A BCN Halloween, Shrek n’ Sauerkraut in Prague & Crazy Croc-Wearing Roommates in Dublin!!!!

Hola hola hola kweenie bops!! This past month has been muy divertido. I’ve traveled to new places, been reunited with old friends and have truly been trying to live up to the YOBO motto bc you truly only Barthelona ONCEEEE. Time has been flying by here and it’s crazy to think that ANOTHER month has gone by so quickly, yet so much has happened since my last post!

Everything from Halloween, a trip to Prague, a trip to Dublin, concerts and friends visiting, and all the meals and to-and-fro’s and things scattered in between are already now just memories!!! :(  ‘Tis truly a crazy. BUT there’s only so many more protests that the Catalan’s can keep marching in, only so much more space in my passport to be stamped, only so many more absences I can use for my 9am Spanish class and only so many weeks left of this whirlwind adventure before I’m back in the States! It’s surreal and sad that my semester abroad, something I’ve been looking forward to since practically  middle school is so soon coming to an end, but I’m also so excited for home and everything that awaits me at Tulane and in NOLA!

Did I fail to mention this incident in my last blog post? What a shame. I have learned that you should not pet dogs you don’t know in this city because they are not used to the constant attention that is given to American dogs by randos like me on the street. Apparently Europeansdon’t feel the need to talk to and pet every furry animal they pass on a leash. I was enjoying Bloody Mary’s with Sarah in between classes watching the hot skateboarders skirtin around and this dog approaches me, so NATURALLY I invade its personal space and what happens next? Tt pees on my backpack. Honestly I hate invasion of personal space too so I understand.

Barcelona is a poppin’ place to visit during Halloween weekend for abroad students apparently lol, so lots of my Tulane friends came here to celebrate. It was also the first Halloween that I didn’t really dress up for, which was sad bc I luv a creative ass costume. None of my friends nor I prepared in time and also didn’t know if people here even dress up. BUT, Taylor and I went to a popular bar for abroad kids called George Payne which I usually don’t like BUT they were doing free face painting!!!! And we got these poppin designs……

S/o Queen Olivia Johnson for spending a good ten minutes photographing me and Taylor, that’s truly what friends are for<3

Other than this day my only attempt at a costume was Halloween night dressed as the element of fire. I used a really bizzare Youtube makeup tutorial, tied a literal shoe lace around my neck bc it had fire designs on it smh and wore a red halter and honestly at the end of the process it just looked like I was a goth experimenting with a new makeup look :/ :/ :/

Taylor being Black Swan KWEEN and me basically looking like I was trying out an “abstract” new makeup trend :/

But life is FULL of failures and botched attempts and THAT’S what makes it interesting!!!!  Like the time five of my friends and I showed up to a really cool bar called Sor Rita for Tarot Card readings and realized we came 2 hours late and the other time where Taylor and I went back to a bar for the second time in a day to attend the free salsa night class and the teacher canceled it :/ AND the time where my friend Cairo and I thought we purchased three nights in a hostel room with two other female roommates but we open our door at midnight to a pair of giant Men’s crocs and realized this just wasn’t the case. That last example was DEFINITELY the most unfortunate but all in all, no experience is perfect and sometimes the blemishes are what make for the best experiences and the lessons learned and the funniest stories and WHO doesn’t love the fact that unfortunate experiences always turn into funny ass stories!?

Halloween was fun and lively in Barcelona, but all in all it’s just not the same as the crazy, funky festive Halloween I’ve experienced in NOLA these past 2 years. One thing I’ve definitely been sad to miss abroad is celebrating holidays that either aren’t as big in Europe or aren’t celebrated at all. For Thanksgiving my friends and I went to an American-themed beer hall because it was one of the only places serving a Thanksgiving buffet and honestly the stuffing was delicious af. But it still wasn’t the same as celebrating in home and cooking the food with my mom :(

But once again you gotta make the BEST of what you got!!!!

Thanksgiving din feat. Christine and Danica!!!

There might not have had a pumpkin patch but we got DIA EXPRESS MERCADO coming in CLUTCH w this swaggy, affordable pre stickered pumpkin

Might not have been able to go to a scary Halloween maze but I got these two kweens who GENUINELY alarm me all the time!!!! :-) 

Didn’t have the gorgeous car-window views of the decadently decorated Garden District NOLA house but got da local Patisseria and this queen looking MUY GUAPA as a sassy Pumpkin!!!! 

Haley and Maddie smiling in front of DELICIOUS Da Greco pasta

fun times on boats

Ariana and Jack loungin on a tapestry in beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella!!! Olivia and I not featured

Probably one of my favorite Nasty Monday’s thus far- NASTYWEEN!!!! just the spooky scary part of Halloween I was missin’

The week after Halloween I visited Maddie in her city, PRAHAAAA!!! Naturally, I only packed one sweater and a jean jacket with me to Barcelona because I’m very rational, so the 40 degree weather in Prague was a bit of a challenge. But thanks to layering and borrowing Maddie’s jacket and her gloves, which I accidentally took back with me lmao sorry, the weather was bearable.

Prague was absolutely GORGEOUS and such a charming fairy-tale like little city. I knew it was small, but I was very shocked when we LITERALLY walked to the other side of the street from Maddie’s apartment and arrived at our brunch restaurant. As Maddie explained to me and we also experience, Czech people do not really like Americans. There were definitely some sassy ass Czechs making fun of us for reasons we really couldn’t understand. Definitely a strange sense of humor in Eastern Europe, if any at all.

Other than the Czechs lmao I LOVED Prague. It was awesome to really see the fall to winter transition in a city, because Barcelona didn’t have the gorgeous changing of the leaves phase and I got to see the last bits of that in Prague. The architecture was like nothing I have ever seen and at night with the city lights and the sparkling water WOW. We wandered around the Old Town Square, went to an Andy Warhol exhibit, ubered to a couple of closed stores that were very out of the way that I of course found on a random “Alternative Things to do in Prague” website because wtf else would I do, went to the Museum of Communism, a cool farmer’s food and flea market thingy on the river, a pretty cemetery, an awesome rooftop 360 view bar, and some AMAZING restaurants and clubs. And obviously we squeezed in time to watch the first Shrek movie, obviously this doesn’t need an explanation. I also ate several massive Frankfurt sauerkraut dogs late at night because yet again, wtf else would I do. This weekend went by way too quickly, too :(

Whoever took this did NOT do us justice by choosing to take it with flash. This was taken post enjoying a delicious Baileys with coffee and Maddie and I doing a live stream instagram video which only 4 people watched :/

Whoever said Prague has bad food CLEARLY never went to Buddha Bar and got the stunning, perfect spicy tuna crispy rice. Truly took my overall impression of Europe from almost-perfect to spicy tuna on crispy rice-level perfection.

Best Pad Thai EVERRRRR

Frankfurts, as they call them en Europa or as I like to call them Flawless. #nofilterneeded

But of course it’s never truly a BURDEN to come back to Barcelona. Especially since the next Tuesday I saw a Spoon Concert at my FAVORITE place in this city, Apolo!!! liv luv LIVE music.

I’ve formed a somewhat consistent pattern of traveling every other weekend or every two weekends. I think it’s a great method because I barely get any sleep during my time in Barcelona and all the energy and activities involved in weekend travels are NOT any less exhausting. So, I stayed here that next weekend! Taylor and I were the only ones staying, so we were a duo. This was when we attempted to salsa dance, probably ordered the entire menu at Sensi Tapas the best tapas restaurant ever, explored a neighborhood called Poble-Sec with Olivia and stumbled upon a new incredible mall with a literal jazz bar inside, had an awesome brunch at Can Dende, went to the small amusement park called Tibidado up on a mountain on the day all the rides were close OF COURSE, went to some funky flea market events and just lived dat YOBO life.

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^^^ Super cool flea market in Barce where every item was 5 Euro or under!!! Got some super chunky cream hoops and a vintage white flowy button up blouse and Taylor got some funky pants and Christine got a cute headband/sash. YAS u can even shop chic with less than 5 euro!!

Then came DUBLIN!!!!!! Since I had heard amazing things from my friends who had visited about it having a Nashville vibe with all of it’s live music and because I’m 25% Irish AND have a newfound love for beer, it seemed like a good spot to visit. Cairo and I, my sleep-away camp friend of maybe 7 years now spontaneously bought tickets to go and we are SO glad we did because WHAT AN INTERESTING WEEKEND WE HAD.

We fell in love with Dublin and it’s adorable architecture and hilarious people and pub food and all the Christmas decorations that were already set up. However, our start to the weekend WAS NOT what we had planned.

As mentioned earlier, I most definitely thought I purchased the hostel room with two sets of bunk beds that me and Cairo would be sharing with two other females. LITTLE did we know that we had paid for a TRULY unique experience. We arrived at the hostel late Thursday night and walk in to hear background music that easily could have been used in the background of a Clown themed maze at Halloween Horror Nights. Blasting. Next was our check-in. Paired with some offbeat social cues and either a buzz or a high, our concierge Nathan was not any more reassuring. From there it truly became “off”. We ascended the stairs and approach the door to our hostel. Are our roommates sleeping? Are they out on a pub crawl? Who’s to know? We creak open the door and it only took the first glance at the pair of giant Male crocs next to a bedside bottle of wine to know that this would be QUITE the weekend. The same bed was fully covered by a fuzzy blanket that was set-up to provide full privacy which we ALSO thought was a bit excessive for somebody to set up if they’re just visiting…We start uncontrollably laughing which was quite a rude kween move because our roommates were sleeping and suddenly one of them quickly sits up in their bed and stares over at us for a moment. A dark shadow with wavy-ish long hair. Is it a girl or just a European man??? Again, WHO’S TO KNOW. We had to walk outside to finish laughing and then finally went back inside to change into PJ’s, determine that the other roommate was a girl based on her pink suitcase and not a long haired European man, and climb up into our beds to sleep, both of us left with the top bunk of course.

By daylight we FINALLY meet our roommates and find out they are both STAFF members at the hostel! We are relieved because since, just our luck there weren’t any lockers, we knew they wouldn’t be stealing our stuff because they’d get fired. Their names are Dasha and Ricardo and they are both around our age and interning for the hostel and get free housing there. We took a deep sigh of relief from this newfound information, but unfortunately not for long. After we talk to Dasha a bit in the morning and decide she’s pretty normal, she leaves the room to get tea and Ricardo comes back in. We ask Ricardo if he and Dasha are close friends, since Dasha said they are besties and hang out all the time. Ricardo responds, “Oh no. She is not my friend. That girl is a crazy psycho. Why do you think I keep this bottle by my bed?” He picks up his wine bottle and proceeds to drink. Innocent Ricardo from Mexico with the crocs to say such a thing? What could be a worse sign.

Immediately after his warning we notice Dasha’s psychotic behavior, from joking about stealing our clothes when we aren’t here to poisoning the communal Sangria in the hostel to talking to herself to even going in and out of the room in the early mornings six times to presumably pack and unpack clothing from her suitcases, even though she LIVES there…. even NATHAN from the front desk agreed that she’s a wacko!!! Even worse of a sign.

Of course, this gave us EXTRA motivation to get out on the town and explore Dublin!!! We took a Guinness tour and I had my first Guinness, had great meals and Irish food, went to a rooftop bar (clearly this has become an essential aspect of my abroad), shopped and explored different markets and streets, went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, walked through Trinity College, ate the best scones of our life, pub crawled, and had what was and will most definitely be one of the most fun weekends of this semester. So, while we were not hesitant to leave Dasha, Eduardo, poisonous Sangria at the Times Hostel, we were not ready to give Dublin our goodbye :(

This past week/weekend my Tulane KWEEN Emily graced my presence in this beautiful ciudad!!! She came right at the end of a peak I was having here and I was very much crashing, but she motivated me to fight through and make the most of Barcelona before I leave!! I still hadn’t been inside La Sagrada Familia so her visit was an excuse to see that, an excuse to go back to Park Guell which is definitely worth more than a single trip, another go-around of La Boqueria who’s fruit juices and festive food stands never get less charming, and to try a bunch of awesome new restaurants like Japanese-Argentinian fusion King Kokka, some of the BEST italian in this city at BelleBuon and a super cute brunch cafe in my neighborhood, Gracia!

We ALSO did a wine tasting at a place in El Borne which consisted of 5 wines and a little snack plate and it was a full learning experience consisting of observing the wine for it’s color, texture, scent and taste all separately, commenting on the notes of husk and rosemary, smells of red current and brioche that our teacher the level 1 wine sommelier was “picking up”. The first wine we tested I said smelled like Challah and she praised me for this observation because of the yeast in the wine, but that was as far as my success went. Nobody agreed that the second red smelled like a hot dog :/ :/ :/

Lil random taste of NOLA brass in El Borne ❤️

We are READYYY

QUITE the eager girl ^

And then Emily got a tattoo!!!! Wooohoooo exciting!

That’s an excessively substantial amount of information to update all of my reading kweens with for now, but if the sun keeps rising and Apolo keeps hosting Nasty Mondays you can be SURE there’ll be more to talk about soon!!!!

Buenas noches from Europe and Bon Dia to the States,

~ xoxo Ali ~

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