Barcelona

October 18, 2017

in Academic Year 2017-2018, Europe, Fall 2017, Madison Clarke, Spain

Last week, I left for Barcelona with Abbie, a friend of mine from the university. I left on a bus right after school, so I sat through history with my overfilled backpack and a leopard print neck pillow, which was quite the sight. We left on a bus bound for Barcelona around three and didn’t arrive until nearly eleven. We took a rather slow bus because we didn’t get tickets very far in advance and decided to save money by avoiding plane ticket prices.

When we arrived in Barcelona, we realized that neither of us had routed a way to our hostel. Luckily, the hostel was only a few minutes away so we were able to walk. The hostel was amazing. It was called “360 arts and culture”. Inside, there was a large kitchen, living room with musical instruments, and balcony overlooking the city. We shared our rooms with four or five other people and kept our things in lockers. The shower situation wasn’t ideal and there weren’t many places to change clothes that weren’t common areas, but for the price I’d give the place a full mark. The relaxed atmosphere of the place was also very cool and I enjoyed meeting other travelers.

Saturday morning, our adventures in Barcelona began. We wandered around downtown for a bit and grabbed breakfast at a small café. Obligatory snap chats of our coffees were necessary. Abbie and I did most of our exploration of the downtown area on Saturday because we were worried downtown wouldn’t be safe on Sunday when Cataluña’s vote for succession would take place. Due to the vote, much of downtown was shut down on Sunday and we were glad we took the time to explore earlier. Saturday afternoon, we saw Sagrada familía, a famous cathedral made by Gaudí. Of all the Gaudí architecture I saw on the trip, Sagrada was my favorite by far. I have been in a lot of other catholic churches on my trip, and this was strikingly unique. The whole inside looks like a tree. Giant granite support structures fan out at the top in a beautiful array of stone.

Sunday morning, Abbie and I made our way to Parque Güell. We accidentally bought tickets for the crack of dawn, so we woke up around 6:30 to pack up our stuff and walk over. If I hadn’t prepaid for the tickets, I wouldn’t have found the motivation to get up that early, but I’m really glad we did. In return for our early rise, Abbie and I got to tour the park with almost no one else around. The park was designed by Gaudí with beautiful mosaic, but the area also looked like something you might find in a big city with arching trees and silent benches to sit on.

In a mad dash to get the most out of our Barcelona experience, Abbie and I climbed part of a mountain to get a better view of the city. Unfortunately, it started pouring while we were up there. Abbie and I didn’t have any small change so we couldn’t pay a bus driver, but he took pity on us and drove us down the mountain because our stuff was soaking wet.

Onward, I paid for tickets to Casa Batlló, which wasn’t great. The building was beautiful, but there were so many people inside that I felt claustrophobic. People inside were so obsessed with taking pictures that I got jabbed by a selfie stick more than once and there was a three to four person line at each balcony filled with people looking to take pictures. The house was really cool and I would love to return someday with fewer people.

On Sunday, we got to see the vote take place. After looking through the news, I know there were riots and plenty of violence, but Abbie and I didn’t see much of it. Part of the city center was barricaded by police cars so we avoided the area, despite our curiosity.

There are quite a few things I left to see in Barcelona, but I saw more than I ever thought possible. Until next time!

M.

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