Now I want to take a moment to say that although I’ve titled this post “Vacation in Barcelona” it should more accurately be written “Travel in Barcelona”. You may not be aware, but there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between vacationing and traveling. Vacation brings to mind gorgeous weather, relaxation, and a resort-like complex where all of your needs are fulfilled with swiftness and ease. Traveling, on the other hand, that’s another matter altogether. Traveling is going to mean stress and strife. Traveling is confusion, anger, disillusionment, and the breakup of relationships. Now that I’ve got you worried, it’s not all that bad. Certainly all of these things occur because you, and probably your friends/whoever, are in an unfamiliar environment where things are not under your control and not everyone is paid to treat you well. Restaurants will have terrible service, the weather will be horrible, you will get pick-pocketed (sorry, Monica!), and a million other uncontrollable circumstances will intrude themselves upon you. But thankfully, that’s not all there is to it – or we’d never bother to go, ne?
First thing I noticed about Barcelona (well, besides the hot guys, claro) was that the weather in comparison to London was wonderful; nice and sunny with plenty of warm weather and clear night skies. We took a bus from the airport in GIRONA (remember this as it will be important later on) and then grabbed the metro to our hostel which we reached without any difficulty (we had a map this time) and we were pleasantly surprised by both the free 24-hour internet access and the surprisingly nice conditions of the rooms. If we had been there longer, we would have rejoiced at the kitchen, pool table, and roof terrace as well. The following days were spent in exploring the glory that is the architecture of Gaudí. Personally, I had always found him to be something of a goof. His work, from what I had seen in pictures, seemed quite silly and disorganized. However, after taking the time to explore Park Güell, the Catedral de la Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló I have become a devoted fan. His work is quite simply amazing and inspired. Antoni Gaudí was a genius. The underground area of the Sagrada Familia is well worth a visit in order to explore the organic geometry developed by Gaudí.
Barcelona is filled with many other attractions besides Gaudí. My personal favorite was the fountain of Montjuic in all its glory at night with a sychronized music and lighting show. And of course, there is the wonderful selection of international cuisine and great shopping along the Rambla or other major streets. I remember eating at a great little sushi place right off the beaten track. The craziest part of our trip was when we got on the bus for the Girona Airport (which took over an hour) only to realize upon getting there that we had booked our return flight with Clickair and NOT Ryanair, which meant we had very little time to get back to the Barcelona airport. Of course by this time the buses were not meant to run again until 8 pm (when we were supposed to be boarding our plane at the other airport). We then tried to find some other means of transportation and the only thing available to us was the single taxi driver who was there. He took us to the Barcelona airport in record time (and at a record speed!) whereupon we tried to pay and only managed to pool together 100 euros while the fare was actually 150, but he kindly let us go along our way. By some random chance or luck from God, we managed to get through security extremely rapidly and not only be on time for boarding but actually be early. That was a harried 3 hours that I never want to relive again in this lifetime. Thankfully our arrival in Sevilla proceded without problem.
I must say that by the end of the trip all of us sevillanas (or students in Sevilla, anyway) were kinda wishing we had chosen to study in Barcelona. Of course, now that I’m back in Sevilla I disagree whole-heartedly, but still Barcelona is a wonderful city full of fun and with a great international presence.