Oy Vey!

Trip Start Sep 03, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Barcelona. This was an experience. 

When I first found out that I was coming to Versailles, my dad requested that I not visit a few countries. Spain was one of them. Since that day I have not received any other notifications from the Offices of Jeff White warning me against the safety hazards in these countries. This being said, I booked my ticket to Barcelona. Knowing now how the weekend turned out, I may have listened to that initial advice. Lucky for me, nothing bad happened to myself, I can't say that much for my fellow travelers. We arrived late into Barcelona at an airport in the middle of nowhere. There were very few buses running and the taxi drivers were not willing to make a deal. We waited and waited for the bus to come. We had big plans that night. One of our friends with us, had a friend studying there so they were waiting for us to come party. We did make the best of our waiting time by buying a cafe con Bailey's and meeting some pretty cool French-Canadians. We learned they were studying in Amiens and could understand about as much French as us, even though they spoke the language. That is how different Canadian and France French vary. We got their numbers with a promise to call. As we made our way to the hostel/friends house. We realized that in Barcelona, taxi drivers are very strict and do not take more than 4 passengers. With 5 girls and 5 guys, this made it difficult to figure out. A few of us went to the Friends house first, to "get the party started" 

When we arrived, the kid answered the door in his "TAU" jersey (ATO for those who know Frat lingo). I literally forgot where I was for 2 seconds, thinking I was back at U of I. I knew by the looks of this jersey, nothing relaxing was coming our way. He took us upstairs showed us around, ending the apartment tour with bottles of alcohol lined up on the counter. Apparently, this is how it is done in Barcelona. We somehow managed to finish them, and decided it was time for a bar/club/anything. There were quite a few to go to, but we chose this one that kept rejecting us. I am not sure why, but I think it had something to do with identification. The man must have thought we were crazy because we kept walking by, deciding to go in, change our minds, and then doing it all over again. We never actually made it to a club that night as planned, but we did get to walk on the beach for a short while. Unfortunately, my roommate got her wallet, phone, and ipod stolen that night. 

The next day, we didn't get as early as a start as we had hoped. The girls did manage to get dressed and out the door before the boys so we made our way to the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi. It is one of the strangest architectural pieces I have ever seen. It looks like the Notre Dame on Acid. Don't get me wrong it was one of the coolest I have seen and I loved the affect that it had, but it was unlike anything I have ever seen. I could not and still dont comprehend how one would design such a piece. And there were a few more around the city too. The guys finally made it to the area and we went to Starbucks. We have found that no matter what, STarbucks makes everything better. Its like our little piece of home that you never have to pack, yet can be found wherever you are. After we met with the guys, we went back to find one of the other guys who fell asleep on a rock ( I told you it was a long night). When we went back to the rock, he was no longer where they left him, and was not answering his cell phone. THere was also another boy missing in action because he had tried to walk to the hostel in the morning to get his clothes and didn't arrive before the others had left. He was also out of minutes on his phone. We decided they were pretty intuitive and could manage on their own so instead of wasting our time, we went to Parc Guell. This is a famous park where various movies have been filmed and ANTM were filmed. There were musicians playing and people sunbathing. It was exactly what I had suspected of Barcelona and makes me want to return. We hung out there for a bit watching the people, taking in the sites, etc. 

After this, we made our way to a famous architectural site, the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies Van der Rohe. It isn't one of the most beautiful buildings, but we have studied it enough in school to appreciate its significance. By this point we were hungry, but knew of the spanish traditions to not eat early, and eat tapas at the local bar. We had made big plans to do this and went back to our hostel to change and get ready for the big night! We found a nice little place that had great tapas and equally good beer. We ordered a few rounds of tapas, all different types. We even tried getting free beer from the waiters, but they didn't comply, so they gave us free shots instead. Who were we to complain? If there is anything you can learn about traveling with us, its that we will take anything free whenever you want to give it. And that we did. 

We found this little hole in the wall bar that we decided to get Sangria at. We were then going to meet up with a few more people from the U of I study abroad program. Surprisingly, a girl was studying there that knew from a mutual friend that I was in town and we became instant friends. She even took a few drinks off the bar for me that night. haha After the bar, we had our minds set on going to a club. The club of choice was called Elephant. It was a cool, low key club that had good music and better dancing. It wasn't too crowded and they didn't play outrageous techno. 

The next day we had to wake up early and get the bus back to the airport. Because the airport was so far away we had to take an early bus and got there 4 hours before our flight. WE did a lot of sitting and were kind of tired of the airport food. Karolina and I saw a sign in the parking lot for a Mcdonalds 3 km away. We figured 3 km couldn't really be that far away, and like the true Americans we are, we started on our way to McDonalds. Little did we know, we were pretty much going to be walking down the highway. Sadly, we never found it and we didn't want to miss our flight so we turned around. Looking back we were the better for it, because not only did we get to walk almost 2 miles, we didn't even eat any calories. Subconscious mission accomplished! 

5 minutes before the flight gates closed, Maria realized she had lost her passport. She put it in her pocket on the bus and then hadn't looked for it since then. We weren't sure what to do in this situation. They wouldn't let her on the flight and the flight was leaving really soon. We called our director and he said that one of us should stay back. We logically chose a male, although for a split second we all were about to stay back because we had permission to miss class and it was Barcelona. Then we realized it may be quite expensive to book another flight. After coming to a clear decision we boarded the plane, for the most uneasy plane ride of my life. The turbulence never ended. 

Despite all of the troubling things that happened in the matter of 72 hours, I would return to Barcelona, no questions asked, and would recommend it to whoever is traveling. It was a beautiful city, with even more beautiful sites. The entertainment is endless, the metro system, near flawless, and the food... well, i think you can imagine.  
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Mom on

So glad you're writing again. Did you ever find the member of your travel group who was missing from the rock in the morning?

Judy on

glad you had fun..but sorry your friends had to learn some tough lessons..I assume it all worked itself out. Sounds like you are making the most of your time and money..love your freebies!! Continue to have fun and Share with us!

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