thanksgiving paella

I woke up this morning 5am to catch a flight and, since then, have spent the whole day working on essays and projects.  Nevertheless, I am in such a good mood because I got to spend the last week hanging out with my wonderful family!!

Last Saturday, my mom and grandmother came to visit me in Copenhagen. It was so much fun getting to play tour guide in my own city, sharing all my new favorite places with the two of them. Sunday was my grandmother’s birthday, and we celebrated by visiting the Kronborg Castle (Hamlet’s castle) and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

Even though I had classes to attend on Monday and Tuesday, we made the most of their time in Copenhagen. This included an afternoon in Tivoli, of course. We also got to wander around the Christmas markets–a charming new addition to the city streets. Even though it was freezing out, we kept warm with mulled wine!

My family was also able to share a meal with my host mom. My host mom, Gitte, was so generous and welcomed my mom and grandmother into her home for dinner. It was so fun watching my real mom and Danish mom get to meet, and I can’t wait for my host mom to come visit Nashville so that we can take a turn hosting her!

During the second half of the week, I didn’t have any class. Woo hoo for Thanksgiving break! And so, on Wednesday morning, we traveled from Copenhagen to Barcelona where we met up with my dad who had flown in from Nashville. We spent the rest of the week together sightseeing, enjoying the warm weather, and eating some amazing food.

For Thanksgiving this year, we spent the day enjoying the beautiful architecture of the famous Catalan Modernist Antoni Gaudí. In the morning, we visited a park he designed with gorgeous views of the city below.


And in the afternoon, we visited his famous cathedral, Sagrada Familia. Let me tell you, I’ve seen a whole lot of cathedrals during my semester in Europe, but this one takes the cake.  Even under construction, Sagrada Familia was truly stunning, and totally unlike any cathedral I have ever seen.  I’ll have to go back when it’s (supposed to be) finished in 2026.

Even though we skipped the turkey this year, we certainly didn’t go hungry on Thanksgiving. The day was filled with tapas, paella, cava, and churros.

After spending Friday morning at the Picasso museum, I went Black Friday shopping for the first time in my life. Our hotel was near the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, and the streets were lined with fun and interesting shops. Many of them were having Black Friday sales even though they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Luckily, it was not nearly as crowded as Black Friday in the United States!

On our last day in Barcelona, we went outside the city limits to visit the 1000-year-old Montserrat monastery and mountain range.

Next, we visited the coastal village of Sitges where I was able to see the Mediterranean for the first time. Even though Spain was much warmer than Copenhagen, it was definitely too cold to swim.  Nevertheless, sitting on the coast and enjoying our final tapas made for the perfect end to the perfect vacation.