(photo not my own)
I have spent a fraction of my teenage years in central Europe and I have visited a lot of European countries, however, it served as a surprise when I realised I haven’t actually noted any of my experiences down. I am hoping to start a series where I will
write babble about my travels. Keep in mind that some time has passed and I don’t remember all of the little details and such, but I will try to recall as many things as possible.
Stop one: Barcelona
I visited Barcelona in May of 2010 for my senior trip, which was both good and bad. It was good because I got to make memories and spend times with people that mattered to me, and that I will forever cherish, but on the other hand it was bad, because we.were.too.many. As a lot of you might guess, traveling with a group can be tiresome, especially if that group is your senior class, which consists of so many different people with different personalities. I remember that the group of people closest to me wanted to spend day after day visiting one museum after another. While I support museums and believe that you should visit at least one museum when you visit a new place, when I am traveling I want to devote 90% of my time exploring. There is nothing more exciting to me than exploring a city, watching the locals and trying to grasp their everyday life, their habits, and learning so much about the place you are visiting. As I am writing this, pictures flood my brain; pictures from the sunny Barcelona streets, cruising down La Rambla, people watching in Barceloneta and making my way to the majestic Sagrada Familia (useless fact: I remember a McDonald’s across the street from La Sagrada Familia!) Barcelona fascinated me because it is a city of endless possibilities and can cater to even the most refined taste and it perfectly represents the marriage between history and modern culture.
I was completely blown away by the amazing architecture of the city. Before I visited Barcelona, I couldn’t care less about architecture. I live in a city that lacks majorly at that department, and even though I lived in places that had an interesting architecture, I, being young, was indifferent about that matter. However, Barcelona moved me in a way I didn’t think was possible. Every corner, every street was so beautiful, so classic and elegant, that left me admiring even the ugliest building. Because ugly has a different definition in Barcelona. Ugly may be old and worn down by the weather, but it still has so much life and energy that makes you marvel. One of course cannot ignore Gaudí’s influence on the city’s architecture. His work will leave you dizzy and confused most of the time, but in a way that will intrigue you.
I remember that I got a sample of most of the things Barcelona has to offer. City cruising and people watching? Walking down La Rambla and wandering around gave me the most of that. I got the beach time vibe hanging out in La Barceloneta. Barcelona is also a shopping paradise; from upscale brands to Spain’s native high street stores, like Zara and Mango, you are sartorially covered. The nightlife is rich and promising. And my favorite part, which is the food of course, leaves nothing to be desired, since there are a variety of plates to taste. (Don’t forget the tapas!)
- When I visited Barcelona, the prices were lower in Zara,etc, were lower than in all of the other countries. Therefore, shop your heart out.
- If you visit ( you must) La Sagrada Familia, and decide to go all the way up, keep in mind that as you go higher, the steps will only become narower. If you have trouble in heights, like me, keep that in mind.
- Dine at Los Caracoles. Do it, seriously.
- For some reason, we couldn’t find water easily. Since you will probably be wandering in the city all day, water will be essential, so make sure to bring some along with you. You will find Estrella, the native beer, in abudance, though.
- If you are out late at night, and people approach you saying “cerveza” (beer) they don’t want to sell you beer, they want to sell you something that rhymes with dot. If you deny politely, they will go away. ( note: they probably approached as because we were a group of 18 year olds hanging out in the street at 2 am)
- If this is your scene, the nightclubs in La Barceloneta are the best.