Saturday, June 4, 2011

BARCELONA - oh the architecture!

The weekend of April 1-4

Barcelona was quick, and amazing, and fun. I can't believe the astonishing architecture there! I was able to meet and travel around there with a friend of mine from Madrid. It was fantastic to travel with someone I already knew for once. We stayed in a ten room dorm in a hostel right in the center of the Rambla, which is one of the most tourist covered, pick pocketed, and pedestrian jammed street in the world. (I think it's in second place, a street in London is just a tad bit busier). The room was noisy and a bit smelly, but our location was great! We were close to the best metro line, walking distance from the beach, and streets away from the Gothic quarters (my favorite part of the city).

Oh how I missed the beach! I arrived in Barcelona around 1pm. Chase wasn't going to arrive until 5 or 6, so I got myself to the beach and laid out in the sun a bit. (making good use of the swim suit and a towel type scarf I had jammed into my back pack at the last second). It was the first nice, really sunny day I'd had in 2011. What luck that I was near the beach for it! I even got burned a little, ensuring that my lost tans lines would return at least a little. A little less nice was that at the beach I was surrounded by tourists – American tourists. It was weird. I've gotten used to only hearing foreign languages around me in public. To hear so much English – and American English too, well I haven't heard that much American slang and conversations around me since I left the states. I found it so strange to be able to understand nearly everything around me – something I used to take for granted.

Chase, the friend who came to meet me, is another fellow English teacher in Madrid. He's originally from Texas, but has been living in Madrid for nearly four years now. Consequently his Spanish is very good, and his comprehension of the language practically fluent. He's also very into history and interesting facts – a very good travel partner for such an interesting and historical city. He couldn't get over how amazing the architecture is in Barcelona. (it's much more eclectic and impressive than Madrid's austere and traditional architecture, though Madrid has some beautiful buildings and places as well). I don't think I would have noticed the architecture as much if I hadn't been seeing it all with him. I wouldn't have noticed a lot of things if I hadn't been with him. I love it when the people I travel with help me notice the things that are usually outside of the things I pay attention too =)

It makes sense that Chase and I were so impressed by the architecture; Barcelona is famous for it's architecture. The most famous Catalonian/Barcelona architecture are the designs by Antoni Gaudi – proud Catalonian, devote Catholic, and architectural innovated genius ahead of his time. Chase and I spent most of our time there visiting some of the most famous Gaudi places – the park, his houses, and the most impressive – the Sagrada Familia (look it up! It is an amazing temple/cathedral that Gaudi started constructing, but died before it was realized (he was hit by a streetcar). The story behind it and the purpose behind it is very interesting too. It's still under construction, and it won't be finished for about another 30 years – but it is the most beautiful and stunning cathedral I've been to (and i've been to quite a few of the good ones. But the Sagrada Familia is by far my favorite).

We were in Barcelona Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Sunday, our last day, Chase and I found a place that rented bikes for 5 euros for the day and biked along the beach. We stopped at a chiringito - a bar on the sand. These types of bars are famous in Spain. There are many of them too. Apparently they are THE thing to do in Barcelona. Chase told me his student's in Madrid all talk about them a lot and told him he had to go to one, so we did. I suppose having a bar on the sandy part of a beach is cool. However, island girl that I am, I wasn't so impressed. I'd rather do it Hawaiian style, bring my own drinks to the beach, get to sit wherever I want on the sand, and pay much less to do it.

Overall I thought Barcelona was a beautiful city, and I'm really glad I had the chance to see it. The Architecture! But, it's still a big city, so I wouldn't want to live there. Part of the reason I went was to see if I would want to try to work there – probably not. I took lots of photos of the architecture, which really best describes the things I saw and did in Barcelona much more than I can write about them – so check them out if you are interested.

to see pictures - and there are LOTS of the architecture, go to

Go to sub albums on the side, and all the albums are clearly labeled.

ps - Ironically since writing this blog, I have found myself a job au pairing in Barcelona for july and August, so I guess I'll be living and working there for a little while after all!

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