Thursday, October 2, 2014

barcelona 2014.

We got into Barcelona around 4:30 pm and began our introduction to the city with a driving tour. We saw many of Gaudi's amazing architectural works as well as the 1992 Olympic stadium, the cathedral of Santa Eulalia, the triumphal arch, the Colombus Monument, the national art museum whose building was originally built to host the World Exhibition in 1929 and a few bullfighting rings that have been turned into shopping and event centers since bullfighting was banned. The incredible artistry and architecture of these rings begged for them to be used for something else rather than be torn down. We then headed to a dinner of tapas and sangria, enjoyed a flamenco show, and ended the late night by experiencing some of Barcelona's famous nightlife.
The next morning, our crew was pretty exhausted, so we had a slow start to the day. We made it over to La Sagrada Familia - another of Gaudi's famous structures - only to find the line wrapped around the block. We changed course and headed to La Rambla, the main tourist street in Barca. From here we wandered into the gothic quarter and went to the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, or Barcelona Cathedral. It was absolutely incredible inside and we even got to go to the roof to check out the city from an amazing viewpoint. This cathedral was one of the highlights of my trip! For dinner, we ended up at a tapas bar I found through Yelp! Hah. Waiters came around to each table carrying plates of tapas with toothpicks in them and you'd take whichever looked interesting to you. Each toothpick was €1,65 and they were tallied together at the end of the meal.
The next morning, our part of the tour ended while the rest of the crew went on to the French Riviera. It was incredible how close we all got in such a short period of time! I was sad to see them go, but excited to spend more time in Barcelona exploring. Once we got to our Airbnb in Barcelona, however, we were totally exhausted! We ended up going to Playa de Barceloneta for the rest of the afternoon to read while lounging in the sun. We also may have split a pitcher of sangria between the two of us. Uh, hello?! Vacay! We got tapas for lunch and dinner because of course we did and ended the night early. Sometimes on trips like these you just need to take a slow day to regroup...
...And sometimes on trips like these, you need multiple slow days to regroup. Jamie and I had been entirely on the same page for this trip, so when we got up the next day and decided shopping and more beach time was the only thing on the agenda, we were both happy. We met up with Dan, a guy we met from our tour who also stayed a few days extra in Barcelona, and headed to Arenas de Barcelona. This shopping center used to be one of the main bullfighting rings in the city, but once the sport was banned, they turned into into a functional mall instead of tearing down the beautiful structure. While there, we finally had some excellent seafood paella and then headed to the beach once more!

Finally, the next day, we headed to our final destination: Rome!

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