Spain 1- Barcelona
Trip Start Jan 14, 2007
49Trip End Jul 05, 2007
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I got to Barcelona and took a bus to Plaza Catalunya, which was about a 10 minute walk from my hostel. I got to use Spanish for the first time in months asking the bus driver for a ticket. That was pretty exciting. Once I arrived at Plaza Catalunya, it took me a couple of minutes to orient myself, and I actually took the wrong street for awhile. But, it was still nice, and I eventually figured it out. The hostel was right off La Rambla, one of the main streets of Barcelona. It was a great place and I stayed there two nights. I was in a dorm room with 5 beds and I luckily got the one that wasn't a bunkbed.
That first day, I didn't go to any museums. I just wandered around the city, learning the layout and planning what I would do the next day. It was actually great to be able to relax and walk around without being pressed for time, as I was for the rest of the week. I took pictures of places I walked by, which was fun. One of the coolest things I saw was this advertisement for the Zoo.
Then, I walked by the water, which was very pretty. Luckily, the weather was nice. I forgot how important Christopher Columbus is to Spaniards. Here's a Columbus statue that was by the water.
La Rambla is a pretty fun street, although completely touristy. There are street performers everywhere, and little shops selling postcards and lots with animals as well.
I got hungry, so I went to the daily market in a building right off of La Rambla.
Here's a picture of the entrance. I bought a yummy fruity banana-y drink for a euro and then just wandered around looking at the fruits and vegetables and meat hanging from the stalls.
So, after wandering around for hours, I bought a sandwhich for dinner and headed back to the hostel. I planned everything out for the next day, because I didn't want to walk more than I needed to. On Thursday morning, I was up at 8. I took a shower, ate breakfast, which was delicious, and headed out.
First, was the long walk to Guell Park, which was designed by Gaudi and was far away, so I decided to go there first, so I could then walk back down and see everything else. Also, none of the museums opened until 10, so seeing the park and some other places maximized my time. On the way to the park, I saw at took pictures of some cool buildings, also by Gaudi.
Park Guell was probably my favorite place in Spain and I would absolutely love to go back and just spend an afternoon there. It was like a fairytale park, with colorful buildings that looked like castles, and tiled steps, and leaning columns everywhere.
On my way down and out of the park, since I still had many places to go to that day, a Spanish woman asked me the distance to the plaza, in Spanish. That was fun. And then, after I had left the park and was walking to the next place on my list, an Italian asked me for directions. And then that afternoon, and American asked me. And, amazingly, I could actually help them. It was the biggest rush. Now I know I want a job in which I can speak in Spanish and Italian every day. Or at least one of the two. Because that would be great.
While walking down the street, I saw this funny looking building.
Here's my next stop, Sagrada Familia by Gaudi.
And then, a Hospital. I don't remember the name, but it was still used as a Hospital. I wouldn't mind going there and waiting in line. It was gorgeous and I probably took way too many pictures of it, but it was very fun.
By this time, it was after 12 and I'd been basically walking nonstop since before 9. My feet hurt a little and I was hungry, but I wasn't even halfway through the places on my list. My next stop was the place I had been looking forward to seeing the most out of all the places in Spain.....the Chocolate Museum.
Since I'd taken a class on Cervantes, and was in Spain, I had to take a picture of Don Quijote and Sancho with the windmills.
And a copy of the Pietą by Michelangelo that's in St. Peter's in Rome.
And, finally, Bambi.
After looking at all of the chocolate, I was starving, so I stopped by the cafe at the Museum and (of course) had a cup of hot chocolate. There were also free samples of some type of chocolate on the counter, which I had two of. Honestly, I've had much better chocolate off Piazza del Campo in Siena (which all of you should go to!). But, it was still thick and creamy and good.
I was still hungry, so on my way to other museums, I stopped at this place, which was recommended in my book.
It was good, and cheap. There wasn't much room in the place, so I walked and ate, while trying to find a good place to sit and rest my feet for a couple of minutes. But first, I saw this interesting man.
I finally made it to this pretty park, where I sat down and ate the rest of my lunch. My feet were very happy for the rest. I also read some of a free newspaper someone on the street had giving me. It was interesting, because most of it was in Spanish, but then some was in Catalį, spoken by people of Barcelona and that area. It's a very cool, very similar to Spanish but different enough to be considered a different language and not a dialect. That's one of the aspects of Spain that fascinates me. Like Italy, but even more so, Spain has lots of different regions, each with their own culture and language and customs. It's very cool. I unfortunately didn't have time to go up north, to Basque country. The Basque people fascinate me. I'd love to learn their language, but it probably wouldn't be very practical. I actually bought a novel in Catalį on a whim that day. I haven't actually started it, and probably won't be able to understand much and will get frustrated and stop, but maybe some day I'll be able to say that I've read a book in Catalį.
I wasn't done for the day yet, so I stood up and went over to a Palace that had been turned into a museum.
I bought the ticket and the woman asked if I wanted the pamphlet in
English or French. That was exciting, because they couldn't quite
place my accent. The best part of the palace was that there was a free
audio tour of the archeological exhibit under the building. The audio
tour was very helpful because I actually understood what I was looking
at. Otherwise, I would have just wandered through and not learned
much. The rest of the museum wasn't very interesting.
I was done with museums for the day, so I spent more time, walking, as
usual. I walked so much that week. I walked through a garden with
this cool graffiti.
And then, the old men playing chess. They were great. I hope I didn't creep them out by taking pictures though. Speaking of old men, there were at least 40 of them in a park playing bocce. I didn't take any pictures but did stop to watch for a couple of minutes.
That night, I met a nice Canadian girl who slept in the same room as I did. And she went to bed earlier than I did, so I didn't feel weird about it.