May 29, 2011
Barcelone (Barcelona)

One word: amazing! I had such a great time in Barcelona this weekend with my friends! Beach, culture, history, sangria, tapas, football, beautiful weather…Barcelona has it all! 

Thursday—we flew out nice and early in order to enjoy most of the day in Barcelona. We easily navigated our way to our hostel which was in an awesome location! I would compare it to staying in a hostel right on Michigan Ave in Chicago. It was a prime location! It was also my first time ever staying in a hostel and it wasn’t bad! This one seemed to be on the nice end when it comes to hostels. I kind of felt like I was at summer camp or something! First thing on our agenda once we were settled was lunch and then the beach! So we grabbed a quick bite and jumped on the metro to the beach. It was beautiful out and the beach was really busy. We grabbed and spot and laid down for a while. There was this very cool row of rocks a little distance off the shore in the water that a lot of people were laying on and hanging out at. So me and three others decided to jump in the water and head out to the rocks. The water got rocky sooner than I expected and I hit my big toe on one just under the water. Once we got up on the rocks, I saw that my big toe was bleeding. Once I looked closer, I saw that there were things in my toes, what looked like big black splinters. We were quickly informed by some other people on the rocks that me, and also my friend Joe, had gotten sea urchin needles in our feet and needed to get them out. Awesome. I’m in Barcelona for literally two hours and already have an issue! My toe started to really hurt, but the needles were in too far to get out with our fingers. So me and my friend Hannah headed back to the hostel to get some tweezers and get these things out of my toes!! The rest of the evening was consumed with this task, unfortunately! We made a stop at the pharmacy and a stop to buy some needles to help get them out. It was a much more painful task than I had hoped, but through team work, my friends were able to get the most of the worst ones out. Of course, I’m the girl who does terrible with splinters and doesn’t even use tweezers to pluck her eyebrows! So obviously I wasn’t being too brave about the whole ordeal. But getting the worst of them out really helped, along with the tylenol! I was feeling well enough to head out to dinner with the group, where we treated ourselves to a nice meal! After dinner, we explored the city by foot, walking around Las Rambles, the famous old market street. We were pretty exhausted after a long day of traveling and beach time, and called it a night.

Some pictures from Thursday….

Barcelona’s shoreline from the airplane 


My toe after the sea urchin encounter..


Okay…Friday! The weather man told it us it was supposed to be 70 with a chance of rain on Friday. Not the best beach weather. So me, Hannah, Vanessa, and Armando decided we would do our sightseeing this day. Of course, it turned out to be 80 and sunny..but that was alright with us!! We started our day by going to Camp Nou, the stadium where Barcelona’s soccer team plays. Also, one of the largest stadiums in the world I do believe! We hit up the official merchandise store and then Armando and Vanessa went on a guided tour of the stadium. Hannah and I took that opportunity to lounge around and read up on our “Self” magazine! Once they were done with the tour, we headed over to Park Gaudi, the park that the famous architect of Barcelona, Antonio Gaudi, built. It’s easily the coolest park I’ve ever been to, ever! For starters, it was huge!! And it is situated on a high point in the city, giving you amazing views!! We walked around the park for a couple of hours, buying gifts off of vendors and exploring all the nooks and crannies. It was truly beautiful and hard to do justice! 

After the park and keeping with the Gaudi theme, we jumped back on the metro and headed over to Sagrada Familia, the most famous basilica in Barcelona. It was also absolutely beautiful and impossible to describe! I’ve never seen anything like it! Construction began in 1892 and they are only a little over 60% finished (we watched a short film where we learned quite a bit about the history of the church!). The facade itself is awe-inspiring and then you step inside and your breath is taken away. The ceiling goes up and up forever it seems like! The stain glass windows were gorgeous and we there a great time because the sun was hitting them just right. So incredible..I really can’t explain it! You just have to go see for yourself! 

By this time it was early evening and we were exhausted after a long day of sightseeing! We headed back to the hostel to take a little siesta and get ready for our night out. The four of us had dinner at an all you can eat buffet right by our hostel (we are college kids!) and then met up with the rest of our group. We headed over to the “magic fountain” where it does a water show every half hour from 8 until 11. We were there just in time to catch the last one and we were all so glad we did! The fountain was gorgeous and gave us a good picture taking time! After the fountain show, we head to this famous bar that only serves shots. All of them are only 2 euros and they are crazy concoctions with even crazier names! I did the “Harry Potter”, which was delicious, and some Marshmallow one where you roasted a marshmallow on the bar, put it in your shot, and then drank it (my favorite one!). The place was packed though, so we went to the bar right next door which was much more low key and easier to relax in. Armando and I won in a game of beer pong against our friends Joe and Hannah and we just hung out there for a while! Eventually, we headed down to the beach where all the famous night clubs are. We walked a long the boardwalk, taking in all the different clubs. I felt like I was in Miami. Everyone was dressed to impressive and each club was trying to be louder than the next. It was a very cool scene! By that time, it was very late, so we jumped on the night bus and crashed at the hostel.

Picture time!

Camp Nou

View of Sagrada Familia from Park Gaudi

Sagrada Familia 

Magic Fountain! 

Beer pong winners and losers!! 

Okay…Saturday! We allowed ourselves to sleep in, a little. Then walked to the beach for a relaxing beach day! Unfortunately, the sky didn’t clear up till around noon, but for a girl with pale skin like me, that’s really okay! The good thing is that the sun did come out and it was a beautiful day! We lounged at the beach (no swimming to the rocks this time around!), gathered sea shells, and walked a long the pier. It was very nice after a long day on our feet the day before! After we had our share of the sun, Hannah, Armando, and I walked to our hostel, taking in the Gothic Quarter a long the way, the ancient area of Barcelona. It was a beautiful area!! 

Once back at the hostel, we relaxed for a little bit before getting ready for our night which consisted of watching the Champions League final game between Barcelona and Manchester United at the Arc de Triumph…along with the rest of Barcelona! For those that don’t know, the Champions League is like the Super Bowl of soccer, kind of. Expect, European soccer fans are the craziest people I’ve ever met! Ever!! We made our way to the middle of the crowd and enjoyed watching the game on the big screen. Barca won 3-1 and they went crazy every time they scored! We are talking fireworks, torches, explosions, chants, you name it! A little too crazy for me, but a great experience none the less! We celebrated the big win by going to a spanish restaurant, ordering traditional food and margaritas! So delicious!! The celebrations lasted well into the night until we finally crashed at the hostel.

Picture recap! 


Gothic Quarter

Barca game!

So many people!

Street madness!

Celebrating the win! 

Wow! What a weekend! Sunday was a morning full of traveling back to Paris and then doing nothing for the rest of the day! Gersende had two Belgian friends in for the weekend and I was lucky enough to be able to meet them before they left to go home. They were very nice women! After her friends left, both Gersende and I treated ourselves to a nap! My evening consisted of a well deserved shower, dinner, and catching up with my online life! 

As far as Barcelona compared to Paris, here is what we came up with as a group. They are very different! Ha! So descriptive I know! Paris is much trendier, but with that comes the “uptight” and snobby vibe that a lot of people say about Paris. Barcelona was much more laid back, but a lot less trendy. Everyone was in bathing suits and board shorts! But the people were really nice and the metro was super clean! The night life was amazing, better than Paris in my opinion. But in all honesty, I don’t know if I could ever live in Barcelona. It might be because I wasn’t raised by the ocean, but it always feels like a vacation to me and I don’t know if I could actually live there. Paris on the other hand, I could definitely live here! It has my heart! 

Tomorrow I leave bright and early for Brussels and then Strasbourg for our second excursion trip as a whole group. I’m very excited! It should be a really fun trip if it is anything like our Normandy trip! I will be back Wednesday night and then I’m just down to one and a half weeks left. I can’t even believe it! I still haven’t figured out what to do with all the different emotions I have about leaving. But as it gets closer, I’m getting more and more sad. My last week and a half will be consumed with walking tours, farewell dinners, and soaking up all the city has to offer!

So expect another long post when I return from the second part of my traveling adventure! 

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