Barcelona

I’ve been putting off writing another post partly because the internet at my hotel doesn’t work very well, but mainly because I’m embarrassed by what a sorry job of touring I’ve done in Barcelona. I’ve spent most of the time either lying around on the beach, lying around my hotel, eating, or walking around. My dad and I did go to a few sights, but these were still only half-hearted efforts at best.

From what I have seen, it seems that the people in Barcelona spend most of their time lying out at the beach, eating, or walking; so really I was just trying to get a genuine Barca experience! Plus, I am walking around thinking that in all likelihood I will make another trip back here during the semester…
I’m sure these excuses have hardly anyone fooled, so that is enough of me defending my laziness.

The day we arrived in Barcelona, my dad and I went to lunch and then stopped at the Ramblas for a little while. The ramblas is a really fun, slightly sketchy, pedestrian area in the old town that is filled with wandering tourists, human statues, and street vendors.

(street in las Ramblas)

I had planned on eating on the Ramblas–Rick Steves’ recommends it and he hasn’t steered me wrong (with food) yet–but every time I asked a taxi driver or someone who works at the hotel about eating there, they all fervently replied that the Ramblas was NOT a place to eat.

Despite being told 4 separate times not to eat on the Ramblas, I settled on stopping in a cafe to have some churros and hot chocolate (because dessert doesn’t count), which was really more like thick chocolate sauce/pudding.

After wandering around for a little while longer, my dad and I threw in the towel and went back to the hotel to lie around and go to sleep.

The rest of the trip my dad and I didn’t do much better. One day we stopped by the Sagrada Familia, the famous church designed by Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi died before completing this church, but the construction continues (slowly), funded by the entry fees.

(La Sagrada Familia–front)
Of course my dad and I were too lazy to go into the actual church, but we did walk around and get a good view of the intricate exterior. At every Gaudi sight my dad loved making a “gaudy” pun, which was as good each time as it was the first.
(La Sagrada Familia-back)
From the Gaudi church we continued to the Picasso museum which we actually entered. I am not a fan of modern art at all, probably because I don’t have enough of a knowledge of art to appreciate it, but I just like pretty paintings; however, this museum was pretty interesting because it showed the progression of Picasso’s works.In the beginning of his career, Picasso actually painted normal, realistic looking paintings, and he was quite good at it. As we all know, he eventually progressed to painting modern pieces and founding the “cubist movement”. It is funny because when my dad and I saw this change in style we both thought, “what went wrong?”, but, then again, neither my dad or I are experts of the arts.

Another day I woke up with the intent to step up my touring game and finally go around and see sights (and actually walk inside).

(Park Guell)
We started at Park Guell, another Gaudi project that was actually intended to be a luxury housing development, but it failed and was turned into a municipal garden.
(sitting on an ergonomic bench in the park)
Park Guell has the fanciful sand castle/melting look that is signature of Gaudi’s projects. Although it didn’t succeed as a luxury subdivision, it is a really pretty park with interesting architecture.
(Flowers in the park)
From park guell, our touring energy went downhill. Next we stopped at Casa Mila, another building designed by Gaudi, but the line to tour inside was long, so I just snapped a photo of the front and we walked on.
(Casa Mila)
Near the Casa Mila is the block of discord, named for having four buildings near each other designed by the four most prominent modernista architects. There was quite a crowd around these buildings also, so I just walked by to get a look and then continued walking.
(Casa Batllo-Gaudi)
And that was our last, pitiful effort at sightseeing. Today we spent the final day in Barcelona at the beach and then we went to a tapas bar for an early dinner. Tonight is our second night to have tapas, and I am in love. Tapas are perfect for me because I always want multiple dishes on the menu, and with tapas I get to try a little of everything and I don’t get too full. From there we got some ice cream, and then I decided to walk back to the hotel while my dad took a cab. (This reminds me, not only did we do a horrible job of seeing the sights, but we had breakfast every morning at the Hilton hotel next door–how pitiful!)Once I made it to the hotel, I decided I wanted to continue walking and I ended up walking onto a pedestrian street where I got to join everyone in the “paseo”.

After dinner everyone, young and old (particularly the old), gathers in the street to enjoy a nightly stroll. So, at the start of my paseo I bought an ice cream bar (yes, dessert #2) and walked while observing couples walking hand in hand, older Spaniards sitting on benches gossiping, and some younger kids riding bikes or rollerblading (a trend that I hope is popular in Sevilla, too!).

Tonight was the perfect way to end my time in Barcelona, and I am so excited to finally start the real adventure. Tomorrow we are catching the morning train to Sevilla and then Tuesday my dad will leave me in Spain to go home and I will have the official orientation to my program!

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