BCN

I landed in Barcelona and took the metro to my hostel which was super easy. I really like the area I’m in and my first impression is that I like Barcelona better than Madrid. I dropped my bags off and actually went to go find a manicure because my nails were awful (I peeled the polish off while waiting for my bag to come out, it was last.. I walked around some more and then came back to join the communal dinner. I sat with a guy from Belgium, another from Holland and a girl from New York. After dinner we continued to play cards with some others before we all went on the night tour (a fancy way of saying bar crawl). I enjoyed the group I was with, but I didn’t really like the first bar. The second one was okay because we could play foosball, and the third we skipped out on because we were tired and had a big day tomorrow. My favorite question of the night was from Joris, who asked why so many of the girls were just wearing big bras out (they had crop tops on). LOL. Before going home, we stopped at McDonalds because Danielle compares McDonalds in every country she visits. We had fun hearing the Dutch say hamburger and laughing at drunk people trying to get into the bathroom that needed a code.

The next morning I was up by 10am and joined the walking tour. It took us to the Gothic area, Old Town. Our first major stop was the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. Where we learned the story behind the saint who it’s named after. Besides the impressive architecture, my second favorite thing was to hear all of the dramatic tales behind the history. I was also interested in all of the signage and purpose behind some of the design (from the high corners where they would proclaim things to the female parts that pointed to the nearest brothel). We also visited the courtyard where a bomb went off and the walls were never repaired (so no one would forget all of the people, including children, it killed). The courtyard has been in a few movies and music videos.

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Afterwards, the same group from dinner the night before decided to keep on walking to get some food. We went to the Boqueria Mercat and I had Iberian ham, pink dragonfruit, and a chocolate croissant (which was sooooo good).

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Then, we went to the Sagrada Familia. I looked at it from the outside and booked tickets to see the inside another day (but will most the inside pictures here to keep them together).

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We didn’t stop there! Next, we went up to Park Güell where we walked around until it was our time to enter the gated area. I describe Gaudí’s work as sort of sand castle/fairy-like. I’m not sure if he would appreciate that or not, but I hope so. I appreciated again the unique architecture and the mosaics, but I have to say between the construction and the tourists it wasn’t my favorite. That said, I got the photo that everyone takes, which made it look perfect.

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It was almost sunset, so we quickly (with a brief stop for gummy candies) walked over to Bunkers del Carmel where we watched the sun go down–a fantastic view over the city. I had a really bad allergy and I was freezing, but I could still enjoy it with the view. At this point I had taken 3 allergy pills and I wasn’t sure I could take any more! Hungry and cold, we stopped at the hostel to put something warmer on and then walked to a nearby restaurant where we had paella. It was the coziest restaurant (Taverna El Glop), small, warm and we sat on the second floor. Very cozy, until they turned on the a/c. Having walked 22,000 steps or probably more today, we all went right to bed once we got home around 11pm.

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