Thursday, January 12, 2012

Post 1: The Journey to Bilbao

I've completed the longest distanced journey in my life and am now in Bilbao, Spain!  The trip has been very interesting so far, starting off with my flights.  Maggie (my travel buddy to Spain) and I made the long flight from Chicaaaago to Paris feel quick by talking, watching Moneyball (the in-flight movie), and napping.

Arriving into the Paris airport was a little bit of a pain in the arse; however, I did see the most beautiful sunrise as we were landing.  We had to go through a bunch of customs lines and then take a bus and then watch a screen for our departure gate to Bilbao to show up.  Some genius there thought it would be a good idea to only post the gate 20 minutes before boarding time.  Also, Paris smelled a little funky and not in a good way, but many people say the same thing about Chicago so I will definitely make a trip to Paris during my European adventure.  While in the Paris airport we did some solid people watching for a few hours.  People in Europe definitely do not dress like Americans.  While in most cases this is a good thing because it means that people do not wear sweat pants or t-shirts (and I mean NO ONE wears them), some people wore some of the weirdest pieces of clothing that I have ever seen!  I think the all pink velour outfit worn by anyone (let alone a man in this case) is a definite fashion no no.  I also saw some of the weirdest denim washes that I have ever laid my eyes on.

Upon arriving into Bilbao, I immediately started falling in love with my surroundings.  Through the planes windows I saw a beautiful body of water, mountains, and plenty of green.  When Maggie and I exited the plane we had to walk down steps into the arms of mother nature.  There was a pleasant aroma in the air, a beautiful and cloudless sky, and a temperature that felt just right.  I picked up my luggage, which was already waiting for me at baggage claim and met my host mom, Ana.

Ana immediately started speaking to me in exclusively Spanish.  I was slightly (actually completely) freaked out until we finished lunch right outside of my Spanish home and I realized that I can speak Spanish.  This realization has been pretty useful so far.  I have no idea what I ate, but I can tell you that it was delicious.  The bread was also very pleasing to my taste.  After lunch, I got a tour of the Ana's apartment.  My room has walls just like my sister Casey's at home which is kind of nice because it reminds me of her.  I have more closet and drawer space than I know what to do with.  Also, as much as I hate to say it, my Mom was wrong; the shower had really good water pressure, almost too good and slightly painful for face washing.

Ana and I chatted the rest of the afternoon and evening while watching some Spanish TV (I think TV is definitely one of those things that America just does better).  For dinner she made me a unique but tasty variation of pork.  She served it with nice bread, an apple (I think this is because I told her I like to have fruit or vegetables with dinner), and a mini pizza.  It was all good, but I took only a small bite of the pizza (I'm from Chicago...I have pizza standards and this pizza was not meeting them).  Plus, I'm lactose intolerant and therefore avoid cheese as much as possible.  

After all of these travels, I felt more than ready to go to bed but forced myself to stay awake until a normal hour to go to bed so that my body starts to get used to the 7 hour time difference between Bilbao and Chicago.  I was sad to have missed my sister's 17th birthday, but am excited to start my new journey in Europe.

I hope this post isn't too overwhelmingly long!  I apparently had a lot to say!


  1. Brooke! I'm so glad you're blogging because I'm going to creep your every move. :) I appreciated your use of 'arse', enjoyed the fashion tips, and agree with the Chicaaago standards for pizza. One thing - Spain is all about ham, eggs, potatoes, and cheese. Try 'lactaids' (or something similar) to help with the lactose intolerance (a few of my friends on my trip last summer used those and it made their lives a lot better...). Just a tip! :) Have an amazing timeee!! Buena suerte! :)

  2. Glad you decided to do this Brooke! Thank you for sharing your journey. I should have done this for my trip to and from Guam... you definitely see everything when traveling! Have fun. Be safe!