I have just returned from a weekend away in Barcelona and am so grateful that I don't have Monday classes because I definitely feel that I need at least a day to recuperate.
We left early Friday morning at 7:00am and took the trenitalia train down to Pisa where we then took a 9:25am flight out to Girona and then had to take a bus for an hour up to Barcelona. Quite the morning of traveling. We arrived in Barcelona about 11:30 and started to explore the city. None of us had a lot of luggage so we didn't need to check into the hostel just yet. The first place we went to was Antonio Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia (the church of the holy fami;y), which is a massive Roman Catholic church that is continuing to be built since Gaudi started it in 1883. They expect it to be done in 2026 which is the centennial of Gaudi's death.
The line was too long to go inside so we circled the major building and continued on our way. We walked to the Gothic center which reminded me a lot of 5th Avenue in Manhattan and then checked into our hostel HelloBCN. It was tiny but cozy. Honestly, I get skived very easily over places that I sleep and wasn't the biggest fan of having to use their sheets, but staying in a hostel was a lot less expensive than staying in a hotel and they were pretty clean so I was content. After checking into the hostel, we went and explored the waterfront and saw a lot of the sailboats in the docks - it was beautiful because we were there just as the sun was setting over the water. We found a delicious restaurant and couldn't wait to eat. After that, we walked back to the hostel and passed out because we were so tired from the traveling and all of the hours of walking.
We went back to the hostel and passed out dead tired from the traveling and the long day of walking. We got up bright and early the next morning and went to meet for a free walking tour at 11:00am and the Travel Bar. We had a great tour leader who knew a lot of information and took us on a two hour two that included the school that Picasso studied, some castles and cathedrals, a bunch of columns, and a lot of background history of the city. We went on Saturday and it just so happened that the city was having a celebratory feast day so there were a large mass crowd throughout the city. It was really interesting to see how everyone was super excited and celebratory.
The school where Pablo Picasso studied art
We grabbed some lunch at the St. Josep market (I had a delicious sausage type sandwich and bought an apple) then we checked into our second hostel and took the metro up to Park Guell. The park was absolutely amazing. It was on a really high hill where we had to take a few escalators built into the streets as well as walk up a bunch of hills. The view was spectacular; I saw the whole city, a bunch of Gaudi's pieces (like the outline of La Sagrada Familia) and a lot of trees. We went at the perfect time of day and saw the sun set over the hills. It was really unbelievable and I remebered to stop taking pictures and just soak it all in. The pictures and video fail to capture the beauty of the city in Park Guell.
The Paella that hated me
After we walked down from the hill, we went to see another one of Gaudi's creations. I don't even know what the title was or the history behind them as we weren't on a tour and I didn't see any signs explaining the background, but the architecture was very awesome. We wanted to get out of the park before it got too dark so we grabbed some souvenirs and went on the metro back to the main part of the city. We found a place for dinner that offered unlimited toppas and a paella. The dinner was delicious but one I would later regret to have. Barcelona is known for their crazy nightlife so we went to a few bars, but I was so tired and drinks are so expensive that we went back to the hostel and packed for the trip back to Florence. I actually met someone in the hostel that goes to school near mine back home in New York but he was studying in Scotland. Maybe we'll run into each other again in another country!
We woke up bright and early again on Sunday morning and took the metro train to the airport, the plane from Barcelona to Pisa and then a bus from Pisa to Florence and then walked back to our apartment. All of this while I was nauseous and sick - probably from the paella the night before. I'm pretty good when it comes to being sick but this was the worst. When I got back to my apartment, I emailed my parents to let them know I was safe and then fell asleep from 6:00pm until 10:00am the next day. I kept waking up in the middle of the night confused about the time and chugged so much water - I was probably really dehydrated. When I woke up the next day, I felt a lot better although my stomach has still been bothering me slightly. But now, its back to classes, dance practice and exploring Florence some more. That's what I love about this city - no matter how many times I walk around, i always stumble upon a new street and a new shop. Makes getting lost fun!
Ciao For Now!