One thing about living in Spain is that traveling to other countries or other cities within this beautiful country is so easy. At times, it can be even really cheap. There are so many means of transportation (plane, train, bus, etc.) that you can find a way to any place you want to go. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I haven’t been able to travel as much as some, but I did have an amazingly fantastic trip to Barcelona with some friends. This specific trip sticks out in my mind, and will forever have a place in my heart.
I apologize ahead of time for my very verbose, detailed, and extended explanation of my trip. I truly fell in love with this city in such a short amount of time.
Barcelona. Barcelona was the only city in Spain that I was yearning to see. I had heard wonderful stories about the city, and of course the beautiful sights. Well, one of my friends Victoria (another ISA blogger) in my group was asking around if anyone wanted to travel to Barcelona with her the weekend of March 1st. Coincidentally, one of my Sigma Kappa sorority sisters, Devin, was flying into Barcelona on March 3rd to meet up with one of her friends, Susan, who is teaching English in France. That was the absolute perfect weekend to go. Also, luckily enough, we don’t have classes on Fridays (SCORE!) so whenever we are able to travel we are able to leave late on Thursday nights. It was actually a grueling process trying to get all of the transportation plans together, but eventually they all fell into place. We took a bus to Madrid, spent the night with my extended family that lives there, and then had a flight BRIGHT and EARLY (6AM) the morning of March 2nd.
Once we landed, we had to figure out exactly where our hostel was and what was the easiest was to get there. We had plenty of time because Victoria’s friends, that are studying in Sevilla, weren’t arriving for at least another 4 hours. The funny thing was…we spent at least 2 hours in the airport. We couldn’t find anything and we kept getting incorrect directions to the tourism office. It was a complete mess, but we just laughed it off. We were finally advised to take the train into the center of the city and then to take the Metro to our hostel. We finally arrived safely at the train station, and were able to share a sigh of relief.
We passed our time by sitting in the gorgeous sun in Parque de la España Industrial. It was actually right next to the train station, which was just our luck. If I don’t say so myself, it was a beautiful place to just pass time.
Once Victoria’s friends arrived, we met them in the train station, took the Metro to the correct stop for our hostel, and then checked in. Okay, so I’ve never stayed in a hostel and I’ve always had a weird feeling about them ever since they came out with a HORROR movie called Hostel, the one we stayed in, was pretty awesome. It was very clean, colorful, had wi-fi, and the staff was very helpful. Once we organized ourselves, we made plans to see Parque Güell and the Sagrada Familia. Traveling by Metro and by foot, we got there in no time. Except the fact that Parque Güell is at the TOP of a very steep hill, as you can see from the picture below. Thankfully for my lungs and my heart, they have escalators going up, how convenient.
Once we arrived at the TIPPY TOP, I was speechless. The view of Barcelona was gorgeous. You could see right out to the Balearic Sea. Then we encountered the famous titled benches. As cheesy as it sounds, I’ve seen them in textbooks and such, but I specifically remember them from the movie Cheetah Girls 2. Yep, true Disney Channel fan here…at the age of 19. The tile work on each bench is so detailed. All the colors work so well with each other, and it just gives the area a light-hearted feeling.
These benches and a vast majority of the park were designed by Antonio Gaudí. His work is so unique that I don’t think it could ever be replicated. We walked around the park some more, visiting the Pórtico de la Lavandera, the Sala Hipóstila (which is underneath the bench area), and two of Gaudí’s decorative houses at the entrance of the park. Of course we also visited the decorative staircase, which houses three different fountains. The most famous being Dragón de la Escalinata (the dragon of the staircase). It is so difficult to take a picture with this art piece. You have to jump in front of people to be next in line for a photo, but yes…I successfully had my picture taken with it. It truly is magnificent. The colors blend so well together and it is a beautiful work of art.
We next traveled to the Sagrada Familia, one of the main attractions in Barcelona. This AMAZING church had me speechless. I’ve seen pictures and had always thought it was a hideous, ugly building…well I was COMPLETELY wrong. This structure made me smile from cheek to cheek. Just staring up at it made me go “ga-ga”. I couldn’t find the words to describe how wonderful it was. I kept saying “this is SOOOO beautiful” over and over again. It truly is breath-taking. Gaudí sure out did himself on this one. Even though it is still under construction and the construction is a little distracting, the building is beautiful. I apologize for being so cheesy, but it is the second most amazing thing I’ve seen while in Spain.
The following day I returned to the train station to pick up my sorority sister, Devin. Boy was I excited to see her. She was the first familiar face from home that I had seen the whole time I’ve been here. Once she arrived, I instantly attacked her…in a loving way of course, but then she unfortunately had bad news…the airline had left her luggage back in Florida. UGH. This led to an awesome shopping trip for her to check out Spain’s fashion. She put a whole outfit together in H&M, we had lunch, and then we headed back to get her friend Susan from the train station. We had a very lazy day, Devin was jet-lagged and took a nap, so Susan and I just chit-chatted for a few hours. Later in the day we headed down to the harbor and beach area of Barcelona. We did get a little directionally challenged, but we stumbled upon an amazing ice cream store, which had the most handsome ice cream servers we’ve ever seen. I highly recommend you try this ice cream if you ever take a trip to Barcelona, it’s called VIOKO and its right by the beach. You can’t miss it, it was PACKED when we were there….we even had to “take a number” like in a grocery story. As we ate our ice cream, we eventually made our way to where we wanted to go. We all got Starbucks, such an American thing to do, and watched the sun set on the harbor.
Then the most amazing thing happened. Devin noticed this “activity area” right on the harbor and noticed this awesome activity. It may sound dumb, it was one of the COOOOOOOLEST things I have ever done in my life. You get in this plastic ball, the man blows it up with air, and then he puts you on water. Not harbor water, but a small pool of water. Devin and I were instantly obsessed. I’d have to say it was the best 5 minutes EVER. It was such an adrenaline rush. Now I can say that I’ve been inside a plastic bubble, on water in Barcelona, Spain. Not many people can say that….but Devin and I can.
After our bubble experience, Devin, Susan, and I wandered around some more of Barcelona for a little. Later that night, we all had dinner together…Mexican. Unfortunately, the next day we all had to part ways. Victoria and I were heading back to Salamanca. Victoria’s friends were heading back to Sevilla. Devin and Susan were heading to France.
Overall, Barcelona was magnificent. I wish that I had more time there. I can only imagine the other beautiful things and sights I could have seen if I had more time. I hope that in the future I will be able to take a trip back to Barcelona. But like I mentioned in the beginning, living in Spain has opened up so many travel possibilities for all us, and I can’t wait for my future adventures.