mixed into these posts!
oh and i should clear the air now >> jonathan (johann) is my younger brother- not boyfriend:) we've had a lot of confused questions concerning that! he's currently living in rome and so last fall we started throwing around the idea of me meeting up with him somewhere in europe for a little bit. those initial conversations quickly turned into us booking flights for spain and then barely talking about it or planning anything for the next 2 months! perhaps not the recommended way to plan travel to some place new but life was crazy, we're both really laid back when it comes to traveling & we're both familiar with european cities so we weren't too worried that we had nothing planned. two weeks before our flights (in the middle of crazy work schedules, a trip to indy & preparing to host my family for christmas) i had the presence of mind to book our hostels-- rather an important detail since we were planning to be there over two major holidays and everything books up!
when we landed in barcelona and met up at our hostel where we would stay the next two days, it was simple & peaceful and a little outside the city center in barrio de gracia. we so enjoyed meeting other guests and it gave us the perfect opportunity to explore guell park and the sagrada familia. at first i thought i had horrible jet lag but by day two of our trip, i was full blown sick with fever, sore throat and head congestion. i'd love to say it was a short lived deal but it only got worse and on top of having a fever every single day of the trip, everything else that comes with a cold made sure to make it's appearance over the next several days. so that was definitely not fun but the Lord gave lots of endurance (we walked 100+ miles in 10 days!) and being outside so much in the fresh air helped a whole bunch! johann was awesome for putting up with a sick traveling companion the whole time and everyone at our hostels were incredibly sweet about it!
also, i just have to say that after making it a point to pack minimally in a hiking backpack (mostly so i wouldn't have to haul a suitcase all over the blessed country) and being quite proud of that fact, i was giving johann a hard time because he packed twice as many clothes as me in a big ole suitcase. well humbling moment for emily on day 3 of the trip: i was so sick that i couldn't carry my backpack even a mile. turns out johann's suitcase was on its last trip anyway so we found him a new one and i transferred my clothes to the old suitcase. then i proceeded to lug it bumping & grinding all of over the cobblestone/brick sidewalks & streets of spain the rest of the trip! thank you Jesus for brothers who pack too much and need new suitcases!
it was such a gift and once in a lifetime opportunity to share this trip with johann! i loved seeing where he's at in his relationship with the Lord and how willing he is to share that life & hope with anyone we came into contact. his italian got us through spain without looking like american tourists (cause lawd knows my spanish is painfully inadequate) and kept us from getting lost as we wandered through each city!
in the next post, i'll share a little bit about our first two days in barcalona!
friends, i can't stress the value of making travel a priority! it's your geography and history books from middle school coming to life, it's introducing your senses to a myriad of new tastes, smells, sights and sounds and it is the fastest way to make friends all over the world!
if you're afraid that it's too expensive or difficult, know that it's whatever you make it to be. and if you're traveling abroad, honestly your biggest expense will be getting there.
johann and i decided to stay in hostels our whole trip and it was the best decision we could have made! not only was it super cheap (it cost us less than $450 for two of us to stay a total of 10 nights in various hostels during prime holiday dates), it also connected us to incredible people that we never would have met otherwise! i know the thought of staying in a room with 6-10 other strangers is really weird at first but most everyone is incredibly thoughtful & respectful and usually just use the rooms to sleep. most hostels provide linens and lockers and offer a kitchen where you can prepare meals.