A lot of adventures, a lot of mishaps, a lot of gelato
Bienvenidos amigos, to beautiful Barcelona!
On our long drive to Barcelona we made a couple of pit stops. The first was at Pont de Gard, a famous aqua-duct built by the Romans in the first century that overlooks Gardon River. It is not is use anymore, but is still a very impressive piece of architecture.
We then stopped at a natural swimming hole just near the border of France and Spain, a place that was found by our awesome bus driver. The swimming hole was very beautiful but really out of place, it was right by the highway and it was very strange to see this beautiful, clear pool surrounded by honking trucks and roads! We all got in, braving against the freezing water and a million wasp nests surrounding it, but it was really good fun and made me appreciate how beauty can be found even in the most unexpected of places.
Just driving in to Barcelona I fell in love with the cool, sprawling city. The architecture is absolutely amazing. We took a driving tour around the city, first stopping at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The building is so beautiful, with huge fountains outside the front of it.
We then drove around the city and up to the top of Montjuic Hill, where we got some great views of the city and got to see the architecture and monuments built for the 1992 Olympics.
After our driving tour we checked into our hostel room before going out for Spanish tapas at a local restaurant. The food was so delicious, and they just kept brining out dish after dish after dish. They would also keep coming back to the table to refill our wine glasses! I was absolutely stuffed by the end of it, I was actually full, which for my bottomless pit of a stomach is very rare.
After dinner we went to a Flamenco show in this tiny little club, called Tarantos, in the heart of the city. The show only went for thirty minutes but the technicality of the dancing was incredible, it was so sensual and passionate. There was a band playing the music live for the show as well, and they had a really amazing guitar player. It was really cool to see firsthand the culture of the city through the show. For only nine euro I thought it was a steal.
After the show our trip leader, Katy, brought us to this bar that was full of Australian tourists and cheap cocktails. After indulging in a few cocktails we hit the dance floor and had a great time dancing with our tour group. The bar bathroom was really funny, they had an attendant who would give out lollipops and lollies when you were leaving. I love European hospitality.
We then headed to a shot bar, Espit Chupitos, with our tour leader, who gave us a very interesting tour of the area and lobster statues. The shot bar was really cool, with muted blue lights and a whole wall that listed all the shots available, there was so many! The bar was packed and had no conditioning, the place was like a sauna, so we decided to leave and head back to the hostel and call it a night. We rambled up Las Ramblas, which was still brimming with activity, even as late as it was.
The next day we had a free day to explore Barcelona, which we started by heading to Park Guell. The park features all the works of Gaudi, a Spanish architect who was famous for his distinctive, modern and individualistic Catalan architecture. His designs are not only in the park, but all over Barcelona as well. As we were waiting for the bus to Park Guell we saw my favourite of his designs, Casa Batlló. It is a house, covered with colourful mosaic tiles, and the outside kind of reminded me of the story, The Rainbow Fish.
I love his colourful and unique designs, and the park was really cool. There were a number of people selling illegal souvenirs, something which is very common to see in all the major tourist destinations in Europe. Generally I don’t even notice them most of the time, however the absolute funniest thing happened while we were in the park. A man all of a sudden ran into the middle of where we were yelling “Policía, policía!”. Straight away people grabbed their goods and ran away faster than I have ever seen anyone run. It left the place where they had been nearly completely empty. This happened quite a few times while we were in the park, and it was extremely surprising and funny when it did!
The designs of the park were really cool, and most of the houses kind of matched what I always assumed the Gingerbread House in Hansel and Gretel looked like.
After exploring the park we walked around the city, grabbing some lunch in a cafe, where Monica and I shared a chocolate sundae.
We then walked to the La Sagrada Famiglia, the famous church designed by Gaudi that is still being built. It is considered to be his unfinished masterpiece. It commenced being built in 1882, and is still being built today, after Gaudis’ death in 1926. It is expected to be completed in 2026, the centennial of Gaudis’ death. The line was quite long, but moved rather quickly, so we were only waiting for about twenty minutes before we got to go in, with a ticket only being €11.50 for students.
The church itself is really beautiful, and looks so different to any building I have ever seen in my life. From the outside it is an assortment of towers and coloured windows. The outside designs of the church almost look like the melted wax of a candle, like it is dripping down the outside. The inside of the church is incredible, with the coloured stained glass windows creating rainbows all over the place. It is absolutely huge, and I loved it, I definitely want to go back when it is finished.
I definitely recommend going to the La Sagrada Familia if you are in Barcelona, it is probably the biggest tourist attraction in the city, for good reason.
After all our walking around in the hot Spanish sun, we decided to hit the beach and cool off.
We then went and had dinner of burgers and two litres of Sangria at a restaurant by the beach. It was delicious! With the Sangria only being€15 for two litres, it was a greatttttttt deal! I have decided that I love Spanish food, it is so fresh and perfect for summer.
We then headed back to our hostel, full of scrumptious Spanish food and drink.
I really liked the city of Barcelona, it is very lively and there is always something happening in the shops, in the restaurants, in the streets. It is definitely a city for tourists, nearly everyone spoke English fluently, making it a lot easier to explore than other European cities I have been to. After visiting Barcelona I am really excited to travel to other areas of Spain, I have heard that Southern Spain is meant to be really beautiful. Oh, and have really good food too, not going to lie, most of my life decisions will take food into account…okay it will be a big priority.
Next stop, Nice and Monaco; I am ready to get my James Bond on!