*WARNING: This post is long and contains beautiful pictures of Barcelona. After reading, you may be tempted to spend time in Barcelona and experience the beauty first hand.*
What better way to shake off the cold of Bergen than to fly to Barcelona for a few days and hang out with my roomie from Oneonta, Sam!? Sam has been studying in Barcelona for the semester and was my own personal tour guide for the city which was amazing!
I arrived on Wednesday and immediately hit the streets to explore everything that Barcelona has to offer. We walked around Gran Via, down La Rambla, and by the beach where the sun was shining the entire time which couldn’t have been more opposite than my weekend in Bergen. To reward ourselves for our walk, we ate outside and enjoyed some Cava Sangria and delicious pasta!
Thursday morning I went to La Sagrada Familia to explore it by myself while Sam went to class. I had heard about the Sagrada Familia before, but seeing it in person was stunning. It’s a church that was designed by Antoni Gaudi who’s unique style of architecture can be seen throughout Barcelona. Construction of the church began in 1882 and is still going on today because of the massive designs that Gaudi created to honor Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and because donations and entrance fees are the only funds they receive to build the church. Walking around both the inside and outside I was amazed by the detail that is carved into the stones and the rainbow of colors that stream in through huge stained glass windows.
Later that day, Sam and I bought sandwiches and ate them at Park Guell, another example of Gaudi’s architecture. The park is located away from the city of Barcelona which meant that there were some incredible views of the city from where we ate lunch by the gardens. In the park, the buildings are covered with mosaics and more detailed stone work that Gaudi is known for which gives everything a magical quality with so many colors and designs to look at.
That night was my first experience eating Tapas and omg they were so good!! Sam ordered a few different things for me to try along with the tapas including patatas bravas, ham croquettes, a Spanish tortilla, and slices of baguette with a tomato juice spread that tastes so much better than I just made it sound. To top it all off, we went to Peggy Sue’s on our walk home and got some classic American milkshakes!
Friday had a forecast of rain which is unusual for Barcelona so we decided to spend the day at a museum and doing some shopping in order to stay as dry as possible. Unfortunately we didn’t stay that dry, but I’ll explain that later.
We went to the Barcelona City History Museum which tells the history of Barcelona when it was a Roman city called Barcina. What made this museum so cool is that it consists of ruins from the Roman city which means it’s entirely underground. As you step into the elevator a display shows how many years pass as you descend down into the old city, about 2,000 years ago. Walking around was incredible because it felt like you were actually walking around the city and seeing the areas where they dyed their clothing, went to church, and aged wine in a winery. It was amazing to see part of the city that I literally never would have known about if I was only walking around the streets and get a better sense of the history of Barcelona.
Now earlier when I said we saw rain in the forecast we had no idea just how much rain there would be. From 11 in the morning until early Saturday morning it rained cats and dogs as we shopped on La Rambla, ate seafood paella, and went to an Irish bar to watch a soccer game. It was raining so bad the power went out at the bar and we weren’t sure if the streets would flood before we could get back to our apartment. Thankfully the rain stopped by Saturday morning and it was bright and sunny as we continued exploring the city.
Since Saturday was my last day in Barcelona we decided to go out with a bang and began by taking a tour of the FC Barcelona stadium which was incredible. The stadium is huge (it seats over 99,000 people!!) and has beautiful facilities for players, fans, and the press. I swear there’s not a bad seat in the stadium, including the home bench where I got to sit for about 30 seconds.
After our tour we ate lunch at a new pizza place near our apartment where I got a fried pizza which was almost like a calzone. It was so delicious, freshly made, and the owners had just moved to Barcelona from Italy so we knew it was authentic.
We spent the next few hours walking around the Gothic Quarter, eating amazing pastries from a chocolate shop, and doing some people watching before heading back to the beach for one last glass of sangria. While we were on the beach we happened to meet a couple spending the weekend in Barcelona from Berlin. We started talking about traveling, life, and Tom Hanks and before we knew it they invited us to go to the oldest tapas restaurant in Barcelona for dinner. We ended up eating some amazing tapas, mussels, and Spanish tortilla and I finally got to experience a true Spanish dinner since we ate at 10:30pm! Ending my trip with that dinner couldn’t have been more perfect if we tried.
Spending most of my second travel break in Barcelona with Sam was so much fun and I’m so glad I got to see a completely different part of Europe. Barcelona was more relaxed in comparison to Denmark and the other northern European countries I’ve been to, so I was really able to sense a different feel about southern European culture. Plus it was so much fun getting to see Sam and go to all of the places she’s been spending her semester exploring! Until the next time I visit, I’ll just have to keep listening to Ed Sheeran’s song, Barcelona to remember all of the fun times I had there!