Better late than never, right? I finally have a chance to blog about my fantastic weekend trip to Barcelona...
|Barcelona has one of the best soccer teams in the world-- some of my friends bought jerseys!|
Barcelona is part of the autonomous community of Spain called Catalunya.
Catalunya basically wants to become its own country. They speak Catalan rather than Spanish. It is similar, but considered a completely separate language (although several people speak Spanish and even English still, since it is such a tourist-attracting city). To me, it seems like a mixture of Spanish and French, which makes sense since it borders France. You'll see more Catalunyan flags than Spanish ones. It's really interesting. There have been protests while I have been here, and we've discussed the possibility of Catalunyan independence in my culture class. Many seem to agree that it would be to Catalunya's benefit to stay part of Spain, considering they would struggle financially and lose all relations with the rest of Europe should they break free. I guess we'll see what happens...
|To the right, light yellow. (Sevilla is in Andalucia, which I don't think I have mentioned before... oops.)|
Gaudi was a famous architect who designed many buildings in Barcelona, all very modern and once largely misunderstood. Then again, aren't most ground-breaking artists misunderstood at first? Here's one of his works, right near our hostel...
We got to Barcelona on Friday, and took a stroll around. The first thing we did after getting a quick cafe was visit the Sagrada Familia. I think it's my favorite of all the cathedrals and basilicas I've seen so far. It's very modern, very colorful, very intricate, and still a work in progress. While Gaudi passed away before he could finish it, they are continuing the construction. It is expected to take a few more decades. You can see a difference in the two parts that are done now-- since Gaudi's blueprints were lost, another architect worked on creating a similar finish to the masterpiece.
The inside is supposed to be a forest. The columns are all designed to look like trees. The stained glass was so vibrant, I wish a picture could do it justice...
Later, we walked around some parks and side streets. We got a pretty good view of the city.
Friday night, we were all pretty tired. We went out to eat and to a bar for a little bit/ a discoteca, but didn't last to long before heading back to the hostel for a good night's sleep.
The next day, we went on a walking tour, which I was doubtful about, but later really happy I did. Our tour guide was awesome. Funny and really smart. I learned a lot about the history of Barcelona. I am not a history fan, so there is something to be said for the fact that our guide made it interesting enough that I actually enjoyed and even retained what I learned in those few hours.
We went all around the city, seeing all the buildings, new and old. Lots of churches. We also learned about the Jewish community, which really interested me. There is one synagogue, tiny and hidden. The Jews were persecuted time and time again throughout history. A seemingly never-ending tragedy.
We found this beautiful fountain afterwards, and met a girl from Holland. It's always so much fun to meet people who are in similar situations as me. She told us about her motivational speaking company, and her already-published book that she is in the process of translating into (if I remember correctly) English. What a gal! Oh, the people you meet in traveling...
Of course we made a beach stop, despite the cold weather. So beautiful! I wasn't as brave as my friends who put their feet in the water.
|I'm always happy at the beach.|
At night we went to the Magic Fountain, which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The fountain was complete with music and lights that changed colors-- we spent a good amount of time watching it and enjoying sitting after walking all day.
That night, we went out to a huge discoteca called Razzmatazz. It was so much fun!! There were a ton of floors and lots of different music playing. I was a little scared though, since not only was my friend Corey pick-pocketed earlier that day, but a stranger pulled me by the hair and demanded I buy her a drink, because I had allegedly spilled her's. Not true, and I escaped without harm of course, but this night on the town was not as low-key as a night out in Sevilla. We had to be on our guard.
Sunday, we went to the Olympic Stadium. Considering all that Barcelona had been through, it's amazing that economically they could support the Olympic Games.
After a little more walking, visiting the Ports, and a really good sandwich for lunch, we had to head home to Sevilla.
Isn't it weird that Sevilla feels homey now? It's amazing how quickly you can adapt to something so foreign, and even grow to love it.
Barcelona was great, and a fun trip because it was so much more modern and different than every other city I've visited so far. It reminded me a little bit of the Big Apple-- the most similar to an American city I've seen since being here in Europe.
Can't believe how the time is winding down...