I made it. I finally made it to Barcelona which was the only trip I have really been anticipating. All the other trips were absolutely incredible, but I did not know much about them before going, or even knew those cities existed in Spain. But Barcelona... that is a city well known to me and I know more about, plus it is on the beach. I am obsessed with the ocean, beach and anything to do with water, so Barcelona did not disappoint me and sized up to my expectations and beyond!
So Barcelona is about a 6ish hour drive from Madrid. Since it was so long they did not want us to be on the bus for that long so we stopped at this town called Zaragoza about half way. We had a tour guide waiting there to show us around the town. We got to see Roman ruins in the middle of the town. When they were building this city they came across them, realized what they were, then continued to build around them. So it is this Roman theater ruin in the middle of the city with this cover built over it for protection.
The next thing we got to see was the Roman Catholic Cathedral but only the outside of the building which was pretty sweet. The Muslim influence on the exterior of the building was so pretty and very detailed.
Then we went to the last stop on our short tour to the Basilica Del Pilar. In this church there is this holy pillar of marble. People come to pray in this church and the touch or even kiss this small portion of the pillar uncovered. Kissing this is pretty awkward because it is a bit inconvenient to do so because you basically put your head in a hole in the wall to reach this marble that has been touched by a billion dirty hands. Yes, I touched it.
After a spectacular day in Zaragoza hit the road again to arrive in Barcelona a few short hours later. We walked a short way to our hotel on Rambla Street which is located in central Barcelona and pretty famous. Our hotel was in a great location...but when Chloe and I got to our hotel room, it looked like a murder scene was about to happen there. It was super sketch and I feared for my life in that hotel. The Larsens showed us around the street for a little bit before they let us loose through the streets of Barcelona. They took us to this Gelato shop where we were able to get any size any flavor. I am so glad we were not restricted to only vanilla... This shop was awesome because they shaped the gelado to look like a flower. Pretty neat.
Once we were set free onto the streets we went to this market called La Boqueria. Most incredible street market I have ever seen in my life. There was so much fruit everywhere I had no idea what to do with myself. It was madness. There were also these natural fruit smoothies being sold on every stand. All they had to do was take the absurd amount of fruit they had and put in in a blender and then they have all these smoothies to sell for only one euro. Genius, because they are sooooo good.
After visiting the market we all walked down to the pier which was so close because of our great location in the city. It was night so we didnt go to see the ocean, and we just stayed at the pier and talked for a while. At some point in the night it was just Chloe, Lindsey and I on a bench when we saw the Larsens. Crazy coincidence!! Not really. We see them everywhere in every town we go to in Spain during our free time. We talked to them for a while. I liked it. I felt hilarious talking with them because they laugh at the things we say. So after a lovely chat with them we went back to the hotel because I needed to finish an assignment I did not finish yet and it was due at midnight. That night when we got back to our hotel room we found all the windows/doors closed that we had purposefully left open. There was probably a man in our room the entire night just hiding and watching us waiting for that opportune moment to steal our lives away. I woke up alive and well the next morning. Blessed with another day of life.
Thursday was our whole day of tours through all of Madrid. We first started out driving around the city of Barcelona and looking at a few things like the houses that Gaudi designed throughout the whole town. We then went to a park called Park Guell. In this park there were these old aquaducts things that was also a walkway.
This look familiar? ANTM had a fashion shoot here one episode!! Look at my model pose. I should be on ANTM, I know, I know.
All the things in this park were designed and created by Gaudi. These benches were also in this park which were super cool because they were shaped to fit the body so they were extremely comfortable along with beautiful. All the designs on the benches was a bunch of mosaic tile work and the shape of the benches were wavy and undulating which is the style Gaudi is most famous for.
It was a really cool park and there were children everywhere on field trips for school or something. There is actually a school right next door to this park and can be seen next to the benches. Getting back on the bus it was announced that we would be switching hotels because the one we were in was unacceptable/unbearable. Glad other people agreed because sometimes I feel super spoiled about stuff like that. Some people live in places like that hotel everyday. Terrifying thought. We mad rushed back to the hotel to check out before 12 and then headed over to our new hotel which was 50x better than our old one. Once we were settled into our new hotel we continued our tour and went to the Sagrada Familia which is this huge Cathedral that looks like a castle. This in all seriousness is the most grandeur building I have ever seen in my entire life. It was so tall and daunting. It was incredible. It was designed by Gaudi but the detailed work on the building was done by two different artists. On one of the sides it is this super detailed crazy intense work. On the other side it is really simple and blocky and lighter colored.
The inside was even more incredible. The ceilings were so high yet the work on the inside was a lot more simple than the outside. I still really liked it though.
After we headed over to the Picasso Museum. It was really fun to see the stages Picasso went through and to see his earlier work. I guess I have never really looked into his work but it seems like he was pretty obsessed with the painting Las Meninas by Velazquez because there was about two rooms full of replicated forms of that painting in Picasso's style. I really liked it a lot because it shows that he really was a great artist when seeing all his earlier work. I think after this museum we had some down time so Chloe and I got some ice cream. Best mint chocolate chip ice cream I ever had in my life. It was so minty! Plus the chocolate in it was really good and didnt taste super waxy.
We were taken back to our hotel and let loose to get dinner on our own. A bunch of us decided to get Thai food. The place did not open til 8 so we had to wait about an hour before we could eat. I am in love with curry so I thought it tasted really good. This night I realized that being a vegetarian would be the worst idea in the world. No fun, and I would be miserable trying to find dishes without meat. I like meat thank you very much. Completely satisfied we went back to the hotel which was literally 20 steps away.
Friday was almost the best day of my life... I say almost because I dont really know what the best day of my life is. This day was great though. It started with the decision of waking up at 6:30 in the morning and going to the beach to see the sun rise. I have seen so many sun sets because I grew up on the west coast, but I had never in my life seen the sun rise on the beach. Why not have my first time on a Barcelona beach in Spain? It was so beautiful and I hate to say that it may be more spectacular than sun sets. I am more of a morning person so I appreciate sun rises more than sun sets now. Everything about that morning was wonderful.
When we got back to the hotel we walked straight into the building and sat down for breakfast. I didnt have to have hot chocolate with bread! Since we were in a new hotel the breakfast was a buffet style and they had everything! Cereal! Normal milk!! Water!!! Peaches!!!! Pears!!!!! Yogurt!!!!!! FRUIT!!!!!!!!!!! What a great morning. This was our free day so we headed out after breakfast as fast as we could. The first place we went to was the Barcelona Cathedral. This Cathedral is most famous for the geese that are inside. They have been there for a long time and are basically their security system because they would make a lot of noise at night if someone had entered. It was a pretty Cathedral.
The next thing we did was go to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. We were not quite sure where it was so we headed out right after the Cathedral to find it. We found it super easy so The other girls we were with went shopping while Chloe and I chilled in the park across the street. It had an obscene amount of birds flocked in that one park. I dont really like birds, but it was fun to watch them.
Once it was about one we went into the restraunt to have a feast! It was nice to have some normal food. It seemed like American food was a normal occurance in Barcelona though because Barcelona is really touristy. I never really had to speak much Spanish this entire trip because everyone had good English. The only time was when I bartered with this guy at an antique stand in the street. All I said was "dos por tres euro?" referring to some glass bottles. He looked at me for a second then was like "ahhh, vale! Vale!" as if I had been hassling him for hours. Too easy. Our waiter even spoke all English to us. The food was great! Everything is so great!
After we were done eating there we got outa there quick so we could get to the beach. My favorite place in the world. We sadly got there at about 3:30 because some girls really wanted to shop. I hate shopping. But it did not ruin my day!!! I got to the beach again so all was well. We spent the rest of the sunlight at the beach.
I even went in the water. All the way. I am used to Oregon beach water and it was about the same coldness but I did it anyway. I swam in the Mediterranean Sea ladies and gents. No big deal. Chloe said that she would buy me Gelato if I went in the water all the way. Between those who read my blog and I, I was going in the water all the way bribe or no bribe. Chloe might read this so I guess the secret is out. Shucks. This is me prepping to get in that water.
We also spotted a nude man just walking along the beach. Good thing we saw him from afar so that we could avoid seeing him when he walked by us. I thought it was a nude beach so I thought I would join him. Ok, I am wearing a swimsuit under that! I dont want anyone to think that I would do something like that. Or did I? Muahaha.
It was such a great idea when the sun was out but once the sun went down I was frozen the rest of the day. From the beach we started walking to Rambla Street to go to the market again for smoothies. After walking 2 minutes these bike chariots came across our path and we decided we should ride them. Best idea because turns out it was like a 5 mile walk to Rambla street. It was so much fun riding on those things and we got to talk to our bike driver named Kitty "like hello kitty" she said. She had been doing this job for three years. What a trooper.
We shortly arrived at our destination where we bought some smoothies at the market. After the market we went to the Gelato shop again because I needed to get my winner gelato that Chloe said she would buy me for going in the water.
We did a little shopping and then headed back to the hotel. I was so cold and the only thing we had that could offer warmth was the Barcelona scarf that Chloe had bought. You can see how well it kept me warm.
The plan was to go dancing that night at a club or something like that. Chloe and I werent too excited to go and I had not really decided to go or not. I decided to take a nap and then wake up and see if I felt okay to go. Turns out that nap at 8 would have me out for the rest of the night. I never woke up until the morning when we were supposed to leave back to Alcala. Best night sleep I had had in a long time. I am glad I didnt go because I missed out on a bunch of madness and confusion of losing a couple girls.
Saturday came and we were all pretty burnt out. We left early in the morning after eating a really awesome breakfast. All that was planned for the day was to get back to Alcala. We succeeded. We stopped again in Zaragoza for a lunch break and Chloe, Lindsey and I got some ice cream. I could eat ice cream everyday, I love it too much. Good thing it is the only dessert I really like. I am not a fan of the rest. Except for brownies.
Dont we look spectacular!! This is was sleeping in a bus for too long looks like. Beauty. After this stop we got back on the bus and made it back to Alcala by about 6. Just in time to have dinner with Anna Maria. Just like I say with every trip, this was the best! But seriously, I love Barcelona.