Who knew Spain was the party scene the world? I sure didn’t. On my flight to Barcelona my friends and I became aware that that very night Barcelona was celebrating the feast of Saint John. Apparently it’s a big deal there because the whole ground was lit up with fire works that we could see from the sky. Once we landed, and were on a bus to down town, it became clear that the whole city was in full fiesta mode. We got to the apartment we rented, which was really nice and in a good location, and headed to the beach where we heard there was a huge party going on for the feast. When we got to the beach it was like nothing I had ever seen. The whole expanse of the huge beach was packed with people partying to full throttle. We didn’t get crazy, but I had a couple sangrias and enjoyed the evening. The next morning we got up and went to see the city. We explored the main street of Barcelona, Las Ramblas, and the shops along the way. We also went to Park Guell which is a famous park in Spain known for it’s beautiful architecture by Spain’s world renowned architect Antoni Gaudi. The park was beautiful and had some great views of the city. Even better I got to meet up with my good friend and future roommate Marvis, who is studying abroad in Spain. I didn’t get to see him long but it was great to see him none the less. After the park we ventured to the Sagrada Familia church (Holy Family Church). It was like nothing I had ever seen before, not even the Vatican compared. This church was also designed by Antoni Gaudi. The unique design was just mind blowing. Most unique about the church was that it began construction in 1882 and is still not finished! It has an estimated completion date of 2026. After that we headed back to the apartment for a nap. When dinner rolled around we stumbled across a nice Tapas place. I’m glad we went there because aside from the great food the owner gave us a free shot and a bottle of red wine on the house. After dinner it was time to hit the club. We decided to go to Shoko club right on the beach. We got in for 12 euro which included one drink. As we were on the dance floor a hostess from the club came over to my group and asked us if we wanted to go to the VIP section. It was awesome and we were served free champagne with refills. I asked the hostess how much they charged for a bottle, 200 euro was her answer. I must have been extra sexy that night, or maybe it was the 4 cali girls I was with, the world will never know. When I could no longer drink and was tired of dancing we made our way to the beach right outside of the club around 3 am. I knew I wouldn’t have time to swim the following day due to my flight back to Torino so I just had to do it then. I convinced my friend to join me and into the water we went. We swam in our underwear unlike the locals around us who were dipping skinny. The water was fantastic. When we got out we joined up with the rest of our friends. They were all hanging out on the beach with some new people they met. I joined in and had a blast. We didn’t make it back to the apartment until around 6 am. I have never had more fun in my entire life. The next morning was a little rough but we managed to walk through the open market and the board walk before heading to the airport for our journey back to Torino. It was a long trip home and we didn’t get back until around midnight. Spain was so much fun and such a crazy experience. From all the free drinks, VIP access, and swimming in the Mediterranean at 3am; it was an experience I will always remember.
P.S. - The Spanish are WILD!
Sadly one of my favorite parts of this program has come to a close. The last meal was certainly a good one. For the anitpasto we made chicken salad and a green firtata which was made of spinach and other green herbs. We made homemade egg fettuccine noodles with an amazing bolognese sauce for the primo. For the second dish we had tomato mozzarella salad and an assortment of cheeses with bread. Lastly for dessert we made a macedonia, which is fruit salad topped with sugar, pineapple juice, and orange juice. It was all great, I love the assortment of cheese. I ended the class by turning in a final paper for my grade. My teacher wrote back to me saying that I will be remembered for my culinary skills, which most Americans don’t have she added. The compliment made me feel good. I’m sad it’s over, but it was definitely an experience I will always remember. I mean, how many people get to say they studied hands on cuisine in Italy. I’m so grateful for the opportunity.
In this past week I did so much. I had my third cuisine class, and went to the Italian Riviera in the Liguria region of Italy. In Liguria I visited Genova, Santa Margarita, Portofino, and Cinque Terre.
Unfortunately, this was my least favorite cuisine class of the session so far, although, non-the less everything was still delicious. For the antipasti we made a bell pepper and tuna sauté with onions and cappers and a dash of sugar. It was good and had a pleasant sweet and sour twist to it. For the first plate we made two kinds of risotto, a mushroom risotto, which was my favorite, and a saffron risotto that was also very good. For the second dish we made two kinds of veal and two kinds of sautéed zucchini. One veal dish was sautéed in a lemon oil sauce, and the other was made with Marsala wine. I preferred the lemon veal. The zucchini was my least favorite part of the meal. One dish was sautéed in a red sauce, and the other was sautéed in milk with prosciutto cotto. Desert was very simple; we made chocolate salami. It was basically Italian cookies chopped up and rolled in chocolate and then sliced so it looks like salami. It was a great time per usual and of course dinner was served with two types of wine and lots of bread.
On our way to the Riviera we stopped in Genova for a hot second. It was not worth the stop for the amount of time we were there. We took a walking tour of the city that highlighted the Dukes palace, the main church, and a rotating panoramic elevator ride with a terrific view of the city right on the water.
Truly a hidden gem on the waterfront; was my favorite city that we went to. Upon arrival the beauty of this place immediately overwhelmed me. We had delicious focaccia for lunch and then checked into our AMAZING hotel. We took a quick walking tour where we visited a church at the top of town and a villa with an amazing view and beautiful gardens. After that we spent all day and night on the beach and I had a great time.
Portofino is a port that we traveled to by boat from Santa Margarita. It is a very famous place in Italy that is popular for the frequent yacht visits of the rich and famous. We took a hike to the top of the port to see the castle there. The views were spectacular and the landscaping was just as beautiful. Some people whom own property there are Dolce & Gabbana (both of their first names are Stefano), and Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Cinque Terra literally means 5 towns, and that’s exactly what they are. Along the coast these five towns lie in a row, three minutes apart between each town by train and about two and a half hours by hike. We took a train to the 5th city and then hiked all the way to the 2nd city. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. It was extremely difficult, endless and rough steps up a mountain, but the views were out of this world. Vineyards and orchards stretched along the mountainside facing the ocean and the sea and sky became undistinguishable. My pictures do not justify the grandeur of it all. We took a train from the 2nd city to the 1st and spent the rest of the day drinking wine on the beach because the weather turned sour. The next day was beautiful and we spent the entire day practicing the life of beach bum, I look like a tomato to prove it.
Enjoy the pictures,