It’s just kind of something everyone needs to do in this life, so make it a high priority. This city is NOTHING like the rest of Spain. It’s so… funky, colorful, and flamboyant. All this excitement is demonstrated in the cities’ architecture and art, mostly, but I could just tell it was different by the way locals carried themselves and the feelings in the air. It was electric! Well, when the rain stopped.
Before the rain stopped I was hating life. Professor Williams had told us that the forecast called for rain, so plan accordingly. Well, it’s hard to plan for a rain trip when initially I’d underpacked for two months…. So I brought 2 pairs of sandals, dresses, and crossed my fingers with a lot of force. Yeah, let’s just say that when I walked downstairs to eat breakfast in a little black sundress and saw people walking outside dressed in jeans, coats, and scarves all taking cover under umbrellas, well, I ran right back upstairs to try to find SOMETHING that would cover a little more. Good thing I’d bought a cardigan this week… that thing has saved me, hence the reason I wore it two days in a row.
On the other hand, breakfast ROCKED. Maybe it was the fact that they had Coco Rice Crispies, maybe it was the fact that I could choose something other than a dinosaur egg, or perhaps it was the abundance of fruit. Who knows- all I know is that I was finally satisfied!
After breakfast we met our tour guide and drove up to the top of Barcelona to go see a park called El Parque Guell, designed by Antonio Gaudi .Oh, I’d better talk about Gaudi first. Oh Gaudi. This man is a genius architect who Barcelona basically owes their life to. He designed EVERYTHING in this modernista style city. His style is, like I said before, funky, and it gives Barcelona the break from the mold mentality. Gaudi designed with no straight lines, there are no straight lines in nature he thought, and he used an abundance of color, texture, and detail in everything. Wow it was great! Our first dose of Gaudi was in this park, where he designed five houses. I’m not sure of the who, when, or why behind it all, but it was beautiful, besides the fact that I had to take it all in underneath my pretty sweet bulldog handled umbrella, dodging lake-like puddles, and trying to keep my frizzed out hair under control! Anyways, lesson learned at this park? Gaudi is a god.
After we walked through the park, we boarded the bus and went to La Sagrada Familia. Wow. You will not appreciate this cathedral until you go there and partake. Don’t worry though- there is time. It’s been under construction since 1882, and it’s not going to be done until 2026. Yep, that is right this place is a modern day cathedral, again, co-designed by Gaudi and has generations and generations of workers who will not live to see completion. It’s amazing. I am going back to see it 2026, so if you’re with me, mark your calendars. When we went there with the group we only saw the outside, got some history on it, and took lots of pictures, but it made me want to go inside so bad! Again, funky detail is the only word I can think of the describe what was on the fascade, right down to the turtles at the bases of the pillars, symbolizing how religion is a non-changing base for people, and the pelican at the very top, demonstrating Christ’s sacrifice for us. AH go to Barcelona.
Next up, we went to El Barrio Viejo to check out the cathedral of Barcelona, some 1st century pillars (yes, first century!) and walked down Las Ramblas, which is a huge tourist trap road with all the good souvenier shops I just love to despise. Sorry friends and family, you won’t be getting any I heart Spain bottle opener/fingernail clipper key chains! It was while walking down Las Ramblas that I saw my first little patch of blue sky. As we walked, the blanket of clouds started moving slowly, but surely, and soon enough the SUN WAS OUT AND MY LIFE WAS WORTH LIVING AGAIN! It felt so good to ditch the umbrella and let me shoes dry out! Oh, and Barcelona was suddenly tenfold better and more beautiful.
For lunch we went to a Basque Tapas Bar. Again, I took many a picture, so you can just feast your eyes (ha). I got my own little vegetarian tapas sans the salchicha and tuna, and they were pretty much the best tapas I’ve eaten in Spain. The best one was toast with cheese and asparagus all sandwiched in. I also had some little potatoes, a skewer of mixed vegetables, a tortilla tomato number, a pesto/mozzarella/tomato dish, with some kind of ritzy chocolate thing for dessert and pina juice Yes, it was delicious, and yes, I all of a sudden love asparagus and mushrooms. Thanks, Spain.
After lunch it was “go play in the city!” time. Barcelona FC Stadium, Gaudi house, Sagrada Familia, and food is what our time entailed. The Stadium, Camp Nou, was our first stop after a very confusing time trying to decipher the very foreign metro. It was pretty neat, though! We didn’t go in the stadium, only outside, because like in Madrid, we were afraid they were planning on charging their 16 euro fee to see a patch of grass. We instead found the players inside the “megastore” and snapped a couple pics there.
We next went to La Casa Milá designed by Gaudi, and finished in 1912. The best part was the terrace on the roof- the view was breathtaking, and the sculptures all over were really neat! Again, that man was a genius.
All the museums close at 8 and we had time for one more, so we booked it over to La Sagrada Familia for the second round where we actually went inside and it was amazing. I already talked about Sagrada Familia, but I just can’t get over it! The fact that construction has yet to be completed and the fact that they were sandblasting while we were actually inside was mindblowing! The cathedral is ridiculous! There is so much detail and form… it just reminded me a lot of Dr. Seuss. Go there one day- 2 times, actually, once to say you saw it under construction and your ticket helped paid for it’s completion, and once when it gets finished. That’s my plan! Can’t wait to tell my children all about it. J
We spent the rest of the night wandering around Las Ramblas, seeing the Plaza Real, and searching out food. I was so hungry the whole day- my tapas had not stuck to my ribs very well. We didn’t eat until about 10 PM again, when I finally had to just take the initiative and go into Wok and Walk and get myself the hands down best meal of Spain- wheat noodles with loads of vegetables and pineapple and sweet and sour sauce. I don’t think I looked up from that little cardboard box of delicious once. It was ambrosia!
After eating that and a little ice cream, we set out to find the beach. I just wanted to see the water! However, we were walking around a sketchy part of town, it was getting late, and my group was “tired” so we got on the metro and went back to the hotel. They told me I could see the water “tomorrow”. Tomorow was so worth it.