This past weekend was absolutely amazing!! Kelsey, Amanda and I explored the north, south, east and west parts of Barcelona and left with many laughs, blisters, sore bodies and many fond memories…ok let me go into more detail! So we arrived at the Barcelona airport on Friday. We caught a bus to the city center and walked the most indirect way (our map skills were a bit lacking at this point…but Kelsey soon took charge) and about 30 minutes after lugging our suitcases down narrow streets filled with people, vendors and of course carnival costumes…we arrived at our hostel. We checked in and placed our belongings in our room. Now here is the crazy part…guess how many people were in our room? Twenty four! Wow! At first I was a little scared about this….24 people…majority college age…in a huge, fun and thriving city…oh gosh! However, I was pleasantly surprised that the (majority) of the people in our room were quite considerate and quiet. It was also fun to meet the other people in our room. There were students from Brazil, Japan, the US and many other locations! Staying in a 24-bedroom hostel is definitely one of those classic study abroad experiences.
After settling down in the hostel, Kelsey, Amanda and I walked around the Ramblas and near the port and planned our next 3 days of adventure. These adventures included: the beaches, La Ravala, two free walking tours, the old gothic neighbourhood, the arc de triumph (de España), the bull ring, the Barcelona Cathedral, the Gaudi buildings/houses, the Sagrada Familia, the Park Güell, the magic fountain and the ¨spanish village.¨
My two favorite things in Barcelona were the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. The first was a huge, huge, huge basilica planned by famous Barcelonan architect Gaudi. This church was absolutely amazing. I had truly never seen anything quite like it. From the outside it looks like a cross between a heavily frosted cake or a drippy sand castle…but if you look at the detail it is absolutely stunning. The most amazing part of the basilica is that it is not yet completed…and they estimate another 20-30 years until it is finished!!! The inside is also a masterpiece. With pillars reaching up into the heavens, little crevices and paintings on the ceiling to gorgeous and mystifying stained glass windows. My other favorite part of the city was Park Güell. The majority of the buildings and artwork in this park was constructed by Gaudi as well. The park is located on a hill that overlooks all of Barcelona. There is one main plaza in the park, with a curving bench that encompasses the edge of the plaza and is filled with colorful tile. Inside the plaza there were hundreds of people enjoying the sunny weather and vendors selling scarfs, necklaces and little souvenirs. Directly underneath the plaza, there were dozens of pillars that support the plaza, but also allow for more open space to congregate. Further below the plaza, there are two houses. Back in the day, these houses were meant to be for the wealthy of Barcelona, but since it was too far away from the city center the architect (Gaudi) decided to live here himself! The Park appeared to be a cross between Disneyworld and the Willy Wonka Factory. Overall Barcelona was an amazing city and I would highly recommend adding it to any travel list! Also I have already decided I am going to return in 20 years when the Sagrada Familia is completed…and I will reminisce about how I travelled there during my junior year abroad!
Dato Divertido: Today was carnival! Happy Carnival! It was the last day of carnival, and therefore everyone was dressed up! I went to the ¨costume contest¨ in one of the plazas in coruña and saw everything from cows, chickens and pigs to elephants, dogs, cats to spiderman, flamenco dancers, witches, pirates, birdhouses, clowns, ladybugs, dragons and so much more! The cutest thing was that families would be dressed up alike. So there would be a mom, dad and child all dressed as bumblebees or pumpkins! There were so many people out walking around, dancing and playing instruments. It was a pretty cool sight! Today is the start of lent…so the carnival weekend is over. But guess what Nora is giving up for lent? English! I am giving up speaking English to those who know Spanish. Yup. This should be interesting.
The inside of the Sagrada Familia
One side of the Sagrada Familia
Kelsey, Amanda and I outside one of Gaudi´s masterpieces!
What was behind us in the previous picture!
My future house….for real!
Las Ramblas by night
The Arc of Triumph…Spanish Style…
Completed by a sand wizard at the beach…ok wild guess…what famous church in Barcelona is it constructed after?