Hola Amigos! 🙂
Julissa, Kelly, and I embarked on our first trip this weekend, to Barcelona! We left for Gatwick Airport at 3:30 in the morning, because we had to catch the train to take us to our 6:55am flight! We arrived in beautiful Barcelona at around 10:30am. Julissa’s family friend, Nick, was letting us to stay in one of his hotel rooms because he was in Barcelona on a business trip, but we couldn’t go to the hotel until 5 pm. So, the tres amigos set out to explore Barcelona by foot!
On Friday, we walked for literally 7 hours all around the city. The bus from Barcelona’s airport dropped us off at Plaça de Catalyuna from where we walked down La Rambla which had a bunch of tents and stands that sold gelato, flowers, leather goods, and of course FC Barcelona gear. We were still carrying our travel bags with us, so I felt like a true backpacker! We stopped and got lunch at a cute little tapas bar that we found hidden within the narrow winding streets of the Barri Gotic area of town. While walking around after lunch exploring the small narrow streets, we stumbled upon the Santa Maria del Mar church. Entrance was free, and it was a beautiful little church that had tall, dark, vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows. On our long hike to the hotel, we walked through Parc de La Ciutadella, and found this amazing, tropical-like fountain in the middle of the park!
We finally made our way to the hotel. after stopping by the beach, and met up with Nick. We went out for dinner to a cute little outdoor restaurant, El Glop de La Rambla, where I had my first ever sangria and seafood paella! Let me tell you, I could eat seafood paella for days! I had never had it before, and trying it in Spain was definitely the right choice. That night after dinner Kelly, Julissa, and I went out to a hole in the wall bar called “Chupitos,” which is spanish for Shots. The bar had over 580 different types of shots, from the Harry Potter shot to the Boy scout shot. The bar is an experience in and of itself, the bartenders put on a show for each of the different shots, which usually included setting the bar on fire.
The next day, us girls and Nick decided to do the tourist-y thing and took the open top bus tour around Barcelona, and got off at the different sites. We first went to the Picasso Museum which was in the Barri Gotic district. It was a cool experience walking through the exhibit and seeing how his style changed over his lifetime. The museum even had on a special display some works by Van Gough and Cezanne! After the museum, and an AMAZING fish lunch down by the beach, we made our way over to the Temple de La Sagrada Familia. The basillica’s construction began in 1880, and still is not finished! But still, I was speechless and I took my tour throughout the amazing church. Sagrada Familia is a beautiful, modern church and is unlike any gothic or classical church I have seen. Antoni Gaudi, the Catalan architect who designed the church, really wanted to make use of the Mediterranean light and the way he utilized that was through the infinite amount stained and clear glass windows. It creates a breathtaking effect, as well as making it easier to appreciate the highly detailed architecture through the church. The two outside faces of the church were designed in two different ways. The north face of the church is dedicated to Christ’s birth and shows signs of life and happiness, while the south face depicts his death and resurrection. Visiting the Sagrada Familia was definitely one of the main highlights of my trip to Barcelona.
The rest of the bus tour took us all around Barcelona, and we got to see more building that were designed by Gaudi and we even got to go past FC Barcelona’s stadium! Kelly, Julissa, and I were stuffed from our delicious fish lunch, so for dinner we went to a tapas bar in La Rambla, where we met and had a two hour conversation with a couple from England! We went on the Barcelona Bar Crawl that night which was such a fun time, and where we got to meet a lot of other study abroad and traveling students. On Sunday, us girls were a little tired, and our plane didn’t leave until 9:55pm, so we spent the day enjoying the 85 degree weather on the sandy beach. (Definitely a lot better than Brighton’s pebble beach!) I felt like I was transported to a Caribbean island resort! Now I’ve officially swam in the English Channel AND the Mediterranean Sea! (I uploaded pictures from Barcelona to the Pictures tab, so check them out!)
Going to Barcelona was a great experience and I would definitely want to go back to Spain and visit other cities. The whole traveling experience, like getting to and from the airport and into the city center from the airport, was a little daunting at first but now it’s something we know we can handle and isn’t that hard to plan. I was proud of us for figuring everything out on our own. We’re just growing up so fast aren’t we? 🙂
Next weekend, IFSA-Butler has organized a trip to the Lake District which is at the very north of England, where we will be hiking, gorge scrambling, and doing a bunch of outdoor adventure activities. I’m excited to get outside the city of London and have the chance to visit other parts of England. Like in the United States, there’s more to the country than just New York City. Can’t wait to keep you guys updated!