IMG_4069 IMG_4055 IMG_4046 IMG_4041 IMG_4074 Belchite. Zaragoza.

Hello friends! My name is Madeleine Guiard and I am a sophomore nursing major at Illinois Wesleyan University, studying abroad with Barcelona SAE!

A few weekends ago, my school group and I traveled to Zaragoza for the weekend! We took a bus from Barcelona, which took about four hours. On the way, we watched Inside Out and Vicky Cristina Barcelona to pass the time. When we arrived, we all ate lunch together at a restaurant and I was able to try jamón ibérico for the first time. It was not what I expected, and as a pleasant surprise exceeded my expectations. I am excited to search for more during my stay in Barcelona! After lunch, we went on a guided tour of the city’s main central square and were able to see the inside of the Cathedral-Basilica of our Lady of the Pillar, the Cathedral of the Savior of Zaragoza, as well as the outside of the city hall. We also had the opportunity to take a few quick pictures on the old stone bridge. Our tour guide explained to us that Zaragoza was called “the windy city,” which was a little taste of home!

Afterward, we were free to go explore the Zaragoza on our own. My friends and I scoured the city to find an Italian restaurant. After we stuffed ourselves full of carbs, we searched for something to do. We stumbled upon some live music! The band happened to be from the United States and they were awesome, we had a really good time dancing along.

The next day, my group and I went on another guided tour to visit the Aljaferia Palace. It was beautiful inside: it looked like a castle! It was super interesting to see the different influences in the decorations inside. Next, we got to see a museum about an old amphitheater that was excavated in Zaragoza. We then had time for a quick lunch after and then hopped back on the bus towards Barcelona.

We stopped about halfway for a visit to the ghost town of Belchite. Our tour guide told us all about the town’s significant role in the Spanish civil war, and about how it’s a visible lesson to all Spaniards of what happens when you resist the government. It was very eerie, especially with everything that’s happening with current politics in Barcelona regarding Catalunya. We arrived back in Barcelona in the evening and I spent all of Sunday recovering, digesting everything I learned and researching more information about Zaragoza and Belchite. It was a beautiful city, but I’m glad to be living in Barcelona!