The first time I went to Barcelona was May 2009 when my sisters and I went on a trip to Spain and Portugal. Needless to say, this time around was a very different experience, but visiting a city abroad for a second time is really interesting. All of the trips I have done in Spain were included as a part of the Delaware abroad program (which by the way I recommend for any WAC students!!) so we have an itinerary already paid for and set up for us when we get to a new city. It’s really convenient and has allowed me to visit a lot more museums and sights than I was able to on my first trip to Spain. Barcelona was no exception.
We got there pretty late Friday night and all we did was wander down the road to this AWESOME restaurant for dinner. Saturday was museum day and we hit the Catalunya National Art Museum (Catalunya is the Spanish province that Barcelona is the capital of), the Miro museum and the Picasso Museum. I’m a huge fan of Picasso, but I could have done without the other two. In my ‘professional opinion’, the National Art Museum is too old and the Miro museum is too weird. That afternoon four of my friends and I walked down to the water and watched the sunset over the Mediterranean and caught an impromptu outdoor concert of this really cool reggae-ish group. I some beautiful pictures of the harbor and it actually made me miss the waterfront in Chestertown a lot! Maybe a little smaller and less busy, but the sunsets rock there too :-) Here’s a picture:
I also got to meet up with one of my oldest friends who is studying in Barcelona and it was so much fun getting to see someone from the States. Besides my Grandparents, the closest I’ve come to seeing anyone from back home while being here is skype, so it was great to see a familiar face!
On Sunday our group spent the afternoon in Parc Gruell, the park designed by Catalonian architect Antoni Gaudi- easily the coolest and most creative guy who ever lived. I had been there before but it’s the type of place you can appreciate no matter how many times you’ve been…it’s that cool. Home to the longest bench in the world, and also an America’s Next Top Model final runway show… Tyra Banks follows us wherever we go. Monday we did the Sagrada Familia (another Gaudi masterpiece) and I would definitely say that it is the coolest cathedral ever created. It is still under construction because they are building it with the same tools they started with, according to Gaudi’s original plans. The first time I saw it we didn’t go in, and this time that was a huge advantage of going with an organized group. I can’t even really describe the inside effectively, and the pictures don’t do it justice either, but believe me I tried so here is the closest I got: All of the lighting inside is natural light from the stained glass and windows, and if you are ever in Barcelona you HAVE to see it. The rest of Monday was relaxing, we shopped around and hung out at the hotel and then tried to go see the Castle that was a little further away than we bargained on. I’m so used to walking everywhere in Granada, that I hate paying for transportation when we travel other places, buutttt in this case it was a little different because we were literally scaling a mountain to get to this thing. We got about halfway before taking the gondola ride the rest of the way up because it was now dark out and the castle had closed anyways. It was an amazing view of the city though! We never got in the Castle but standing outside of it up on the walls looking down at Barcelona was probably just as cool.
One thing that traveling to other cities in Spain has done is made me sure that I made the right decision in studying in Granada. I love visiting all of the big cities and learning about the history of other places, but it coming back to Granada actually feels like coming home, and I think I wouldn’t get that anywhere else (the mountain views and super cheap prices don’t hurt either!). It’s hard to believe that I only have about a month left here! I feel really bitter-sweet about leaving because I miss my family and friends in the states so much, but I know as soon as I get back that I’ll miss my family and friends here! Has to end at some point though so we’re just going to make the most of our last month in Spain.