Every year the Spain Study Abroad program has one free weekend. During this free weekend the students are free to do whatever they want or go wherever they want. This year some students went to France, others to Barcelona, some stayed in Madrid, and some went on other adventures throughout Spain. I went with a group of about ten students along with Professor Harrell to Venice, Italy.
Planning a trip to Italy for eleven people is not simple by any means. We had to stay in two separate hotels (actually one hotel and one hostel), we had to try to book the same airline tickets, and the majority of the students slept the airport. I spent the night before we left getting to know my new roommates, so I just met up with everyone in the morning. When I arrived, for the most part everyone was kinda cranky (it was like six in the morning), and getting to our plane was not made easy. The majority of the group had forgotten that liquids couldn’t be put in a carry-on. No one checked their bags because it would have cost extra. Needless to say people losing their lotions, sunscreens, body washes, etc. only made everyone crankier.
Once we had arrived in Italy, everyone had taken naps on the plane ride, which resulted in much better moods. When we got off the plane there was no one there to stamp our passports. This caused a little disappointment, but the disappointment did not last long due to the fact that we had made it to Italy!
The first thing I needed to do is buy toothpaste, body wash, and other things I couldn’t take on the plane. So I went to a store inside the airport. This store had everything, EVERYTHING, everything I needed behind the counter. Being that I speak English fluent, and Spanish well enough to communicate, I have never been in a situation where I absolutely had no means of communicating through language. I walked up to the counter, without thought, opened my mouth and absolutely nothing came out! My brain absolutely froze, my initial thought was try Spanish, no English, no Spanglish, instead I spoke with my hands. For the first time ever, I understood how people feel coming to a new place and not speaking the language. I must admit that it was really exciting.
Important things to remember
- You do not get stamps for your passport when flying within the European Union.
- Check the luggage guidelines prior to going to the airport.
- Make sure someone has the address of the hotel/hostel prior to leaving Madrid!!!!