Barcelona, Spain

Following our last official week of classes for the semester, Daniella and I spent 5 days traveling as a mini-celebration. Part 1 was Barcelona, Spain!

As we boarded the plan, we googled, “Things to do in Barcelona.” We had booked tickets ahead of time for a couple of attractions, but even then, I think this just about describes how prepared we were. Once we got to the Barcelona airport, we took some time to gather our bearings, which included figuring out how to get to our hostel and making dinner reservations for our two nights. Honestly, this was pretty productive. We checked into the “yeah!” hostel and left to see the city a bit. We stopped by Casa Batllo, the first but definitely not the last building we saw designed by Gaudí, and walked along La Rambla, occasionally stopping in stores (though basically just Zara, H&M, Pull & Bear, and other European essentials). We went to a candy store I had seen many people go to, Happy Pills, which is basically a fad store where you choose a pill bottle-looking container, fill it up with candy, including candies that actually look like pills, and then choose a sticker (most of them say what the “pills” are for). We walked along the water for a while, stopping in a shopping mall to kill some time, and then munched on our candy as we wandered through a Christmas market. For dinner, we went to Arume and tried the paella. We asked for two seafood paellas, but they recommended we try one with duck, which they were supposedly known for, so we gave in and got one of each. Good thing we did, too; the seafood one was good, but so salty and rich that the dish with duck, peppers, and zucchini was more refreshing and mild. We went back to our hostel and slept through the night (not exactly the best sleep thanks to the people who came back and turned on the lights at 2 AM, but I guess we got what we paid for).

We had planned for our second day to be our busy, touristy day. We went to Brunch and Cake by the Sea for breakfast (so good, highly recommend!) and I had the oatmeal cookie pancake with fruit and a banana/cacao protein smoothie. We stopped by the Boqueria market to try some snacks (my Dunkin iced coffee wasn’t as authentic as the shaved ham and cheese snack cones but was still delicious) and headed in the direction of Park Guell; after finally making it through the hike up the hill, we went inside. So basically we paid 7 euros to sit on a bench, most of which was under construction, but the mosaic pattern was really cool and the overlook had a great view. We also saw the lizard mosaic statue and went inside a couple of the buildings (all of this was location #2 designed by Gaudí). We ran into Hannah and Alyssa and chatted for a while, then walked around the actual park part for a while before heading out. The walk to our hostel seemed to take forever, so long that we were unable to partake in the siesta culture and had to grab a random lunch before heading to the Sagrada Familia Basilica. At lunch, I had some fish and my first croquette (delicious!!). We stumbled upon another Christmas market by the basilica and then made our way to the entrance. I have seen quite a few churches, cathedrals, basilicas, etc. while in Europe, but this one is different; it’s much more of a museum than a church. Entrance is 17 euros, but I promise that it’s worth it. Designed by Gaudí (#3), it is a stunning example of modernism, yet it is even more unique because it is unfinished and not expected to be done until 2023. Though Catholic events happen here occasionally, mass and most other services are held in the chapels underneath the structure. After exploring the Gaudí museum attached to the building, we took naps (finally!) and went to Bar Lobo for some tapas and sangria. The word of the night was yummy, used to describe the patatas bravas, croquettes, bread with tomato, calamari, and pesto pasta. And, of course, the liter of fruity wine! With full stomachs, we set off for a walk home (which once again took much longer than it should have) and actually got a good night’s sleep.

We woke up, packed, then took a metro and a bus to get to the airport. While Daniella had a traditional ham sandwich, I opted for Burger King chicken fingers and fries and an episode of Modern Family (#cultured). And then…off to Lisbon! Even though we were exhausted for the majority of our Barcelona trip, I’m happy we were able to see the main attractions and eat some exciting new food. Honestly, I expected the city to have more to do and see, so it wasn’t exactly my most favorite destination of the semester, but it was still great to see somewhere new. I also loved getting to know a new artist and seeing so much of his work, which is different from anything in Paris. And, of course, this was a great introduction to Spanish for my intensive-intro course next semester! That being said, I am still working on understanding the Spain/Catalonia dynamic; Daniella speaks Spanish and was able to communicate with basically everyone, but occasionally, a menu would be written in Catalan Spanish or she would try to eavesdrop on a random conversation and she wouldn’t understand (either way, much better than my communication skills). At one point, as I walked down a small street, I saw a Spanish flag on one window and a Catalan flag on the opposite window, almost as if one had been put up in response to the other. I remember studying this nation/state divide in my intro to comparative politics class and it should be interesting to follow now that I have seen this division firsthand.

2 responses to “Barcelona, Spain”

  1. […] We were excited to get the weekend started, but if you remember, this wasn’t actually my first time in this city. Read about my first trip to Barcelona here. […]


  2. […] Daniella and I arrived to the Lisbon airport (after our Barcelona weekend) we grabbed snacks, including my first custard tart of the trip. Delicious! We charged our phones as […]


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