Thursday, March 31, 2011

Barcelona - Day 1

Last Thursday a large group of API students headed off to Barcelona for the weekend.  The first group left Sevilla around 11 am however I flew out with the last group of the day that night since that flight was cheaper when I booked it.  Our flight was scheduled for 8:25 pm however our plane didn’t get to the gate until 8:30 and we didn’t leave for another 45 minutes.  Once we got to Barcelona we barely made the last train/metro from the airport to the center of the city and then took a taxi to our hostel.  That night we decided to head down to the night club district on the beach and thanks to some friends we made in line for one of them we got in for free!!  It was much bigger than the clubs I’ve been to so far in Sevilla and had more entertainment besides a DJ like dancers, live rappers, and even an electric violin player.

The next morning we slept through breakfast at the hostel and bought brunch from a supermarket before heading out to the tourist sites.  Our first stop was Parc Guell, which was by far my favorite Gaudi masterpiece we saw the entire weekend…it was like walking into a fairy tale or Candyland.  Next, we walked to the Sagrada Familia cathedral (which was a very close second do Parc Guell).  Only two of us decided we wanted to pay to go inside and I’m so glad we did because it is like no other cathedral I’ve seen.  Instead of being dark and gloomy there was a lot of natural light used to brighten the white pillars and walls even more.  The amount of detail on the outside of the church was amazing and the unusual curves of the pillars, stairs, and walls inside were fascinating.

Entrance to Parc Guell

Outside the Sagrada Familia.

Inside the Sagrada Familia.

After the Sagrada Familia, we continued our Gaudi tour of Barcelona while walking down Passeig de Gràcia, one of the main streets leading into the center of Barcelona.  We saw Casa Mila (aka La Pedrera) and Casa Batlló, both of which are Gaudi houses, in addition to a ton of other interesting architecture.  We then veered off onto Las Ramblas, a street dedicated to shops, street carts, and people dressed up in many different costumes acting like statures and ready to pose for a picture (for a tip of course).   While on Las Ramblas we also had to stop by the Mercat Boqueria.  This market was the most colorful place I’ve ever been…even more colorful than the markets in Marrakesh.  Most stands were specific to a certain category of food like fruit, vegetables, seafood, other meat, eggs, candy, etc.  Almost every fruit stand also sold fresh juices of various flavors and combinations.  

Casa Mila.

Fruit stand in Mercat Boqueria.
Next we headed into the Gothic Quarter to see the cathedral and walk the narrow, winding streets.  On our way to the fountain/light show at Font Monjuic we stopped back in the market to buy a freshly made crepe for dinner (that was absolutely delicious).  The light show at Font Montjuic was very entertaining, however, after a full day of walking and sight seeing and considering it was a lot colder at night in Barcelona than Sevilla, I was ready for a nap.  We all went back to the hostel after the light show to shower and take a siesta before going out.  That night we ended up at a bar that is really more of a tourist attraction, but was very fun.  The name of the bar was Chupitos (translation: Shots) and they had more than 500 different shots…all of which were listed on the wall without any description and if you asked the bartender what was in it they would tell you it’s a secret recipe.

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