Shayna's Adventures in Europe!
Today is our final day in continental Europe-- we leave for Oxford tomorrow morning. Barcelona passed by in a blur of activity! I think at this point it rivals Paris as being my favorite city so far. I probably walked more in Barcelona than anywhere else, just because there is so much to see everywhere. There's so much activity constantly, especially on the main downtown strip (the Ramblas) right by the port. On the Ramblas, there were flower vendors, souvenir vendors, and even pet vendors. Yep, they were selling birds, gerbils, hampsters, and lizards right on the main street! A little off the Ramblas, I found a huge fruit, meat, and fish market and a bunch of delicious family-owned restaurants and chocolate shops. If you're ever in Barcelona, make sure you go to a restaurant called La Fonda (email me for directions). I'm not kidding. â‚¬15 for an incredible 4 course Spanish meal. You don't want to miss that. That was one of my personal Barcelona highlights. Another highlight was the Magic Fountains in front of the National Museum. These fountains rivaled Bellagio's in Las Vegas. Not kidding. It was only one main fountain, but at night they lit it up and it came alive. It danced and changed colors to music, often reaching heights of 10 stories easily. Hundreds of people gathered around to watch each 20 minute show (we stayed through 3 shows, it was that good). Word of warning: Spain is a dangerous country. Several people in our group have been pick-pocketed. The maid in our Barcelona hotel stole from several other people. And finally, our bus was stolen in Barcelona. Yes, the 50- seat coach bus that we'd been travelling around Europe on for the past month. Stolen out of a public lot. I mean, who steals a bus? For the past few days we've been in Madrid. I find it to be just another big city. Not nearly as much character as Barcelona, although it is just as diverse. Our hotel is right downtown on the Gran Via, in the middle of the shopping district. Great location. H & M is my new favorite store! Cute skirts for â‚¬10, what more could you want? Took a day trip to Toledo. Quaint village up on a hill. Lots of mosques and even a couple of temples (the town used to be 50% Jewish before the Spanish Inquistion). The place sold more swords and medieval armor than anything else, but it was fun just to walk around and see all the Gothic buildings. Turns out that travelling through Europe for a month is exhillarating and exhausting at the same time. Although all I can think about right now is just getting to Oxford, doing laundry, and unpacking (rather than living out of a suitcase), I have had the time of my life on this part of the trip! I have seen so many different things, experienced so many different cultures. Many of the things I saw, I'd never even heard about before. Thanks to the art class that we've been taking as we travelled, I now feel like I actually have a much greater understanding of art. Even modern art is less of a mystery. Can't wait to cool off in England, it's been in the 90s in Spain! So much for escaping the Atlanta heat...