Term two has come and gone, and Spring Break has finally arrived! I cannot believe how quickly the second term flew by, but it didn’t pass without its fair share of stress. We had a slightly lower workload than with the first term, but the lingering stress of finding an internship has added enough pressure to make the total load feel pretty much comparable. As it stands now, I have a number of outstanding applications, a few rejections, and at least one interview lined up in the upcoming week. It has been a rough road to say the least and I just hope that soon things will start happening (ie, more interviews and eventually offers!) so I can focus more fully on school. It is a hard situation to be in, but I know I am not alone and that the state of the economy is not helping things much. I don’t want to give any specifics to my hunt until later, but I will just say the world of banking isn’t looking to welcoming these days and I am anticipating possibly taking a stab at industry for the summer…but we will really just have to wait and see.
Back to school, I can say that overall the second term was a mixed bag and I don’t have any results yet, but I’m fairly confident I did not fail anything. The classes were not the most exciting ever, but in the end I think I developed an appreciation for the subject matter I hadn’t previously cared much for – such as International Taxation and Operations Management. International Taxation was every bit as complex as it sounds, but after the final I think I realized I actually found it interesting. Operations Management is something extremely important in business that I had previously zero exposure to, but that I developed a bit of an interest in by the end. The rest of my classes were all just fine and I really do not have much to share about them at this time.
Now, to Spring Break! When I finally completed my exam for Taxation last Wednesday afternoon, I was very ready to give my brain some much needed rest and come Thursday morning, Blanca and I headed anxiously to the airport to kick off our latest round of travels. First stop: Lisbon, Portugal.
I’d never been to Portugal, but had long wanted to visit. Blanca and I were blessed with beautiful weather and ample time to see the sights at an easygoing pace. The city itself felt much more like a busy little town and less like a Capital city, so I think this helped us to slow our pace a bit from life in Barcelona. The mosaic stones composing the walkways throughout town was what struck me first, as I found them to be among the most impressive things I have ever seen. The details in the patterns and designs are laid throughout the city and it is hard to appreciate it all while walking atop them all day. However, once you get to a point where you have an aerial view of some of the streets, you begin to see the artwork that are these walkways and you see just how incredible it all really is. Aside from this, the buildings were beautiful and, well, I’ll let some of my pictures do the rest of the talking.
After spending two days in Lisbon, we decided to take the advice of many folks and make a day-trip to Sintra to round out our stay in Portugal. Many Sintra tour packages were offered from Lisbon for as little as 35 euros per person…but we pulled off the trip for even cheaper. We walked into the train station and for a whopping 3.30 euros each, got round trip tickets to Sintra – the train leaves every ten minutes. After the 35 minute ride, we found ourselves in the quaint little town and began our tour with a quick snack and ventured our way through the historic centre. From here, we paid 4 euros each and got round trip tickets up the hill to the Moorish Castle overlooking town and spent a good three hours hiking the stairs and enjoying the views. Below are some of the pictures from our day in Sintra, which was well worth the journey and highly recommended!
Finally, we packed up and headed to Madrid for the last two days of our trip and hit the ground running once there. We navigated the subway from the airport and only spent 4 euros getting to our hotel – I’m certain the cab ride would have been at least 25 euros. Once checked in, we headed out and covered as much ground as we could and I took as many night shots as I could muster so we could take our last day easy as tourists. The end result was a pretty fast-paced visit, but since I had already visited back in 2003 I already kinda knew my way around. This helped a bit and although it was my second visit, the city was just as impressive this time around. Again, here are some pictures from our two-day flurry in Madrid.
Finally, we packed our bags and headed back home to Barcelona where we have essentially been recovering and planning how to spend the rest of our Spring Break. Overall it was a great trip and I’m looking forward to the next, as always. Hoping to visit Prague or Tenerife, but we will have to wait and see.