Well since my last post things have been pretty crazy. This past weekend on Friday 11/13 we were set to fly to Paris for the weekend. We had been planing this trip weeks before we left for Barcelona. I have always dreamed of seeing Paris so this was one of the things I was most excited about. We had the whole trip planned out. We were going to start at the Eiffel Tower Saturday morning and spend the entire day going from place to place. On Friday, we had everything ready. We were checked into the airport ahead of time and had our boarding passes printed out. When we got to the airport we realized that our flight had been delayed. We were supposed to take off at 8:25 but our flight now said that it would be 9:00. At that time, everything was fine. The flight was normal, just like any other flight. However when we landed I heard some passengers ask the flight attendant if they missed their connecting flight, because of the delay, was there a place they could they stay. The flight attendant said she just checked her phone when we landed and heard that there had been a terrorist attack in Paris and told the passengers to make sure they made their flight and to not stay in Paris because it was not safe. We were so confused at the time so we just got off the plane with everyone else so that we could figure something out.
As soon as our phones connected to the Wifi in the airport we started receiving messages from our host families. The messages on my phone were from my host dad and he was saying things like "there has been an attack in Paris, take the first flight back, do not go out to the streets, more than 30 killed." We suddenly started to panic. The airport was practically empty, there were very few people around, and all the doors were shut. We started calling everyone that new we were headed to Paris to let them know we were safe. We stopped someone who worked in the airport and asked them what was happening. They said they didn't know much but told us we would have to stay in the airport for the night. They pointed us in the direction of some hotels in the airport so we could try and get a room. Luckily, there was one available and we were able to sleep there for the night. We learned of the severity of the attack and realized that we needed to get back to Barcelona as soon as possible. When we woke up the next morning we went to get our flights switched over and were back in Barcelona by 5:00 on Saturday.
When we got back to Barcelona we decided we needed to do something fun so we went to visit the Magic Fountain of Montjuic as soon as we landed. We took a taxi from the airport to the fountain. This place was absolutely amazing. There is a huge fountain that shoots water into the air in different ways. They use lights to make the water change colors and everything is set to music. We stayed and watched the show and actually had some fun on the weekend that we thought was ruined. That night I went back to my host family's house. I was greeted at the door with hugs from my host parents who were so worried about me the entire time. They have really made me feel like a part of their family and I think this is the greatest benefit of this program. We are not in Barcelona doing this on our own. We have a family who cares about us and wants to make sure we are safe. If it wasn't for my family here in Barcelona, I would have consider leaving the program and going back to the United States.
On Sunday we decided to not waste the day so we planned to go to this park we had been hearing about. We took the bus to Parc Guell. This park was designed by the famous Antoni Gaudi and was originally supposed to be a neighborhood. It is full of trails where you can hike through the different exhibits created by Gaudi. We also took a tour of his home that is built in the park. When you climb to the top of the Mountain ridge you can see all of Barcelona. It is the most amazing view I have ever seen. We spent the entire day walking around the park and enjoying the exhibits.
This weekend we have a trip planned for Rome, Italy. As of now, we are still planning on going even though we are a little apprehensive. We decided that we don't want to let this tragedy affect the things we have planned for our International Student Teaching experience. We are hoping that everything works out and this trip gives us the experiences we were hoping to fine in Paris.
The only part of Paris we were able to see. This was when we were flying into Paris that night. We had no idea of the horror that was currently happening below us.
These pictures are from the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc.
These are from Parc Güell.