Buenos dias chicos!
I’ve settled into Madrid quite nicely and I have to say this city continues to amaze me. From the cheaper clothes at Zara (bless Madrid) to the incredible food choices, I never go to sleep disappointed. As much as I love Madrid, I decided to do some exploring this weekend. So my friends and I packed our suitcases and shipped off to Barcelona, or as the Spanish would say BarTHelona. We left the train station at 8:30am and took the 2.5 hour journey through the Spanish countryside. The train ride itself was an experience. Seeing the landscape morph from luscious fields of green to a barren desert kept me awake the whole way there.
We reached our hostel, got our maps, and headed on an adventure to find some food! Luckily, our hostel was located 2 blocks away from the famous Las Ramblas; a street full of restaurants and vendors selling the most touristy chachkies. Or to my Cheetah Girls fans, the street from Strut! Tourists and locals pack the street and enjoy the summer weather with a gelato in hand. So many different languages were being tossed around but, to my surprise, the locals didn’t speak Spanish. They spoke Catalan, a language associated with the Franco dictatorship.
After eating practically everything and taking a quick nap, our hostel (Hostel One Ramblas) took us on a little field trip. We took 2 trains, a bus, and had to hike up a mountain to reach the most beautiful place in Barcelona. The bunkers are set atop a mountain in the middle of the city and the view is absolutely stunning! We ate sandwiches and watched the sun set, listening to the groups of musicians strumming American pop songs.
Next up on the agenda was a bar crawl. Bar crawls are very popular in Spain (as well as other European countries) and a great way to experience the city’s night life. More than just an excuse to drink (legally), bar crawls are a great way to meet locals and tourists! I talked about tattoos with an Australian, food with a German, and music with a French. It’s so incredible to share a drink with a new friend from the other side of the world and hear about their experiences.
Watching the sunrise on the beach was one of my favorite parts of Barcelona. Just sitting in the sand witnessing the stars disappear was so peaceful. Sadly I forgot to take pictures because my friends and I were so engulfed in the beauty. Our phones were practically nonexistent for a few hours. But at least we actually got to experience it!
There were a lot of differences I noticed between Madrid and Barcelona. For one, the language is completely different and they prefer to speak to you in english, which was super helpful. I found that people kept more to themselves whereas in Madrid you could talk to a stranger and not be judged. The people in Madrid also seemed a lot nicer than in Barcelona but I guess they’re always dealing with tourists, which can get annoying. The architecture in Barcelona was similar to Madrid’s but I feel like there wasn’t as much history to them. La Sagrada Familia was an incredible structure. Started by Gaudi in 1882, the castle-like church still hasn’t been completed. Through donations of the public, the very wealthy public, pieces are added on whenever it can be paid for. You can bet I was singing Ed Sheeran’s Barcelona while running around the city!
Las Ramblas, I’ll meet you
We’ll dance around La Sagrada Familia
Mi niña, te amo mi cariño
Sí tú, te adoro, señorita
Nosotros, vivir la vida
Come on, let’s be free in Barcelona
All in all, Barcelona was a perfect get away from classes but I was so so happy to come home! I think it’s so important to travel while you’re abroad. Barcelona and Madrid are very very different but both are worth experiencing!