Hola Barcelona

After our successful adventure in Dublin for St. Patrick's, I hopped on a RyanAir flight down to the Iberian Peninsula. Catalunya was going to be my home for the next two weeks. I was particularly looking forward to Barcelona because it's the first time I've been able to stay put for more than 6 days at a time for the last 3 months. This time, I get 13 days before moving on! For my first several days here, I ran around like a crazy person once more to make sure everything was in line for our upcoming tour. This was going to be the first Barcelona tour ever for WSA, and we had two sold out weekends coming up: 22 for the first tour, and 28 for the second! The demand for this city is incredible, and rightfuly so.

I lined up our walking tour for Friday to take us through the magnificent Block of Discord, and the unbelievable Sagrada Familia. Each time I go into that structure I find something else to be blown away by. I'm really looking forward to the completion date which is said to be in 2029, the 100th year anniversary of Gaudi's death. No one actually knows if we're on pace for the completion. As the architect himself always said "My client doesn't operate on a timeline".

For Saturday, we explored the brilliant las Ramblas and went on a cultural scavenger hunt through the lively Boqueria Market--incredible. I then took everyone on a stroll into the Barri Gotic which is packed by little boutique shops and restaurants. I'm not a soap guy, but I found this wonderful saponeria where they actually make the soap in house, so I was sure to bring my group there. They have all flavors from Cafe to Melon. That night, I took my group on a Tapas crawl where we visited one of the most quintessential student tapas bars in Barcelona. We followed that with a visit to a more modern tapas place packed with locals. After a stop at Amorino--possibly the best gelato chain on earth--we caught a Flamenco show. I went in skeptical and left amazed. The restless leg syndrom on the guy alone has to be a world record, let alone when he's actually concentrating on stomping his feet!

The next morning we attemped to catch a glimpse of the traditional Saradana dances but to no avail. No one was doing the dances in front of their usual spot at the cathedral. Maybe next time! All in all, it was an incredible weekend! Thanks everyone!


Lauren Wallender, Elon University

Happy Backpackers

I definitely have WSA to thank for my exceptional experience in Amsterdam. One would think 4 days isn't enough to tour a city but WSA facilitated an optimum weekend full of sightseeing and fun. Amsterdam may have a notorious reputation for its lax drug and sex culture but there’s so much more to the city. Luckily, our tour guide, Arthur, native to the Netherlands, steered us away from the tourist traps and showed us around his beloved city, highlighting all of its gems. I'd definitely like to try other WSA trips in the future. It's hassle free traveling with an awesome itinerary - nice that the tour guides are flexible with the schedule and willing to cater the itinerary to the group's interest! Highly recommend WSA to any student with only a weekend to see a city.

Lauren Wallender, Elon University ~ Fall 2014

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