Last weekend – March 5-8 – I went on a trip with Maria, Mike, and Elisa to Barcelona. We left Thursday night on a charter bus from Florence at 10pm and arrived in Barcelona approximately 13 hours later. On the bus ride there Elisa and I sat in front of this 6 foot 3 guy who was so long-legged that Elisa and I couldn’t recline our seats. I did a little bit, but Elisa couldn’t at all. I took a Zzzquil and actually got some pretty good sleep, but I woke up almost every 1-2 hours to move my legs because my knees hurt.
Once we arrived in Barcelona, we walked to the hostel St. Christopher’s Inn and had their leftover breakfast of slices of meat and cheese, bread rolls, and some bobo tasting coco puff-like cereal. The hostel itself was pretty neat, with a foosball table and crates with cushions on top and such. The room had 6 bunk beds that were built into the wall with privacy curtains on each bunk and a reading light in the wall and a pull out metal drawer underneath big enough to fit a suitcase and you could lock it if you had your own lock. The only bad thing is the wifi was horrible and you were lucky if you got a connection for 5 minutes, so as a result I had to use a majority of my data to use for google maps because the place was HUGE.
Side note here on wifi use while traveling. Everyone always seems to be looking for wifi wherever we go as if we’ve been in the desert for the past 40 days and a water bottle is going to pop out of their phones. Everyone must have some crazy social lives because when I get wifi I don’t really know what to do with it. I basically check my email, close it, then scroll through my phone pointlessly and go “well that was nice,” and then turn my wifi back off. Meanwhile everyone else is staring at their phone like they just found the meaning of life or the cure to cancer on it.
Friday morning we went on a walking tour around the city that was actually really neat and ended on the very busy, touristy street of Las Rambles, which is actually where I stayed on my trip to Barcelona 6 years ago. The city has a LOT of history, especially involving wars and their Catalan pride. Apparently Barcelona back in the day was technically a part of the region of Catalunya (and still is) so the city’s main language actually isn’t Spanish, it is Catalan. Dinner menus were often in Catalan, Spanish, and then English as the third option (at least at the authentic places). There was a lot involved in the tour, so I’ll attach pictures here and put some descriptions under some of them if I can recall the stories behind them. Also throughout my trip to Barcelona and pretty much anywhere, I liked to take pictures of fast food places to see how far we’ve invaded into Western culture and I also enjoy taking pictures of all the times the Super Couple is always speed walking in front of the group.
This is a structure representing the record for the tallest Human Tower. (Its a crazy dangerous tradition; worth a good youtube search!)
This is a church Gaudi visited every Sunday while he was working on the Sagrada Familia. The only place he went to when not locked in his room for 7 years. All the marks on the bottom and on the walls the way up is actually due to remnants of bombs dropped during WWII.
This window is argued to be one of the Top 5 largest rose windows in the world. Its part of a church built in dedication to a pine tree which supposedly had the face of the Virgin Mary on it.
Super ancient Roman burial ground discovered in the mid 1900s.
Cathedral ofSaint Eulalia, a 13 year old girl who the Romans symbolically tortured in 13 ways as punishment for being christian.
After our tour we went to Dunkin Coffee (not Dunkin Donuts for some reason, same place though). I got an over priced donut that didn’t taste that great, but then again nothing like that really does in Europe. But I couldn’t resist because the donut I got looked like the cookie monster. I think that’s all the explanation I need. Dunkin is also right next to the infamous market, Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. If I lived by there I would be a lot healthier and a lot skinnier. I would definitely not be eating this bag of m&ms right now. From the market, which was filled with every fresh food you could ever want and these delicious 1 euro smoothies, we walked to Barcelona’s beach (much much farther than the 15min our tour guide told us it would take to get there -_-). The beach was a bit chilly and windy, but it was sunny and beautiful with these cool stone statue lounge bench things we laid back on for a good while, just enjoying the utter unrealism of my life at this point.
thats sea urchins btw!!!!
The beach was so far away we didn’t make it back in time to go with the guides to visit the Sagrada Familia. However, this did give us the time to sit down and have a delicious nacho lunch we devoured in less than 5 min before we headed out. Getting to the Sagrada Familia at first was a bit overwhelming and confusing, but once you get your ticket, find the correct line, and hop on your first train, the system is quite easy to get the hang of. After the Sagrada Familia, we eventually found our way to one of Gaudi’s other famous buildings, Casa Batlio. After dinner at this delicious authentic restaurant called Oregins Elisa’s friend took us to who lives in Barcelona, we visited a really neat bar called the Dow Jones. At Dow Jones, prices of drinks fall up and down in reflection of the American stock market. For instance, when you buy a drink, the price of it will rise and the price of another will fall. Also every once in a while an alarm will go off and yellow lights will flash indicating a stock market “crash” where all the prices are dropped. And there was this guy at the Dow Jones who just kept yelling “politics!!!”
I just thought this bar name was hilarious
SOOOO 962 words later and we are hitting day 2, I know, quite a doozy. I’ll try to make this one shorter.
In the morning we had a yummy, much larger breakfast with fresh, warm round rolls, a larger variety of cereals, some greek yogurt, coffee, and more fruit than before (Yumm!). We embarked early for a trip to Gaudi park with a group of other students who were traveling with bus2alps. We had to take the metro halfway there and then walked the other half to Gaudi Park. I didn’t take a picture, probably because I was so taken aback, but if you take the side entrance like we did, there is a very steep hill and 3 SETS OF STAIRS (God I hate them) before you reach the entrance. The monumental (mosaic basically) part of the park costs 7 euro to go inside and is pretty small, but that view you see in google images, is basically what you’re paying for. Part of it was unfortunately under construction so it kind of ruins any potential for super awesome pictures with the towers in the background, but oh well. The part I was most excited about, and I think far too many people don’t appreciate is the climb above. There are so many paths above that section of the park with gorgeous views of the whole entire city. When I last visited several years ago in 2010 with my family I was too afraid to climb this mound in the corner of the park with a cross on top, it is essentially the highest point of the park. When I was younger I was too afraid to climb to the top because the stairs have a tiny railing halfway up, but then they kind of just disappear and you could pretty much fall off the super cramped top at any moment. This time I was determined to face my fears and climb to the top and I DID. Although, it was by no means graceful. Half the time i was on my knees or sliding on my butt to go up and down the stairs or just standing there with my knees locked. I don’t really like the picture of my at the top, but I wanted proof I was there so I will post it anyway^-^ I also attached a picture of the most massive vending machine I have ever seen. They are located at the entrance to many of the metro stations.
Okay this is getting long… so after Gaudi Park we went to a day party for this weekend music festival called Springfest at this club on the beach called Opium (there was this super tall black dude who dressed like t-pain and was dressed in all black and gold and was basically ballin and buying everyone alcohol so I got a side picture of him) and travelled to Font Magica of MontJuïc – a huge fountain that lights up and plays music in front of a castle. The fountain was really neat of course, but played some strange music. It played Spanish Spongebob where I kept hearing them call him something Jorge (Hor-hey). They also played the music for Big Time Rush and the Spanish version of “Let It Go.”
There are more things I could say, but I think we can all agree its I’ve written more than enough. If you’ve made it this far congrats trooper!!! Hope you enjoyed the reading! one more trip to post and then I’ll go back to all the things that’ve been happening in Firenze:)