Well, I had yet another exciting weekend adventure! This past weekend Danielle, Chloe and I went to Barcelona. We decided to fly there since it costs about the same as the bus and is 7 hours shorter. If you can recall, we had to take the long ass Barcelona to Madrid bus ride after our flights got screwed up coming home from Spring Break… we weren’t going to be doing that again!
Our hostel was in a great location and was pretty nice. We’ve been having amazing luck with the places we’ve been staying at. This time we were at Equity Point-Centric. It was huge and held 400 people! Our room was a 12 person mixed dorm. We had 6 girls and 6 guys, and had a bathroom/shower in our room. I feel like this was the first “real” hostel experience we have had. In addition to the three of us, there were two French guys, two Korean girls, one Mexican guy, an American girl and three American guys. We were all students studying abroad in various locations in Europe; it was great to hear how the experience has been going for them. Luckily everyone spoke English really well, so we could all communicate. :)
I LOVE Barcelona. It’s definitely my favorite place I’ve been in Spain so far. At first, I wished that I was studying there… but then I realized that #1) if I would have gone to school there, I probably never would have left! And #2) I don’t speak their language...that would be hard! In Barcelona they speak Catalan, not Castellano (the Spanish I know).
We spent most of the day on Friday exploring the city. We got to our Hostel before noon, so we had a lot of time. One of the first things we did was go to the Chocolate museum. It doesn’t really compare to the one in Koln, but it was still pretty cool! My favorite part was that our ticket was an actual candy bar… best believe it was gone before I even got to the first exhibit.
La Pieta in chocolate! Hopefully I'll get to see the real one if I make it to rome :)
We also walked down “La Rambla” (a famous pedestrian strip with vendors), visited the port (it’s right on the Mediterranean Sea), looked at the outside of the Cathedral, and visited the huge covered market. Spanish folks really looooooove their jamón (ham)! I personally think that any food from a pig is nast, but they are all over that shiz. In Madrid, there are even a few Museos de Jamón (Ham Museums). Everywhere you turned in this giant market there were pig legs hanging, waiting for the taking. At one station, I even saw some skinned chickens with their EYEBALLS still attached. I obviously thought all of this was disgusting and crazy- but then I realized that I have never been in a butcher shop at home in my life… so maybe this nastiness happens in Dubuque too. You tell me… are chickens with eyeballs and giant pig legs normal?
We got some gelado on our journey and then headed back to our hostel to rest up. That night we were going to start celebrating Danielle’s best friend from home’s 21st birthday (which was that Sunday). She is also studying in Madrid, and was in Barcelona for the weekend with her program. After a short nap, we were on our way to dinner. We went to this amaaaaaazing Japanese restaurant. The thing that made it so amazing was how we were served. A conveyor belt ran though the restaurant and tables were set up next to it. You just grab the plates you want as they come, and it’s all you can eat. We were loving it! After words, we went down to the Olympic Port where there are a lot of bars and restaurants. We walked down the strip, and pretty much every doorman ushered us in for free drinks… it was a fun night :)
Saturday, we walked around and looked at a lot of buildings by Gaudí. I have to say, I really enjoy his style. It is just so unique and thought provoking. After seeing his designs, I am sooo excited to learn about him in my art history class. We saw La Sagrada Família and Casa Milà (which was right by our hostel), but my favorite part of the day was our visit to Park Güell. It is one of most amazing parks I’ve ever been too... actually it's probably THE most amazing. It was designed by Gaudí, and is like being in a dream land.
That night, I got subway AGAIN for dinner (I was in heaven) and had round two of gelado. Having gelado in Barcelona made me so excited to eat it in Italy over spring break. After, Chloe and I decided to go with some of our new hostel friends to the “Dow Jones” bar. It is a really cool idea: the drink prices rise and fall depending upon how popular they are, and there’s a point in the night when the market crashes and everything is dirt cheap. There are tv screens all over the place, so people can keep an eye on the prices as they change. We ended the night with free nuts at the hostel bar. The fake Irishman bartender/receptionist even gave me an apple for free.
On Sunday we did a little more exploring (and cheered on some marathon runners), but then it was time to part ways with the city I had fallen in love with :( I made my way back to Madrid, and as I was on the metro between the airport and my apartment, I got QUITE the surprise…
…So, I was sitting there all alone (Danielle and Chloe were on a flight 1hr before mine), and I got a picture message from my sister. It was a picture of a left hand, with what looked like an engagement ring on the ring finger. The text said, “Guess who this is?!”. It was definitely her hand! I didn’t know if she was joking with me or what. I only had a few stops left and couldn’t wait to get back to my room to skype! After what seemed like forever, I was finally face to face with my family (for the first time since being here). It turns out that it was no joke. My sister and her boyfriend Jeremy are engaged and I am so excited for them. It was/still is so hard not to be home right now! But, I’m happy that in the Skype session I was able to see and talk so many people. A lot of my family members were over at my Aunt and Uncle’s house, so when the laptop was getting passed around and traveling in and out of rooms, I kind of felt like I was there :)
So, that was quite the exciting weekend. And this weekend will be another adventure! Tomorrow is my 22nd birthday, and on Friday we’re leaving for Morocco! We’re staying at a surf/beach house, and lessons are included... So I’m crossing my fingers for amazing weather!