After traveling all around Europe for months and eating croquettes like it was my day job, I finally felt like a true Spanish local. I’d say I feel like a Catalonia local, but I’m still getting my Spanish conjugations right before I can even think about learning Catalan. I ate my way through almost every city on my bucket-list and left a little room in my stomach to extend because I’m not ready to say adios. Born and raised on an Island they call Miami Beach, I couldn’t think of a better place to extend to than two islands right off the coast of Spain.
First up was a quick 40 minute plane ride to Mallorca. After accidentally booking the wrong flight from my friends, I had a few hours to explore the island on my own. Turns out, there’s not so much to explore around our side of the island unless you want to check out the beach from a little further down. Once Emily finally arrived, we grabbed lunch at a cafe on the beach and ate extremely mediocre chicken fingers and fries. But hey, even the worst chicken fingers are never bad. The real winner winner chicken dinner was the bright blue water and crystal clear skies. No seaweed, no humidity, just different shades of beautiful blues.
After doing some research, we were pumped to check out a beach called Playa del Ingles. After exploring this side of the island for a while, we cam across a secret cave that looked like a picture from a green screen. Different from our side of the island, the water here was far from clear. Instead, it had insane shades of greens, golds and blues. It looked as if Gaudi flew from Barcelona to Mallorca to paint these waters himself. We were so captivated by its’ natural beauty that we decided to come back here the next day to say our goodbyes.
Next, we set sail towards the coast of Morocco to a much bigger and farther away island called the Canary Islands. Even though it’s considered a part of Spain, it felt like we were in a completely new continent. The colors, the people and the atmosphere were all so vibrant, but what really blew me away was what the island had before all of that. By chance, we chose to stay at the southern tip of the island called Maspalomas Gran Canaria, and to this day it’s the best dumb luck I’ve had. From one direction, we saw a gorgeous beach, nothing like Mallorca, but beautiful all in its own.
We looked to one side of the beach and saw a mountain, then looked behind us and BOOM… sand dunes? I was blown away and couldn’t think of any other beach in the world that had a set up like this. It was so crazy to walk from the water to what felt like a desert… One second we were on the beach, the next it was like the Sahara. As someone who grew up on an island, it’s pretty hard for me to visit a new beach that genuinely blows me away, but WOW. It was love at first sight and we sat on that beach everyday until it was finally time to go.
It hadn’t hit me yet that the end of this trip was the end of my time living in Europe. I couldn’t believe how fast these few months went by and how much I got to see and experience. We packed up our stuff to head back to Barcelona to say a final goodbye to the most amazing city in the world.
We ended our world tour with my all time fav spot, Bo de B then took a final stroll through my ‘hood in the Gothic Quarter. As we headed to the airport the next morning, I couldn’t believe I had to go back home, where “Barthelona” is not appropriate pronunciation in the Cuban language. I met so many incredible people, visited countries completely different from one another, and was literally handed the world for a semester. I can’t thank my parents enough for letting me frolic all over Europe on their dime and giving me the most incredible experience I have yet to endure. Barthelona, te amo… I’ll be back for you.