This past weekend was definitely one for the books. I walked so much my feet felt like they were about to fall off, drank more coffee than ever before in my life, and saw an entire new city in about two days. Yes, that’s right. This weekend I went to Spain! It was the final traveling of the semester, and because my roommates and I booked our plane tickets over the summer, we had been looking foreword to this trip for months and months.
Friday, bright and early, we took a taxi to the airport and successfully caught our Ryan Air flight to El Prat Airport in Barcelona. We then managed to use public transportation to get to our hostel (Barcelona’s metro system is fantastic), which was literally the cutest place in the world. It included a delicious breakfast, had a cute relaxing and hanging out area with bean bags and plush armchairs, and had a coffee machine where you could get UNLIMITED COFFEE. I averaged about eight espressos a day.
The first afternoon, we got traditional Spanish piadinas, and then we walked down Passeig de Gracia, the main street, and saw the main square. We stumbled upon a quaint market, where they had an arrangement of gourmet, homemade chocolates, meats, cheeses, and exotic fruits.
After, we walked some more, all the way down to the port. There were hoards of seagulls flying around, crew teams practicing in the water, and boats as far as the eye could see. It was gorgeous and refreshing. Also, near the water, there was a column dedicated to Christopher Columbus, and naturally we insisted on taking pictures on the lion statues near it.
On Saturday, our feet were hurting so badly, and we opted to do a biking tour instead of a walking one. This seemed like an absolutely wonderful idea before we found ourselves biking through busy streets filled with cars and popular piazzas and tourist sites filled with people. Nonetheless, we got to see many amazing things that were spread all throughout the city. Without bikes, it would have been difficult to be able to walk to all these cool places, such as a gorgeous park, a former bull fighting arena, the Olympic Village from 1992, the beach, Sagrada Familia, some work by Gaudi, Barcelona’s cathedral, the Triumphal Arch, and the steps where Queen Elizabeth greeted Christopher Columbus. Plus, it was hilarious how badly our bike riding abilities were in crowded areas.
Saturday night, a bunch of us went to the Imagine Dragons concert. Way back in June, I booked my ticket to the concert, and the idea snowballed into a huge group of us going. It was absolutely wonderful. They are not as popular in Europe as they are in America, and we were able to get pretty close to the stage. The band was even better live than recorded, and it was a night I will never forget.
Sunday we got to go inside the Sagrada Familia. It was designed by Barcelona’s famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. The church is so grand and the details so elaborate that, although the church began construction in 1882, it still is not finished and there is no confirmed completion date in sight. The current builders, who are trying to stay true to Gaudi and his ideas and designs, want to finish in 13 years for the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death but they don’t know if it is possible. It was breathtaking, both inside and out, and Gaudi’s attention to each and every detail is magnificent.
After, a few of us went to mass in Spanish at the other cathedral, walked around Barcelona’s beautiful Christmas market, and then sadly took one last walk through the city. We found our way back to our hostel, collected our things, made our way to the airport, and successfully managed to come back to Home Sweet Rome. Barcelona is so different from Rome, and it gave me new perspective and made me appreciate both cities more. Barcelona was so lively, with children all over the place, intriguing art and architecture, and a gorgeous location on the water with a backdrop of mountains. The weekend was full of incredible people, places, and things, and I am truly blessed to have experienced it.
- Deirdre O. ‘16