Tossa del Mar is a beach town about an hour and a half bus ride from Barcelona. It was absolutely beautiful. The added benefit of lying on the beach all day for three days straight (besides the tan) was that I got to do a lot of thinking. Why am I here? What do I want to do with Barcelona? With my life, in general?
I realized that studying abroad in Barcelona really does feel like a vacation. It was a running joke throughout the Tossa del Mar trip. We realized that we were taking a beach vacation in a touristy small town away from a beachy, touristy city. Everyone felt like we were taking a vacation from our vacation. (After we got back, everyone was so exhausted that we needed a vacation from our vacation from vacation.)
The best find was our hotel. The room was a hundred and twenty euro for two nights for a room with six beds in it — cramped, but not unbearable. For ten euro a person, we got a full-fledged budget resort filled with kids running around and its own mini-golf course (and oversized chess board). If you ever find yourself in Tossa del Mar, the Hotel San Eloy is something to look for, even if it is a bit far from the beach.
Despite the fact that it was touristy, Tossa del Mar was incredibly beautiful. The beach that we napped on all day is right next to a huge fortress — a real medieval city — that’s now full of delicious restaurants to eat at. Five of us had the epic, three-hour-long tapas dinner where we drank three pitchers of sangria de cava and didn’t ask for the bill until 1 a.m. It was such beautiful weather outside, and the food was so delicious (and reasonably priced!) that it was hard to leave.
However, studying abroad for a year, rather than just four months like everyone else, means that it feels much less like a vacation to me. This is going to be my life, and even though I desperately, terribly want to be back at Northwestern this quarter, I can’t. Studying abroad, doing linguistics research — as fun as it all sounds, I can’t back out now. This year is an investment in my future, not a vacation. I’m just going to have to buckle down, albeit in a very beautiful place.