In Barcelona, there is no bad or ugly, only good, great and even better. Hands down, Barcelona was my favorite place we visited–let me explain why.
Day 1: Thursday, November 12, 2015, 8:00 PM, 68 Degrees
Another day of travel for the gang! We arrived in Barcelona around 7 PM and get to our hostel at 8ish PM. The airport in Barcelona is pretty far from the city so we had to take a train to the Metro and get to the hostel from there. After Milan and Paris, I felt like the queen of public transportation! Once you do it a few times, you can figure out anything. Protip: If you’re going to Barca, buy the T-10 rail pass, it allows 10 rides on the metro, bus or tram. Great for a weekend trip. We met up with our Aussie friend Edward (heretofore known as “Chook”) at the hostel and immediately hit the road for some food. Wandering around, we came across a funny little buffet for 15 Euro and it was awesome. We loaded up on tapas, pasta, salchichas and even a bit of paella! Protip: if you go to Spain, especially Barcelona, GET THE PAELLA. Just make sure its a good place otherwise you could get a bad one and get sick. We took our time, as the Spanish do, and enjoyed each other’s company. We drank sangria (another must-have) and told funny stories, one of the simplest yet most fun nights I’ve had. It really is the people you’re with that make trips as amazing as they can be. It also helps that nobody has cell service outside of Denmark so we have to talk to each other lol. We headed back to the hostel, grabbed a drink downstairs in the bar and headed upstairs for a good night sleep. Lucky for us, we had such a huge group that 7/8 beds were taken by us and the guy who got stuck with us was a pretty cool dude.
Day 2: Friday, November 13, 2015
I cannot stress enough how fabulous the Generator Hostel in Barcelona is. They have them all across Europe so if you ever go somewhere they have a location, TAKE IT. We woke up around 9 AM and had a lovely breakfast for only 4.25 Euro then waited in the lobby for our free walking tour. Protip: Even though it is technically “free” you’re expected to tip at the end. Our guide took us to the meeting spot where we were shuffled off into another subgroup and, lucky for us, we got the best tour guide of them all… Leon from England. Hilarious? Yes. Eccentric? Yes. Possibly unhinged? Coin toss. He did an absolutely astounding job of really showing us how freaking awesome Spain, Catalunya and Barcelona really are. The history is so rich, I think it best to just show you instead of type it all out.
After an extremely interesting and educational afternoon, we strolled through the park, saw the Arc de Triumf and enjoyed the beach (IN NOVEMBER RIGHT?!?) I was like a little kid on Christmas. Protip: There will be people wandering the beach trying to hauk you anything from massages, beers or tapestries. Don’t be afraid of them, they’re cool people and selling beer for a euro isn’t a bad business model.
After such a jam-packed afternoon, we were in dire need of some nourishment (sangria). We stopped at this cool little place called Black Lab and I actually got to use my rusty Spanish skills to order for my group! It was a pretty cool feeling.
After half of a pitcher of Sangria each, we headed back to our hostel to get ready for the tapas tour. All in all, it was a really fun experience. We visited maybe 3 or 4 different restaurants where we got select tapas and wine included with the price of the tour.
If I could go back I’m not sure if I’d do this again. It was really fun to meet people from all over the world but it organized kind of poorly. We ended the tour at a pretty traditional Catalunya place with this weird contraption to drink wine out of. It’s called a “porron”:
Weird right? It looks like that because you literally pour it into your mouth like a waterfall and pass it around the table to share. Fraternities could learn a thing or two from the Spanish (looking at you ‘pulls’ and ‘slapping the bag’). We hung out with our cool Irish tour guide for a little while at this place, drank some more Sangria (surprise) and then headed out to a club we heard about on the beach– Shôko. Let me just tell ya, the Spanish know how to party. They’re a blast and a half, so much so that we accidentally stayed out until around 4:30 AM. Oops.
Day 3: Saturday, November 14, 2015
WOOOO GAUDI TOUR GAUDI TOUR GAUDI TOUR!!!!!!!!!! Hands down, definitely recommend you take a tour of some kind to see everything Gaudì because you might miss a lot of it.
Although some of these aren’t technically Gaudì, they were all influenced by him at least. Like the back of the Sagrada Familia is actually being finished by another architect because well Gaudì is dead… so that’s kinda necessary. My favorite piece was Casa Batllò, absolutely stunning! I true sight. My favorite story that went with it? So the lady that commissioned Gaudi to design this place told him that the one thing she NEEDED was a grand piano room for her daughter. Gaudi, being the character he was, said absolutely not. That does NOT go with my design. So, the lady said well either you make it or you’re not getting any money. Gaudi bent his design to her wishes but in the absolute most Gaudi way possible. He build a grand piano room–to the exact size and shape of a grand piano. Not even an inch of room for a person to get in there. So, upon move-in the woman was furious obviously and refused the piano that was supposed to go into the room. She walked into the room and saw a violin on the windowsill with a note from Gaudi that said “I hope your daughter enjoys learning the violin.” CLASSIC.
At the end of the tour we went and spend waaaay too much on souvenirs and then headed back to the hostel to meet up with the others who didn’t go on the tour and a few new friends we made, surprisingly both of them were from Nashville but one was living in Florence and the other in Geneva. Small world huh? So we grabbed tacos across the street from our place, ordered in Spanish again ;), and started to get ready to go out to this other awesome club we heard about on the beach called Opium. Every single person I know who has been to or studied in Barcelona suggested this place and I 100% know why. ITS AMAZING. Before we left, I met up with a sorority sister of mine, Kelly (yo whadup Kelly) and a couple of her friends who study in Rome but happened to be in Barcelona at the same time as us!
Needless to say we RHGS’d and had an absolutely amazing time. Sorry, its a KD thing can’t tell ya what it means except that its a good thing. Again, we were out until an ungodly hour (5:30 AM) but I don’t regret a single second.
Day 4: Sunday, November 15, 2015
The next day we were all dead, pretty much goes without saying. We had a late start and decided to have a chill day and just enjoy the beach. Best. Decision. Ever. On Sundays, a lot of places are closed in Barcelona including restaurants and shops so the beach was a fabulous idea. Like I said earlier, people were selling anything and everything like massages and tapestries– a friend of mine actually bought a beautiful tapestry for 15 Euro, pretty great souvenir! It was nice just to see people enjoying the beach with their friend; playing volleyball, having fun with their pups and just soaking in the sun. Protip: people do tan topless so don’t be shocked or stare. Its totally normal.
Oh last thing, we went to dinner in this square near our hostel and I had the most amazing experience of my life… thanks to these bad boys– papas bravas. If you ever go to Barcelona, you absolutely must get these and a proper Paella.
Day 5: Monday, November 16, 2015
If you didn’t notice, the Paris attacks were only a few days before we flew back to Denmark. It was pretty nerve racking for me but obviously everything turned out fine. The airport even had a moment of silence for the victims which I thought was very admirable. We flew with KLM again on the way back and got treated like royalty again which helped calm any nerves we had.
All in all, Barcelona is my favorite place I’ve visited in Europe. I love everything about it and will definitely be going back again very, very soon.