Category Archives: Barcelona

Barcelona Day 3 (and 4): Details are fuzzy…

So it’s been a while since this actually happened. Giving you a play by play account is going to be tough. The general events were as follows:

Day 3:
1. we woke up
2. we started walking towards the beach
3. we took a detour through some tiny alleys
4. we got lost
5. we found the beach!
6. we met up with Lorena and Maurizio
7. we took the cable car up to Montjuic
8. we checked out the fort
9. we slid down a slide!
10. we headed to dinner at a mall that used to be a bull fighting ring!
11. we watched the fountains — it was awesome
12. went to sleep — exhausted.

Day 4:
Unfortunately no pictures from my last day in Barcelona, but we went out of city to a beach that was pretty nice. It was a little too cold to swim. Fortunately there was a 36-ish foot sailboat that had been beached. That kept us entertained as the coast guard spent the next hour or two getting it off the beach. Good times had by all.

Barcelona Day 2: Gaudi

Day two was filled with Gaudi! Expect more pictures with this post…for sure.

We started off with an early trek over to La Sagrada Familia. The walk was pretty straight forward from the hotel. We actually lucked out in this respect; our hotel ended up being no more than a 30ish minute walk to anything we ended up seeing. Success!

The church itself is unfathomably awesome. I feel like Notre Dame in Paris was amazing, but this is on another level entirely. The size, the design, the level of detail of every inch of this place is just incredible. Whether you’re religious or not, when you walk in you can’t help but have an overwhelming feeling of spirituality. It really brings you close to god — it’s that amazing. We ended up spending more than 3 hours walking around with our jaws dropped. As if the building itself wasn’t enough, there was a thorough museum explaining the design, the building process, and even includes the models and paintings created by Gaudi to use in the original planning and construction. The construction, by the way, started in the late 1800s and is, today, only 60% complete! Both Lucia and I look forward to visiting again in 10 or so years to see how things will have changed over time.

The whole experience was beyond expectation, and La Sagrada Familia is hands down my favorite site of the trip. I can’t wait to go back and spend a whole day.

After we finally dragged ourselves out (we kept getting distracted by something new to look at…it took a while to actually leave), it was time to look for lunch. We walked into a nearby deli type place to enjoy probably the worst burger Lucia or I have ever had… haha it was terrible, but we had pictures of La Sagrada Familia to obsess over — which helped. Everyone else’s meals were fine.

After lunch it was time to meet Ari (who had to work in the morning). The next stop for all of us was La Pedrera (another Gaudi masterpiece). La Sagrada Familia is a tough act to follow, but this place didn’t disappoint. We did the audio tour, and I’m super happy we did. La Pedrera was originally designed for a wealthy family who wanted to live there and rent out apartments to tenants. My favorite aspect of the design is actually that the interior has NO load bearing walls. He did this so that the apartments and, really, the entire space could be organized in any way the occupants wanted. The building’s history seems to have taken advantage of this fact too. Pretty cool stuff. He also designed it to maximize natural light — which was pretty evident when we got to tour one of the apartments (made up to be “period” accurate).

After we finished the tour, we headed back to our respective areas to shower and get ready for dinner (the heat necessitated two showers a day). We ate at an italian place that was fantastic, and we all had a great time! Even Maurizio, the Italian, liked it.

Barcelona Day 1: Picaso es su caso

…that makes sense, right? I learned a lot of spanish in Spain — for real. Anyway, day one was split up. The first half was about errands! We woke up early, packed our dirty laundry, and walked over to the nearest laundromat. A trendy place, where trendy people clean their cloths. It was a bit expensive, but we were desperate and it was still cheaper than Switzerland (the mantra “hey, it’s cheaper than Switzerland” became pretty common in Barcelona). After a couple loads, and some quarreling between Lucia and I about whether there was soap in the machine or not, we stuffed our clean cloths in some plastic bags and headed out in search of a sim card! We found it — but they only took cash…of which we had none. I ran over to the ATM to get cash, we payed the guy, and we were on our way — to frantically find antiseptic, and bandages….

Aside time: So before we left for Europe I bought a brand new pair of Top Siders! They were super comfortable. They looked great on me. They were destroying my ankles the entire trip. Apparently I have a habit of occasionally knocking my foot into the opposite ankle while taking steps. This is normally fine — except Top Siders have metal rivets on them. This is normally fine — except the rivets on this pair of Top Siders were not flush with the leather. This makes for an excellent skin scoop. Basically every time I knocked one foot into the other ankle, it would scrape, cut, or gouge me. This particular time while looking for the ATM was particularly bad, and I didn’t put the shoes on again for the rest of the trip. I have since exchanged them for a new pair which are not defective. Thanks J-Crew!

All bandaged up, and pretty embarassed, we made our way back to the hotel where we met up with Lorena and Maurizio (Lorena’s cousin from Italy who had arrived while we were doing our laundry). Once Lucia and I got ready, we headed out for part two of the day!

Our first stop was lunch at a tapas place which was air conditioned, and delicious. It overlooked a pleasant square and Santa Maria del Mar (a church in Barcelona). After we finished eating, we decided to head into the church. It was beautiful, and unusually warm on the inside. Typically churches of this style and size are quite cool on the inside, so this was strange. This is also where we met up with Ari, and another cousin (I don’t remember her name right now, we’ll call her “Maeby” for her resemblence to the character on Arrested Development).

Once we wrapped up at the church, Maeby went off to do her own thing for a bit while we went to the Picaso Museum! This is ended up being my favorite art museum of the trip. The temporary exhibit showed the progression of his self portraits. The reason I liked it so much was for two reasons. 1: it really showed the progression and influences of his work in a pretty systematic and explicit way. You really could see what influenced him, and how it affected his work. 2.) it had a ton of stuff he did in a wide range of styles. He was an AMAZING painter in all styles. I had no idea that he did anything outside of weird abstract art. It turns out he did, and it was ridiculous.

When we wrapped up in the museum, we all went back to our places and decided to meet up for dinner at xyz place at xyz time to get Paella!

So at xyz place and time, we met up (me, Lucia, Lorena, Maruizio, Ari, and Maeby) and mosied over to dinner at La Fonda (no, not this Lafonda). Lucia and I split a mixed Paella (seafood and pork), and it was rreeeeaaaallllly good. That’s really all I can say, I wish I had it in my mouth right now. Delicious — and cheaper than Switzerland =)

And I almost forgot! We wrapped up the evening with some delicious gelato! The guy behind the counter was hitting on Lucia, and it was awkward for a moment before he realized we were together.

That was day 1! not a bad day considering we spent the first half doing laundry, and tending to injuries.

Travel Day: Marseille — Barcelona

Today was a pretty uneventful day. This was the first time the entire trip we took an airplane to our next city, so that was a new experience. Jon’s dad was kind enough to drive us to the airport in the morning to save us a pretty expensive cab ride. When we got to the airport, we grabbed a quick bite, and checked in. We flew Vueling; it was cheap and good! We had heard horror stories about Ryan Air charging 80 Euros if your suitcase had a broken wheel, or forcing you to pay for an extra carryon if you were holding a sweatshirt/camera/etc. Vueling had none of that! They took our bags without trouble, the plane was as good or better than most jet blue planes (minus the TV though), and the staff was polite and helpful. Great experience.

Upon landing in Barcelona, we hopped in a cab and headed to the hotel. The fare was cheaper than we expected, so our our last stop was already going well.

Once we got settled at the hotel we met up with Lucia’s mom (Lorena) and then Ari later on. We did some shopping (one of our suit cases is in rough shape), but didn’t end up buying anything. A nice all-you-can-eat sushi (shout out to Matt Leach!) dinner topped off a relaxing travel day, and we were off to sleep!

There aren’t many pictures (read “any”) of our first couple days in Barcelona…I kept forgetting the camera =(