Last weekend we travelled to the northeast of Spain to BARCELONA! I loved it! But let me be clear: I loved the city, not the soccer team. I really hate the soccer team, like a lot. BUT the city was wonderful! We were in Barcelona for 3 days and each day was dedicated to a famous Catalán artist.
The first day we went on a tour of the city and the first place we stopped was the Olympic Stadium and Village from the 1992 Games. There is a massive sculpture outside of the stadium that held the Olympic flame during the time of the games and it can be seen everywhere in the city because it’s so tall. And the view from the stadium overlooking the city is pretty cool but the city itself is a little congested.Then we got back on the bus and drove to Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is a long street lined with kiosks and buildings with cool architecture. It is very significant to the people of Barcelona because it is a very famous landmark and is big for tourism, but it also has a fountain and the legend is that if you drink the water from this fountain, you will bring Barcelona FC luck. Or something like that. For Barca fans it’s a huge deal. Then we went to the market on Las Ramblas called Mercado de la Boquería and it was the biggest farmers market I have ever seen! They had everything from fresh fruit to cheeses to chocolates to full legs of meat hanging. And fish. You would’ve thought we were at a fish market with how many fish stands there were. And all of the fish had eyes, like full heads, not cut and cleaned yet just looking at me. I don’t really love when my food looks at me but all the fish eyes were watching me as I passed the stands. Everything looked so good I just wanted to sample, and like Brussels, that is exactly what I did. I went in and out of stands sampling hams, chorizos, fruits, salsas and, of course, chocolates! After the market, we kept walking down Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas leads from the Plaza de Catalunya [Catalán spelling] all the way to the port. The Barcelona port is one of the most important in Spain and also in Europe! We went down to the port [and therefore the beach] and it was beautiful. The water was clear blue and the sun was shining. It was so picturesque! After the port, we went to the Barrio Gótico, The Gothic Neighborhood. This is a really cool feature that I would never have really appreciated but after learning a lot about architecture in class, the Gothic arches and flying buttresses I can now notice. The Neighborhood is a preserved time warp from the Gothic age with streets, churches, houses and other structures all in Gothic style, much different from the surrounding areas built in modern and contemporary styles.
Afterwards, we went to the beach! We ate a very typical Catalán meal: fideua, a special type of paella known to the Catalánes, and cava, a bubbly type of champagne-wine. And then we laid on the beach and I was working on my tan! I’m so sick of this pale white look. After lunch, we went to the Picasso Museum. The museum was really interesting because everyone, including myself, associates Picasso with abstract paintings and cubism only. And although, yes, that is what made him famous, he painted normal paintings too! At the age of 13, he was better than his father who was a fine arts professor. Way to go, Picasso!
Sala de Mae West
Day 2 was my favorite day of this trip. We got on the bus and drove an hour outside of the city of Barcelona and visited the Dalí museum. This museum is by far the coolest and my favorite museum I have ever seen. Dalí’s works are in the style of surrealism. And his museum is created in the working of his mind so it’s a little crazy to get around but it’s altogether awesome. One of the most famous pieces, la Sala de Mae West, is really an amazing work. It is a life sized living room with the different pieces of furniture resembling the different parts of her face. The couch is her lips and the fireplace is her nose! Such a strange concept but so interesting up close. Dali’s other works include the usage of dimensions and imagination but also have deeper meanings, such as the adoration he had for his wife or lessons about society. In my opinion, the museum could also double as a haunted mansion for a scary movie and all the pieces could come to life and come after the protagonist. Patent pending, my idea. None of you can steal it!
After the museum, we drove to Cadaquéz, a small town on the beach where Dali’s family had their summer house. What an adorable town! It was right on the water too and the weather was unbeatable. We had free time to just roam around and explore the town and quaint little shops and eat seafood like kings. We wandered higher up on the mountainside and got a view of the whole town with the blue water beneath. The scene was unreal. Look how blue the water is!
Day 3 was dedicated to Gaudí. We first went to see Sagrada Familia, an enormous church that has been under construction for more than 100 years! It is projected to be finished by 2025. Right, I could have a job and a family by then…weird. Anyway, the church was awesome because the stained glass windows weren’t like any other church with biblical stories in the windows. Just colors with the names of saints engraved in them and when the sun shone through, the walls and main alter were covered in a rainbow of light! Sagrada Familia, or Sacred Family, in Catalán, will have 18 towers upon completion. The tallest one, which will hold the cross, represents Jesus and the next tallest one for la Virgen María. The other 16 are for the 12 apostles and 4 evangelists. The outside of the church is very detailed with stories about the birth of Jesus and Mary and Joseph’s escape to Egypt after the message from the Angel. And the coolest part is that for every ticket bought, which normally we don’t love, goes to the construction of the building. So when our group paid for the tickets, we contributed to the future of Sagrada Familia!
After that we went to Park Güell which is a literal park designed by Gaudí. There are these awesome benches that are curved so as to mold to the curve of a person’s back. They were so comfortable that most of us fell asleep sitting there all in a row. Once we all awake from our trance, we went to see the houses that look like they’re straight out of Hansel and Gretel. It reminded me of my younger brother because our nicknames growing up were Hansel and Gretel. And of course we saw the icon of Park Güell and one of the most famous icons in all of Spain: the colored dragon. I have no idea what it represents or why it was important to Gaudí but it was and it’s really cool looking!
Barcelona was such an awesome trip and I loved every second of it. Obviously, I love the beach and the sun so keep on the lookout for more sunny days as the days get warmer in Spain!