Travelling to Your Past in New Places

To have international friendships widens your world. Giving you different ideas and perspectives about the life. Making the world a smaller place.

I made friendships during my 26 years of life from various countries. I lived in Milano/Italy and Newcastle/Australia before coming to Barcelona, 2 years in total. I travelled to more than 25 countries. Meanwhile I was living in Antalya and Istanbul. I was getting in touch with foreigners, helping them, learning from them in order to make friendships. Not like in old times, technology is giving you an opportunity to keep your contacts. These days it is easier to keep in touch with your friends even though they are in other parts of the world with Social Media, E-Mails, WhatsApp etc…

I began my EVS in Barcelona Fundació Catalunya Voluntària on 8th of July. The first 6 weeks I already met many people from different countries in the city and at the office. Meanwhile I had a chance to meet 4 old friends. It was very exciting to see them again and talk about their life and our past in order to recall memories.(Jon from Basque Country(Milano2011), Cristavo from Porto(Antalya2012), Bence from Hungary(Antalya2012), Didac from Barcelona(Milano2011).)

In the first month I had the on-arrival training of EVS in Cadiz. I met with 22 volunteers from 12 different countries who are living all across Spain. At the same time, I was talking with my old friends. So it was the time and opportunity to visit them in different places. I took 9 days off to discover new places in Spain and Portugal in 26.08-03.09.The main plan was to catch up with friends in each town where they live. I contacted my friends and luckily they had some free time to see me and to host me.

I started my journey in Porto on Saturday, 26th of August.I have 2 Portuguese friends; Luisa and Diogo.I know them from Antalya where I studied. They were doing Erasmus there in 2012 .Diogo hosted me for 2 nights in his house.

Luisa invited me to have dinner with her. We made a tour of the city. I found out that Porto looks very similar to Istanbul where I grew up. I tried Porto wine, local food such as: francesinha and Pasteis de Belem. I left Portugal on Monday and went to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain.  I met with Muhammad from Egypt. We went to a sweet small town called Noia where the 2 girls from the same EVS on-arrival training Lucie (France) and Ana (Russia) are living. They hosted me for 2 nights. We had the famous octopus dish called pulpo. Later we visited the famous sights from Santiago. The next stop was A Coruña which is a city in the north of Galicia with a big port. Dora, from Hungary, hosted me there for a night. I took a bus the next morning and went to Gijon in Asturias. Barbara from Czech Republic and Christina from Greece met me there and showed me around the city. I tried the Sidra with them. It was such a nice time to meet again with these new friends from all around the world who are doing EVS in different parts of Spain. I enjoyed their hospitality which I will gladly reciprocate in Barcelona or in Turkey in the future.

Next, I went to the Basque Country to Bilbao on Friday night from Gijon. I met with Bronwyn from England who lives in Barcelona. We decided to see Gaztelugatxe (Dragon Stone) where some parts of the Game of Thrones series were shot. We took a bus from Bilbao to a small town called Bakio where we had to hike to the Dragon Stone. Before hiking we decided to swim and chill on a nice beach of the Cantabrian Sea. We hiked for 3 hours to reach a church on top of the island and finally we rang the bell 3 times of the church which is a local tradition.

We camped in near the Gaxtelugatze during my last night. So, this was the final day of my trip. It was the last, but not the least for sure. My Basque friend Selene, who I shared a flat with in Milano while I was doing my Erasmus in 2011, came to pick us up with her car. We went to a small town called Ondarroa to catch up with Ibon who is another friend I met in Milano. We had lunch together and gave a smile to 6 years ago together! It was such a lovely moment to see my old friends in their hometown. The final destination was San Sebastian. Selene dropped us there and wished us farewell. We took a short walk with Bronwyn around the city and enjoyed the view. It was time to take our flight from Bilbao to Barcelona.

Finally, I arrived in Barcelona with the big smile on my face thinking what an amazing trip I had. The most beautiful memories left from the trip were experiencing the moments with the friends I made from all around the world!

Alican