Barcelona!

Well, it has certainly been a while…

Last weekend was interesting. Nothing really ended up working out according to plan. But it was definitely an adventure.

The plan was to arrive in Barcelona on Thursday and spend some time with Mara, then leave for Munich on Friday to meet up with all our friends at Oktoberfest. While we have some good stories, the weekend wasn’t really what we expected it would be.

I think I’ll separate the weekend into two posts: Barcelona and Munich. Here we go with the Barcelona section (best part of the weekend by far).

I took the 7:25 am train from Toledo to Madrid on Thursday morning after missing the 6:50 train. Whoops! I took the Metro from the Madrid train station and “followed the guy with the suitcase” because I assumed he was going to the airport also. I was right, so I got off at the same stop as he did and followed him! Creepy or practical? I’m not sure. The metro ride was a lot longer than I had anticipated, so I almost missed my flight to Barcelona. I boarded the plane at the last minute. Thank God!

Once in Barcelona, I took a bus into the city center, called Placa de Catalunya. I spent the morning exploring this area. I walked towards the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic), which is the center of the old city. I came across the Barcelona Cathedral, which is absolutely gorgeous. I peeked inside because there was no entrance fee. I was also lucky to see the antique market held in the Gothic Quarter every Thursday!

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Placa de Catalunya

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Barcelona Cathedral

I wandered in the other direction towards the city center, and started walking up Passeig Gracia. This is known as one of the most expensive streets in Barcelona and Spain, with very important shopping and business areas. It includes notable architecture by Gaudí, including Casa Mila and Casa Batiló. These incredible houses are abstract and eye-catching, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before!

I had a couple hours left until I would meet up with Mara, and I NEEDED to make sure I saw the Sagrada Familia, one of Barcelona’s most famous attractions. I took the Metro from Placa Catalunya, and right as I reached the top of the steps from the metro station, I turned around and Gaudí’s famous masterpiece loomed over me. Although I had seen pictures, seeing it in person was a thousand times better.

I ended my “sola en barcelona” experience walking up Las Ramblas, which is a beautiufl tree-lined pedestrian mall. Off of Las Ramblas is the famous “Boqueria,” which is a large public market (the largest in Europe!) with a diverse selection of goods. Chorizo, mango, chocolate…you name it. There is everything and for all tastes. Fresh fruit juice is sold for less than 1 €. I was in heaven.

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Fresh fruit. Tropical paradise!

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Candyland

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Chocoholic…my mouth was watering.

Mara met me at the market because she was done with all her classes, and it was great to see her! I went back to her house and met her 70 year old host mom who was very sweet. Her host mom had her friend come over to take a picture of the three of us! I met Mara’s friends that night and we went out to a delicious Mexican restaurant. It was a lot of fun. Mara and I went back to her house that night, got a good sleep, and woke up the next morning to catch our plane to Munich.