Sorry for the hiatus… It’s been a busy couple of days.
I went to BARCELONA last weekend! It was absolutely amazing. It was our first trip out of Italy since coming here, so it was a new experience for all of us. I went with my friends Sarah, Caitlin, Emily, Saiena, Christina, James and Erica. It was so strange hopping on a plane for an hour and a half and ending up in another country.
So when we got to Barcelona, we had to navigate our way through the labyrinth of the public transit system. It took us a while, but we finally arrived at Plaça Universitat, which was a plaza close to where we stayed. We set our stuff down and got settled in to our hostel and then decided to grab lunch. We went to a cafe down the street and I got a cheeseburger. I have been dying for a good, juicy beef burger. The burger I got was some sort of pork patty, and as most of you know, I don’t like pork. I just put a lot of ketchup on it and ate it anyway.
Barcelona is located in the Cataluña region of Spain. In Cataluña they speak Spanish and Catalan, a dialect. Some people in Cataluña intentionally speak with a lisp. Most signs were in both languages. Some even had English. It was fun to use the Spanish I learned in high school, though I was a little rusty. Taking Italian this semester didn’t really help matters, especially because the two languages are so similar. I was still able to communicate with Spanish people though!
After lunch, we decided to do some shopping. Our hostel was only a few minutes away from the main shopping area. The street was called “La Rambla. ” We went in a bunch of stores, mostly international stores that we had heard of (but we weren’t complaining). We then stumbled upon a market and decided to stop and take a look.
Though we had already eaten lunch an hour or two before, I was feeling a little hungry. I decided to buy some fruit.
We then turned down a side street. It seemed a little deserted, but there was a cluster of people farther up, so we decided to keep walking. I’m glad we did. We ended up finding some really cool stores. One of my favorites was called Vaho. Basically, they take old billboards and make them into bags, purses, wallets, and keychains. They were really tempting, but I already bought myself a leather bag in Florence, so I just settled for a keychain. I wanted to buy one for someone as a gift, but I just couldn’t make up my mind. If you want to check out their website, click here.
We then walked around for a while more and decided to get dinner. We got paella. I got the chicken along with Christina and James, while the rest of our group got the mixed seafood paella.
The next day we woke up, got ready and then went on a search for breakfast. We ended up at Casa Batlló, one of the many buildings designed by Gaudí in Barcelona.
We continued down the same road and saw Casa Milá as well.
Then we finally found a cafe and got churros and hot chocolate for breakfast (apparently something very typical of Spain that I did not know before).
Then we hopped on the metro and went to see Sagrada Família, an unfinished cathedral designed by Gaudí.
We didn’t go inside because we didn’t have enough time. Then We hopped back on the metro and parted ways with Sarah, Caitlin and Christina. The rest of us went to the Picasso Museum. Luckily for us, the museum was free on Saturday! It was a really nice surprise. Seeing the transition between the different stages of Picasso’s work was really interesting. I was so happy to be there and get to experience it, especially because he spent so much time in Barcelona. My face hurt from smiling so much.
Then we split ways yet again. This time, Emily and I decided to continue exploring while Erica, James, and Saiena got lunch. We happened upon the gothic district and found Barcelona Cathedral. It was really beautiful inside and our. Pictures simply do not do it justice.
We continued to wander and ended up back on La Rambla. Emily and I broke down and got some Starbucks. Starbucks isn’t present in Italy. I read up on it; apparently Starbucks doesn’t think that Italy would be profitable. I agree.
We shopped a bit more and ran into Saiena, Erica and James. Erica and James went back to the hostel while Saiena came with us. We found some vintage shops by accident. There were a ton of vintage designer clothes for really cheap. It was really neat. One shop was even owned by an English man.
Then we met up to decided what we were doing for the rest of the night. Christina and Erica joined us and we walked to find somewhere to eat dinner. We ended up at a fast food sandwich restaurant that was actually pretty good. Saiena bought some postcards, and then we headed back to our hostel.
We had a really early flight the next morning, so I went to bed when we got back to the hostel.
I don’t feel like I spent enough time in Barcelona. I guess I’ll just have to visit again someday. It was much more modern than Rome and had a much more efficient public transit system. There were many lines that brought you all over the city, similar to the el in Chicago. It was also really, really clean. I wish that I could have seen the ocean as well while I was there, but I know that I’ll be back someday. Barcelona was well worth the time that I spent there.