On Wednesday, I left the Arctic temperatures of Chicago (-30 F) for Barcelona. Somehow I got lucky & my flight was only delayed 3 hours rather than canceled like the the rest of the flights departing that night. I was immediately thankful for my 4 hour layover in London so even thought with the delay, I still had plenty of time to catch my connection to Barcelona. I landed in Barcelona at 1:30 pm on Thursday. My boyfriend, Jason, is studying abroad in Barcelona this semester & I figured it would be a perfect pit stop on my way to Sevilla since I have not seen him since he left on January 2nd.
Once Jason was done with class at 3, he picked me up from the airport and we somehow found our way back by taking several different metros. I was so lost, it was a good thing I had him to navigate me through the city. The first thing we did was go to dinner at a tapas place he had wanted to try called Viana. That was the moment that I decided I was going to like the food just fine here, maybe even better than home. After dinner, we walked around La Rambla, which is a very popular street in Barcelona. The street is very touristy with many vendors selling flowers, souvenirs, and other things of that sort. Since I was exhausted and not used to the time change, I went to bed at 9 pm and woke up at 3 am, unable to fall back asleep…so let’s just say I was very tired for the extremely busy day I had ahead of me.
For my first full day in Barcelona, we began at La Boqueria, which is the most amazing market I have ever seen. There was everything from juice, cheese, fruits and vegetables, to (maybe a little too raw) seafood and meat. You name it, and La Boqueria had it. After walking around for a while and trying several different juices, we shopped around in some of Barcelona and all of Spain’s most popular clothing stores: Pull & Bear, and Zara (don’t worry Mom, I did not buy anything). From there, we took the metro to Sagrada Familia and took lots of pictures while waiting for our time slot to go inside. La Sagrada Familia is a beautiful Roman Catholic Church that has been under construction since 1882. Gaudi was the original architect for the church until he died in 1926 and it was taken over by several other architects over time who share his vision. I love the fact that La Sagrada Familia is made by the people and for the people as it is funded solely from donations. Even after all this time, the church is still under construction and will be until 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death. After walking around the gigantic church, we went back to take a siesta before grabbing dinner and experiencing the nightlife in Barcelona. My favorite part about the club we went to is that after we were tired of dancing, we walked out back and walked along the Mediterranean Sea as many of the clubs are directly on the beach.
After learning more about Gaudi, I wanted to see more of his architecture throughout Barcelona so we spent the next day walking all over and admiring his buildings. From there, Jason took me to a popular spot that a lot of the local university students go to that overlooks all of Barcelona called Bunkers del Carmel. We watched the sunset from up there and it was absolutely beautiful. After the sun had set, we went to this amazing Italian restaurant, yes I know Italian food in Spain???, but it was seriously the best I have ever had (yet).
Finally, for my last day, we went to the largest tourist attraction in Barcelona: Park Guell. Part of the park is free, which was honestly my favorite part. All of the sculptures were made of stone and the further up you climbed, the better views there were. The part that you pay 8 euro for is basically just paying for an Instagram photo lol. Don’t get me wrong, the mosaics are beautiful, however, there are just too many people with cameras everywhere you look that it is not as enjoyable and peaceful as the other section of the park. To end the night, we watched the sunset at the beach and then went to Jason’s host mother’s house for dinner. It was a great experience since it gave me a sneak peek of what my life in Sevilla will be like since I will have a host mother as well. Overall, my time in Barcelona was perfect and it allowed me to practice my Spanish before heading to Sevilla.