29 March 2020
Hey! Its Jacob, and I wanted to check in and share my top five moments in Europe so far. I’m thankful that Kristen could convince me to come over here and enjoy what have been some truly unique experiences. These five moments were when I was at my happiest, and most appreciative of this experience.
5. Watching a Real Madrid basketball game with my friend Sergio (Madrid, March 2020)
Long before coming to Spain was ever considered, I had an interest in European basketball. One of the best teams in Europe, Real Madrid, calls Madrid home. The team features many former NBA players, and international players who star on their Olympic team. Sergio is an English teacher at my school, and a close friend of mine. He is a huge fan of the NBA, and of course, Real Madrid. Before the game, which started at 12:30 pm, we went to a nearby bar that is popular with Real Madrid fans. We had a few drinks and torrezno (pork with a fried crust). We watched the game, a blowout win by Real Madrid, while wearing Rudy Fernandez jerseys that Sergio had brought for us. Watching Real Madrid play, with a native of Spain, after getting drinks at a crowded supporter’s bar, was one of my favorite memories from Spain.
4. Touching the Berlin Wall (Berlin, March 2020)
When we decided that we would being going to Berlin, I knew that if I could only do one thing, it would be to find a section of the original Berlin Wall. On our first day in Berlin, I bought a small piece of the actual wall as a souvenir. However, I still wanted to touch a standing section of the original wall. The next day, we were able to find a long section of the wall that was still standing, and I was able to touch it. After learning about the Berlin wall all throughout school, and hearing references to it constantly, it was extremely rewarding to finally be were all that history occurred.
3. Having drinks with Kristen on Las Ramblas (Barcelona, November 2019)
Las Ramblas is a very famous street, with a wide median, that cuts through Barcelona. The median is so wide that pedestrians, stalls selling art and other knick knacks, and even restaurant dining areas can comfortably share the space. One night while in Barcelona, Kristen and I stopped at one of these restaurants for drinks and tapas. We sat there for a few hours enjoyed watching people go by as we talked and drank from very large glasses of sangria. It was exactly what I imagined when I thought about a relaxing night out on the streets of Europe.
2. Seeing the Aqueduct in Segovia (Segovia, October 2019)
One of our first adventures outside of Madrid was a quick day trip to Segovia. Segovia is a very historic city a little more than an hour outside of Madrid. It is an ancient city that was at one point controlled by the Roman Empire. Around the 2nd century AD, the Romans constructed an aqueduct running right through the middle of the city. Looking at such an old and impressive feat of architecture from the ancient world was an unbelievable moment that I will never forget.
1. Staring up at the ceiling of La Sagrada Família (Barcelona, November 2019)
As soon as I knew that we were moving to Spain, I knew I wanted to see, with my own eyes, La Sagrada Família. Gaudi began construction of the cathedral in the 1880’s, and knew that he would not be alive to see the project completed. His architectural and decorative genius cannot be replicated, even today, by the architects that have carried on his work. The cathedral, and its many different sections completed over the last 100+ years, are unlike any building I have ever seen.
Other great moments from our time here:
- Having wine and cheese at a small restaurant with my mom and Aunt Emily on their first day visiting.
- Going on a bike ride with dad through a nearby park called Casa de Campo.
- Enjoying a sunny day and relaxing picnic at Casa de Campo with Kristen, Bri, and Shelby.
- Seeing the Temple of Debod (an ancient Egyptian temple) at Cuartel de la Montaña Park.
- Watching the lights on the Eiffel Tower flash as Kristen and I sat on nearby steps and enjoyed mulled wine and crepes.