This post comes from Briana Stregiel, currently studying in Bilbao, Spain. Briana is a student at the University of Tampa and is an International Business and Marketing major.
As I said my goodbyes to my little room in Wisconsin, the thoughts of new hellos tugged at my ear. I was about to begin my adventure abroad. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t prepared mentally, or physically. Especially since I had to unload about 7 pounds of my suitcase in front of the whole airport.
My mother and I decided to take an excursion before my first nights in Bilbao began. Madrid was the place to be, so we started there. Exploring the beautiful cobblestone streets and conversing with even more beautiful people was an experience I will hold with me forever. Since we only had four days there, we decided to sightsee and eat as many tapas, as possible. From the Royal Palace to Parque de El Retiro, we tried to see all that we could! Walking along a boat filled pond while my ears hummed with the delicate sounds of street performers, without a doubt will brighten my day. Madrid held up to its reputation, but my heart belongs to my next adventure in Lisbon, Portugal.
If I could recommend any country to travel to for your first time, or anytime for that matter, in Europe I would full-heartedly tell you to go to Lisbon. The people were so welcoming and willing to help with anything that was needed. The view of the ocean was visible from any cobbled cranny you could find between the glorious buildings. Might I add, the buildings were all delicately painted with brilliantly colored tiles. From seafoam greens to ruby reds, Lisbon has a building to match any color palette. Along with the alluring scenery, the food was unimaginable. The seafood is so fresh and there is nothing like it in the world. The sightseeing will blow your mind as well. I suggest a day trip to Sintra and to catch the sunset in the famous beach town of Cascais. The blazing blue is still etched into my mind.
After my adventures with my mother had ceased, it was time to get a grip on reality. My trek to Bilbao started now. My host mom scooped me up at the bus station, I got myself a metro pass and before I knew it, I was in Bilbao. After stressing about classes, my mind was eased from the first day. Everyone was so welcoming and continued to ask me any question they could think of about the United States. The professor even asked me some advice on her English. As I settled into my new home, my travel addiction did not cease to amaze me. I wrote out a list of my top six countries and started to plan. Tune in next time to see where I’ll be.