Published: April 17th 2012April 17th 2012
Hola mi familia y amigos!
This was quite a special weekend here in Barcelona becuase we were celebrating Nuria's birthday!! The girls and I planned her a few surprises to make her day special. On Friday we got all kinds of supplies together and when we came back home late, we decorated the whole living room for her to wake up to! She was very surprised and yes, they are still all up ;) Saturday was her actual birthday and after we had gone to visit Park Cuidatella (a few metro stops away and absolutely BEAUTIFUL gardens and blooming trees, not to mention the amazingly crafted small palace with DRAGON fountains...OH and a giant elephant!), we all went to work to make cards and search for the perfect gift! For dinner we had Gaspaxto soup and stuffed shells (stuffed with what is in the inside of croquettes, with melted cheese on top) and before we gave presents, we sang and enjoyed some whiskey cake! She loved her flower basket, new spatula and earring and bracelett set and even more so, the handmade cards!
Friday night, to kill time before our decoration attack, we decided to go out and cross
some local bars off of our list. Looking for the first bar we found the other two we wanted to visit, conveniently all on the same street, at the bottom of Ramblas. Ryan's Irish Bar has great specials on certain nights and all sorts of irish memorbilia on the walls, including a Jamison Whiskey keg holding up a Dulbin road sign! It was a great place to share a Guinness and start the evening. The second bar was my favorite, called Hook, and was a Pirate themed bar fit with a dressed up waiter! These walls are COVERED floorboards and ceiling with barometers, photos, ship steering wheels, ropes and even peter pan flying across in the air! We were able to have "Moritz" a beer only available in Barcelona, which we had never even heard of before and it was delicious. The third bar is called Margarita Blue and is one of the top bars for someone in Barcelona to visit. It was much more modern with florecent lights, projector screens and are most famous for their cocktails. It was hard to choose with so many tasty options but I decided it was the perfect place to have my first
Cosmo! We all got different drinks to taste and the signature Margarita Blue drink is as sour as a warhead (ouch!).
Sunday we took a day trip with the student tour company, Bus2Alps to visit Girona, Tossa del Mar, and Lloret de Mar, all towns surrounding Barcelona. Girona is an older city that was surrounded by a Roman wall, which now kind of cuts into the town since the city has grown outwards. The center of the city is the widest church in all of Europe and houses the famous Tapestry of Creation, depicted the religious creation of world and man. The city has a river running through it and all along are houses with different darker pastel paint jobs. Little shops are sprinkled along the river and in the back streets leading ot the cathedral that offer local sweets, handmade kitchen-ware and of course tapas and gelato!
We had only two hours in Tossa del Mar, where the main sight is a fortress with seven towers that offer great views of the town and beach. But while we visited it was starting to rain so we took shelter in a small italian family pizzaria. I ordered the Orecchiette,
a pasta with sausage and vegetables and it was one of the best foods I have ever gotten while being here. The oddity plate that they serve is an inflated garlic bread, which comes out literally looking like a bubble but once you pop it, it is actually a thin crusted bread, perfect for and appetizer!
The final stop was my personal favorite, Lloret de Mar. Although our wonderful tourguides explained the town as a Jershey Shore/Cape Cod like beach town, it reminded me of a mix between Ocean City and Rhinebeck, if you can believe it. Going toward the beach from the main road there are beach shops, arcades, henna tattoo parlors and gelato shops where as along the beach (past the McDonald's ;) are more cute restaurants and locally owned shops. On either side of the beach are "Cliff Walks", trails made that go over the ocean rocks, and under a small castle on the hill. The cliff walk had amazing views of the ocean and beach and was quite the workout too! All the beaches, about 5 in total, are connected by the cliff walks making it an interesting way to get from one to the other!
For the price of the trip, it was MORE than worth it and with only 15 or so people on it (we mostly knew from school and family visiting) it was like taking a guided trip with close friends!
Thanks for catching up with me! Miss you all very much, but we're getting closer to the end! (Sad for me, happy for you!)
Love you all,
There are more photos below