Back home, killing time between classes means heading to my dorm to continue binge-watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or lying in bed with a Costco-sized box of Cheez-its. However, when you’re a student in Barcelona, you have the freedom to roam around one of the best cities in the world when you have a chunk of time to kill during the weekdays. Luckily for me, I have a four hour break between my classes each day. Last week I decided to bring my camera along with me to capture a typical afternoon wandering around this beautiful city.
As soon as I step out of school, I’m facing the famous Parc de la Ciutadella. Not only does the park have a breathtaking fountain designed by Josep Fontserè, but also a lake and a zoo (yes, you heard me right)! There’s no better feeling than leaving my first class of the day and stroll through this historical area. Definitely not your typical “walk in the park.”
It never fails to amaze me that I live just a two minute walk away from this picturesque monument, built by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas in 1888. With a strip of great Spanish restaurants, as well as liveliness in the streets, it’s the perfect place to people-watch and take in the atmosphere of Barcelona. I love putting in headphones, walking under the Arc and through the palm tree-lined walkway. I can usually catch some magnificent street performances too!
MERCADO DE LA BOQUERIA
In the mood for jamón, paella, candy, or seafood? La Boqueria, located on La Rambla (Barcelona’s most famous street), is the place for foodies. Prepared to be mesmerized by all the sublime Spanish cuisine. It’s still surreal walking through the market and being surrounded by an infinite number of vendors. This is the perfect place to enjoy some sweet treats and refresh myself from school.
After visiting La Boqueria, I head toward the Gothic Quarter, which is one of the most visually intriguing areas of Barcelona. Walking through this area makes me feel like I stepped right into medieval times. In America, I would never dream of leaving school and seeing buildings like the Barcelona Cathedral or Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia. The striking architecture, specialty shops, and cafes that line the narrow alleys throughout this neighborhood make the Gothic Quarter the perfect place to wind down from class.
Now comes my favorite thrift shop in Barcelona- Trash Closet! As soon as I walk in, a wave of nostalgia for the 70s rushes through while music from Depeche Mode, Bowie, and other European rock bands fill the room. For just a moment, I’ve escaped reality and gone to the 70s– plus they have the best selection of leather jackets, scarves, and vintage T-shirts I’ve ever seen! A favorite for sure!
This is my top recommendation for dessert so I was thrilled when my roommate wanted to stop by for a quick bite to eat. I’m obsessed with their Instagram-worthy Oreo cake – a MUST if you like sweets – but all of their pastries and meals are spectacular. The combination of stellar music, cozy sofas, and delicious treats make it the the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate.
My last stop is the beach. I love sitting along the shore to relax and people-watch. Since there are not as many tourists visiting this time of year, it is significantly less crowded and loud. I love to see all the wild sand castles people make along the boardwalk and trying the different restaurants on the beach. It’s the perfect place to end my afternoon adventures in the city.
Studying abroad is an experience like no other. I couldn’t be happier to explore a different side of the world while simultaneously working on my studies. After being here for almost a month, I can confidently say that this has been one of the best decisions of my life. Barcelona is the place to be and every day feels surreal. I can’t wait to see what adventures the next two months will bring!
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.