Holaaaaaa a todos!
I hope your weekend has been lovely and your Monday isn’t too depressing. Luckily I’m not back at school yet, so I can laugh at all of you “adults” who have to work for a living! Ha! Ha ha! Ha!
Thought I’d tell you another traveling story today, this time about my trip to Barcelona.
This trip was a little different as, like Morocco, it was planned out completely by my study abroad program. So, I didn’t have to plan anything. Flight? Check. Hostel? Check. Food? Check. Museums? Check. The easiest!
After our hour and half flight and checking into the hostel, we walked through the center of the city a bit, checked out some markets, learned a whole lot about the history of Catalonia, and then got some lunch.
*warning* this post will not have a lot of pictures because the day before we left to go, my phone was stolen. and I was not about to bring my camera to Barcelona and have that stolen too! all the pictures that you’ll see are from friends!
That afternoon our guide took us through the gothic and medieval neighborhoods of Barcelona, and we finished off by visiting Parc de la ciutadella at sunset. The park was absolutely stunning — it was like an oasis in the city! Also there was a giant mammoth replica sitting under some trees … so that was strange.
That night we also walked through the more modern parts of the city and checked out el Arco de triunfo, which I sadly don’t have a picture of.
The next day we went to La Pedrera, which is a modern art building designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. It was very odd because it was like an apartment building turned into a museum. And to be honest, I still don’t really understand why it was built, other than that it looks really cool.
Next we metro’d over to the other side of the city to check out La Sagrada Familia, a (HUGE) church designed by Gaudí (the same guy that designed La Pedrera — his influences are all over Barcelona). The construction of the church started in 1882 and it’s STILL not completed because of lack of funds. The expected end date is 2026, although things are looking pretty shifty. However, even though it’s still not completed, it’s already a UNESCO world heritage site, which I thought was pretty impressive for a half-done church.
La Sagrada Familia was, to me, just another example of how strange Barcelona is. The city is such a mixture of modern and medieval architecture — and that’s exactly how La Sagrada Familia is. If you walk around the church, you’ll see a different architectural style on each side. It really is quite strange.
And the inside is … well, breath-taking, to say the least. Sky-high domed ceilings, columns that look like trees in a forest, rainbow stained glass windows. I was expecting another old cathedral-ish church, but the inside is so modern and …. trippy. I don’t know, guys. You should know by now I’m not good at descriptions!
So, after feeling like we were on acid for a couple of hours at the church, we took a too-long bus ride on a too-crowded bus to get to Parque Güell, which I was most excited about.
The public park is also a UNESCO world heritage site and was designed by none-other than, WHO WOULD’VE GUESSED, Gaudí. The architectural elements of the park are very reminiscent of La Pedrera and la Sagrada Familia (ie. the bright colors and the mosaic-like decorations).
The park is absolutely beautiful — I imagine it would take a very long time to hike the whole thing, but we walked around it for about half an hour and made it to the top of a lookout, which would’ve been a lot more peaceful had there not been a crazed man in a cheetah outfit strumming his guitar and screaming curse words at the top of his lungs.
Let me be clear and say that most of what I knew about Barcelona beforehand was from The Cheetah Girls 2, a crowned jewel from my childhood. And in the movie, the Cheetah Girls sing the iconic (to me) song Strut, where they (you guessed it) strut around Barcelona with all the sass in the world.
And in said song, they strut around Parque Güell — so it was only right that we took some pictures to re-create the music video.
p.s. ^^ the above picture took about 10 minutes to capture, as there was a HUGE line for pictures in this particular area. My thoughts? 1000% worth it.
And I’m afraid this is where the pictures stop, folks. After the park we went back to the hostel and we had free time for the night. My friend Steph and I were CLEARLY the only fun ones in the group (uh, just kidding guys!) so we ended up going to a discoteca on the river that night while everyone else stayed in.
The next morning we also had free time to wander around the city before we left for Sevilla again. Some friends and I went down to the water and stared at seagulls for about an hour, and OH! I just remembered! I do have pictures!
We found some lions near the water, so naturally we had to climb them.
The rest of the morning was quite boring, to be honest. We wandered around some shops, got some lunch, and then slowly made our way back to our bus for the airport. Hour and a half later, we’re in Sevilla, and the weekend is over already.
Rating (out of 10 stars): 7
Would I go again? Sure! I feel like I didn’t get to experience everything that I could’ve had I not been so constrained by the program.
Best part: Parque Güell
Worst part: A lot of restaurants have menus/signs only in Catalan — just because you know Spanish, does NOT mean you know Catalan (although many words are similar)
Overall impressions: A really beautiful and different city. More metropolitan than I was used to with the cities of Andalusia. The architecture is really beautiful and the city is easy to navigate. I would absolutely love to go again one day and figure out more of the city for myself.