Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Barcelona: Viva Espana!

So the next major event in my abroad experience was going to Barcelona, Catalonia! It was one of the best experiences of my life, mostly because it was so different.  England is definitely a foreign country and there are cultural differences, but going to Spain was a major cultural difference and it was so amazing.  I went with 4 other friends and we met up with some other girls from ASE who were also in Barca.
We had to take a taxi from Linley at 430am to Bristol airport, so we were all pretty sleepy.  Our flight was at 645 which was good in a way because we had a full day to explore.  We did not fly into Barcelona, however.  We flew into Girona, which is about an hour bus ride from Barca.  I had no idea Spain was so mountainous! Flying in looked like when I flew into Geneva; there were snow covered mountains surrounding Girona which were beautiful and reminded me of the Alps.  We took a bus from Girona to Barcelona, and then the metro to our hostel, Kabul Backpackers.  

The Plaza! 
We were staying in the Placa Reial (Plaza Royale) right off of Las Ramblas, one of the busiest streets in Barcelona. We could not have asked for a better location.  We were a 5 minute walk from the ocean, and I saw the Mediterranean for the first time! It was very exciting. 
 The best sangria we had all weekend! and we had a lot of sangria...
Patatas Bravas. So. Amazing. 

 Emily, Me, and Cassie sitting on the Mediterranean 
Me and Fiona!
We walked down by the water for a while and then found a cute market! They had a lot of antiques and vintage things which was really cool to look at.  By this time it was around 4 so we were getting tired so we went back to the hostel to Siesta.  After, we met up with Maya and Valerie, 2 girls from ASE that were in Barca for the weekend as well! We got sangria and tapas and just enjoyed the warm Spanish evening. 
The next day, we woke up and went to a huge market right off Las Ramblas. They had everything, and I mean everything: fresh fruit, veggies, meat, fish, baked goods, nuts, the list goes on.  We ended up getting fresh squeezed juice, which this market was famous for. 

 literally so many choices!!
 They even had Sangria and Mojitos! 

After wandering the market, we headed back to the plaza and found another market in the center while we were waiting for Claire, another good friend from ASE.  This market was more of entrepreneurs than antiques or food and it was really cool to see all the different jewelry and clothing.  When we finally met up with Claire, we ate lunch at a restaurant in the Plaza and I got tomato bread and pesto with zucchini for the pasta! It was delicious. 
 Some of the Market
My lunch! So good. 
The afternoon included the Picasso Museum and the Gaudi Cathedral, both were absolutely stunning. The Picasso museum was about a 10 or 15 minute walk from the plaza and we got distracted the entire walk, either looking at the stunning Barcelona architecture, little cafes, or tiendas(shops in spanish). 
 One of the side streets we walked down to get to the Picasso
Fiona and Claire examining the art :) 
 Gaudi Cathedral 
 It was massive!! 
Some of the inside
The Gaudi was so spectacular, grand, and impressive, but I am unsure as to whether or not i could ever attend church there because it is so modern and untraditional. It was definitely something we had to see, though. 
That night, our hostel was doing a reduced ticket deal to the second largest club in Europe, which was definitely an interesting experience. If we go out in Bath, we usually head to the club around 11:30, 12 at the latest.  In Barcelona, we did not leave with our hostel until 2am and didn't get to the club until 2:30. It was a really cool and interesting experience, but I could never live there and do that regularly! The club was called Razzmatazz and had 5 separate floors and rooms and held 5,000 people on a regular basis. It wasn't crowded or claustrophobic, though, because of all of the different rooms you could go into. 
Barcelona was such amazing in so many different ways.  Just wandering down Las Ramblas and seeing all the different artists and markets and culture was spectacular. It was an experience not most can have and I felt so lucky to be there! 
Keep Calm and Drink Sangria

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