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Published: August 7th 2007
After spending pretty much the entire night packing I woke up early in order to make it to my 9:00 class. I ended up walking to school with my backpack, which ended up being quite a bit heavier than I had hoped it would be. After class I walked into town to meet Sudie and Jenny (who were to me my travel companions for the majority of the trip) at the tourist information office. From there we walked up to catch the 11:30 Nester bus to Dublin. Two other girls, Steph and Catherine were supposed to meet us at the bus, but they were running late and Jenny had to stall the bus driver from leaving until they got there. They barely made it. Good start to the trip don’t you think? At the airport we waited in line forever to check in, and then on the plane we were stuck behind a toddler who pretty much screamed the entire flight. The airport that Ryanair fly’s into isn’t actually in the city of Barcelona so we had to catch a bus. Seventy minutes later and we were in the metro trying to figure out the ticket machine. Another
twenty five minutes and we were walking up and down the street trying to find our hostel. Eventually we found it, checked in and since it had been a really long day we all crashed as soon as possible.
After getting ready, we all set out to find something to eat. I spotted a Starbucks and just couldn’t resist. From there we made our way to La Rambla which is a long street with different vendors. As you begin you first pass the animal vendors whose stands were full of birds, bunnies, chickens, etc. Next, you pass through the flower vendors, and then finally through the artists until you eventually reach the water. Scattered throughout were different street performers. Some were dressed up in various costumes, others were dancing or singing. It was all very cool. About halfway down La Rambla is this enormous indoor market which is amazing. There were stands upon stands of people selling various seafood, fruits, vegetables, meats, candy and nuts. It all looked so good! The fruit was so cheap which is such a nice change coming from Ireland where nothing is cheap. After spending some time in the market we
made our way to Parc Guell. The entrance, which is Gaudi’s work, reminded me of a gingerbread house. It was so cool. We walked around the park for a bit and sat in the famous mosaic benches. I really like Gaudi’s style. It is so fluid and unique. When the rain set in we decided to make our way back. Sudie and I went to the Sagrada Familia Cathedral. The towers were closed which was a little unfortunate, but we still ended up paying the 5 euros (which in addition to private donations is the only means of funding for the finishing of it) and going in anyways. They first started the Sagrada Familia in 1882 and to this day it is still unfinished. In fact it may be another 50 years before it is completed. The outside is really beyond anything that can be described. It is really amazing. The inside however, is not really what I expected it to be like. There was metal scaffolding running throughout the entire thing. I know that it is unfinished but I suppose it was just not what I was expecting. After that, we met up with the others back at La
Us with our shots of absinth
Rambla to search for dinner. We ended up eating at this all you can eat place which was a little pricier than I had wanted to spend, but I figured one splurge would be acceptable. Besides, I think I got my moneys worth with all the food that I ended up eating.
The first thing we did was to buy our train ticket to Valencia for the following morning. We then made our way to the Cathedral de Barcelona where we were to meet Steph and Catherine. Apparently it was Palm Sunday and all the people around the Cathedral were dressed up and carrying these enormous palm ornament things. Then in the middle of the square this circle started to form and they began to dance. More and more circles formed as the crowd joined in. It was quite entertaining. From there we moved on to the Picasso Museum. Since it was the first Sunday of the month the majority of museums in the city were free. This also meant crazy long lines. After waiting for about 45 minutes we were allowed in. The museum held a lot of his early work and some of his
drawings. On the whole, it wasn’t bad. I personally don’t think I would have gone had I actually had to pay for it, but it was ok. I am just not a huge Picasso fan. After the others had lunch (I opted for the more economical option of eating one of the protein bars I brought along) we ended up at the Arc del Triomf. The others went to the hostel while Sudie and I went to the La Pedrera also known as Casa Mila. It is another one of Gaudi’s designs that was an apartment building but is now a museum. I really enjoyed this as well. Gaudi’s stuff is just so cool. When we were done we went back to the hostel and ended up inviting this girl (Kathryn), who was staying at the hostel with her mom, to go out with us. We ended up at this place called Queen Vic’s that was just off of La Rambla. I ended up getting a pint of Sangria (I figured I had to—I was in Spain after all) which came with a free shot (mine was apple schnapps). In addition to that, and basically because the alcohol was so
One of the various vendors on La Rambla
cheap (once again compared to Ireland) Sudie, Kathryn and I got a shot of absinth. It was really quite crazy what they do to it. There was the shot of absinth, a glass with what I am presuming was water, and a spoon of sugar. The bartender then dipped the spoon in the absinth, and lit it on fire. The melted sugar ran into the shot, and then the shot was then poured into the glass. The whole process turned the absinth from clear (yes, I was a bit disappointed that it wasn’t green, however we later found out that the clear kind is only about 40% alcohol compared to the green which is something much higher so in the end it was probably better that I had the less strong one) to a sort of milky white color. It really wasn’t that bad, it tasted like black licorice, nothing particularly special except for the fact that it is illegal in the States. And no, it is not hallucinogenic either; I saw no green fairies.
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