Once we landed in Barcelona, we had to take a bus to the train station, then the train to the Metro station, then the Metro to our hostel. Our hostel was a little far outside the city center, but close enough to the Metro that it was pretty easy! But our hostel was great- mostly American students which was a lot of fun and very social! There was a lounge just to hang out and we met a lot of people there! We had to share a big room with strangers, but we made friends with them so it was fine. We spent the afternoon napping- we were all so exhausted from the first half of the week. Once we woke up, we went to get dinner then our friends who were staying at a different hostel told us to come get tickets for this concert at a club that night. So we got on the bus to go meet them. It turns out we got on the right bus, but it was going the OPPOSITE direction of where we wanted to go! So basically, we wasted an hour going back and forth. But we just decided to forget about the tickets and go back to our hostel. The hostel organized a group to go to a club which was a lot of fun! A guy from the hostel took my friends, and others from the hostel to a club where we stayed for a while, but then left to meet our other friends at another club they were at, then came home.
On Friday, we went into the center of Barcelona for the day. First we went to see La Sagrada Familia, a famous unfinished church done by Gaudi, a really famous architect in Barcelona who is known for his artsy, usually bizarre looking buildings. Gaudi died in the middle of construction on this church, so it's still being constructed (some controversy as to whether they should finish it or not without him there to direct). It is the craziest looking church I have ever seen! From far away, it looks like it's melting- kind of like a big sand castle! We didn't go inside but it was amazing enough from the outside! Then we took the Metro to Las Ramblas, which is the big street where there are a lot of shops and street vendors! We just walked along, then stopped at La Boqueria- Spain's largest food market! So many yummy things, but also some gross things- lots of meat (not fun to look at) and lots of fish (SOOO smelly!). Then we headed to Palacia Rial, which is a big square where we met for our free walking tour! It was a long tour- 2.5 hours- but so interesting! Our guide took us all around the Old City- Barcelona was founded by Romans and you can totally tell in the old city. SO many cool churches and buildings, preserved palaces, even old Roman columns! It reminded me a lot of Venice- lots of narrow alleyways. It was so cool! We even got to see this church- called St. Philip Neri like Conshy! Haha- that was damaged during the Spanish Civil War- you can see marks where the bombs hit (check out my pics!) It's funny because the Old City seemed like a maze and once you get out of there, it's a very modern, hustling and bustling city! That's what I loved most about Barcelona- it had everything you could want in a city. Really old and historical areas, but also had that "big city" feel. AND it's on the beach! I fell in love with Barcelona and had such a great time there- I didn't want to leave! Funny fact we heard on the walking tour- in Barcelona, they don't have Santa Claus. Instead they have this log, translated as the "s***ting log," that they believe to "s***" their Christmas presents. Christmas Eve they stand around the log, hitting it with sticks, singing songs, yelling at it to s***, then they cover it with a blanket, remove the blanket Christmas morning and there are magically presents underneath. Actually, the MOST bizarre thing I have ever heard and we couldn't stop laughing. Here's more info on the s***ting log: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tió_de_Nadal
SO funny, I couldn't get over it. Anyway, after the tour we had dinner and went home to get ready to go out. That night, we met up with a bunch of other UD study abroad students- my friend Kara who is studying in London was in Barcelona for the weekend and so were a few of my friends who are studying in Granada, Spain. It was so great to see them- we met at this bar called the Dow Jones Bar. It's so fun- the prices of drinks go up and down like the stock market so it's like a game!
Saturday morning we slept in a while then headed back into downtown Barcelona. This time we headed down towards the beach- we never actually saw sand but we saw the dock area which was so pretty! We walked around there for a while, did some shopping but headed back to our hostel early because we went to a concert that night! It's called Sensation and it's techno-ish music; a bunch of different DJs played and it was awesome! It was Mandy's 21st birthday at midnight which was so fun! We also got to see my friend Riley, who's studying abroad in Spain so that was great! We had such a fun night but had to get on a 10am flight, meaning leaving the hostel at 7am, so we barely got any sleep! But we were able to sleep on the plane to Venice, then the bus, then the train. LONG day of traveling but so happy to make it back to campus! We were all so tired but it was so worth it! We had such an amazing week and got to see so much- our schedule was literally packed but I'm so glad we were able to do so much!
I'm having such a great time and each city we've visited, I've loved! There is no way I'd be able to pick a favorite! Haha! Next weekend we're going to Florence which I am so excited about! This weekend we stayed on campus which has been great- we've been able to sleep in, catch up on work, walk around town, and tomorrow we're going to a market in the town over! :) Ciao!