Allie visits Barcelona!!
I woke up pretty early to go and get my best friend from home from the airport! Her flight was landing in Barcelona at 9:30 in the morning and I was SO excited to go and get her! She was coming all the way from the United States and would be staying with me for the week! It was her first time flying by herself and her first time out of the country. Lots and lots of first for her. I was at the airport waiting for her to come out of the sliding “llegados (arrivals)” doors. Finally I saw her and I had a smile from ear to ear. I was jumping out of my skin with excitement! People around us were laughing, but I did not care. I had not seen her for almost 3 months! She was really excited to be here, and was about to start maybe the longest day of her life (seeing as it was already 3:30 in the morning her time, but it was 9:30 in the morning Barca time).
We went back to my residencia to put all her stuff away and then quickly headed out to explore the city. I felt like such a tour guide, but it was really fun! We first headed to Barrio Gotic (which is one of my favorite part of the city). We walked around the narrow little streets and I tried my best to give her little history lessons along the way. It was really cool seeing her react to things that I either walk by everyday or something that I had never noticed before because I do walk by them everyday. After walking around for a little bit, I brought her to the Barcelona famous Bo Da B’s. It is a sandwich shop, which I know I have wrote about before. It is delicious and she loved the sandwich (we went back three more times during her seven day stay). We then walked to get gelato. We went to my favorite place in all of the city and she had her first true, authentic, European gelato experience. After we got lunch and gelato, it was about 9 in the morning her time, she decided it was time for a nap. We went back to my residencia where she napped for about two hours and then we made dinner.
On Saturday night we went to the FC Barcelona game! It was AMAZING! FC Barcelona is the best “futbol (soccer)” team in the world. They won the world cup last year and everyone in Barcelona loves them. The game was being played at the FC Barcelona stadium called Camp Nou. Camp Nou is a world famous stadium. It holds up to 99,000 people and it is ginormous! The best part? We sat five rows from the field, yes five rows. Did you read that right, yes five rows from the field! I could practically touch the players. Messi was standing right in front of me!!!! Messi is considered the best soccer player in all of the world. Barca ended up winning 4-0 and I saw Messi score a goal!! It was amazing. I could not believe the tickets that we got. So worth the money to sit that close to the field. It was such a cool experience and Camp Nou was awesome.
After the game, we met up with some of the other girls in my program and we took Allie to her first European Club. It was really fun. We went to a place called Costa Breve. They played tons of mash ups and all old songs. At this point, Allie had been up forever and we decided it was time to go home because we had a long day (and week) ahead of us!
Allie and I slept until 11:30 on Sunday morning because we were both so tired. The first thing we did was meet my friend Jessica for our second round of Bo Da B’s. We went and ate our lunch on one of the ledges overlooking the port, feet dangling over the edge with the sea underneath. This is the area called Barceloneta. It is right on the water and there are tons of sail boats and little markets everywhere. We wanted to take the gondola from Barceloneta to Montjuic but the line was a 90 minute wait and we didn’t think it would be worth it. Instead, we walked all the way to the Christopher Columbus statue at the end of La Rambla. The walk is really pretty because you walk right along the Mediterranean ports and there are little open air markets with little trinkets. Once we got to the Columbus statue we parted ways with Jessica and took the funicular up to Montjuic. We walked all around the Olympic Stadium. We then made the mistake of walking all the way up to the Castell (kind of a castle, but more of a fortress). I knew there was a gondola but I wasn’t sure how to find it so we walked all the way up. It took a long time, but we finally made it. I had never been up there before and it was awesome! The views from the top were amazing. You could see the entirety of Barcelona and it also overlooked the Mediterranean.
For dinner on Sunday night, I took Allie to my favorite paella place in Barcelona. It is called La Barca de Salamanca. I had been there once before and the paella there is amazing. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish made of rice and seafood. I really like paella... when it is good (you can get some pretty bad paella in the city). We split a one paella, and there was so much food! It was crazy. We also ordered a pitcher of Sangria (rather than a glass) after much persuasion by the waiter. It was Allie’s first taste of Sangria! Sangria is wine and fruit drink that again is very Spanish. It was a very Spanish dinner overall and we ended up sitting there for about three hours just talking and laughing. It was so fun and so nice to have my friend from home here!
Unfortunately I had two classes on Monday so we did not do a lot. I went to my class at CIEE and showed Allie where I take classes and the cute street that the building is on. After my class, I left Allie with my friend Jessica because I had another class and Jessica was free until 3, when my class ended. Jessica brought her to the neighborhood of El Born, took her to see Santa Maria del Mar, Arc de Triumf and Cuitadella. El Born is one of my favorite sections of the city so I am glad that Jessica was able to bring her there or we would not have had time to see it.
When I was out of class, Allie, my friend Kaitlyn and I went to get churros before we had to go to Volunteering. The churros that we got were soooo good, we bought them from a vendor on the street and they were already dipped in chocolate. YUMM. Anyways, so I decided to bring Allie to volunteering seeing as she is studying education in the United States. (I have not written about volunteering, but I volunteer at a school every week for two hours helping in the English class. I am a teachers aid and work with kids between the ages of 9-12. It is really fun and I really like it). We sat in on a classroom and the children were asking us all sorts of questions and we were answering them.
After dinner at the res, we went out to L’Ovella Negra for a glass of sangria. L’Ovella Negra is a rustic bar on la rambla and I thought that it would be cool for her to experience. It is a pretty famous bar (more of a beer hall than bar). We met up with another girl in my program and sat there for a few hours and headed home.
We woke up pretty early on Tuesday morning and made our way to the Sagrada Familia. We were able to walk because I live so close. I had never been inside Sagrada Familia so it was cool that we were both able to experience it for the first time. Sagrada familia is an insanely ornate church designed by Antoni Gaudi. The church has been in construction for over 100 years and still has about 20 more years of construction to go before it is finally finished. There were hardly any people there, so we didn’t have to wait in any line. We decided that it would be best to get the audio guide so we could learn more about the church. The inside was amazing. It is this vast area with all this stained glass and intricately designed structures. We learned all about the reasons why things were made the way they were because of the audio guide and ended up spending about an hour and a half inside.
After Sagrada Familia we did a lot of shopping and I took Allie for her first taste of Tapas! After tapas we did a little more shopping and got gelato from a gelato place (which isn’t my favorite, but definitely needs to be had while in Barcelona). They put the gelato in the form of a flower on your cone.
I then had a field trip for my Barcelona class. It was at the Museu de Catalunya. It was interesting, but it had been a long day and the tour was all in Spanish, so Allie had no idea what was going on and I was too tired to translate.
Later that night, I took Allie to Chupitos. The European bar famous for their selection of over 500 shots. At Chupitos we had Finding Nemo, Willy Wonka, Boy Scout, and Harry Potter (I know what you are thinking, four shots is a lot, but these are more of a fun shot and contain hardly any alcohol). I think I have explained what each shot is in another post, but I will write a brief overview of them here
-Finding Nemo: blue liquid with whipped cream on top and an orange m&m. You need to take the shot with no hands and keep the m&m in your mouth the whole time
-Willy Wonka: chocolate and whipped cream
-Boy Scout: (my fav) roast a marshmallow on the bar (which they set on fire) dip the marshmallow in the shot, eat the marshmallow and take the shot
-Harry Potter- orange slice on top of the shot glass with sugar on it, they take a blow torch and made the orange catch on fire and spark, you then take the shot then eat the orange.
We then walked over to another bar where we found an American and a German playing beer pong. Naturally, we challenged them to a game and ended up hanging out with them all night. Because no one over here knows what beer pong is, we ended up having a crowd of people watching us the whole time. They were so interested in what we were doing. It was really cool because there were people from Germany, China, Amsterdam, and England watching us play. We ended up losing both games that we played, but it was still really fun!
After my class on Wednesday morning, a few of the girls in my program and I went to go and get churros con chocolate from the BEST place for churros in the city. I is a tiny little chocolate shop. They serve you churros with chocolate and whipped cream. They were delicious.
After churros, Kaitlyn, Allie and I headed up to Tibidabo. Tibidabo is way up high on a hill over looking the city and has a really cool church and an amusement park. It was awesome. Definitely one of my favorite views of the city. We were so high and way on the outskirts of the city so you could literally see everything. Also, the sky was so blue and it was beautiful out which made it that much better. We took tons of pictures and went into the church, which from the outside looked really promising, but the inside was not as impressive as I thought it would be (but I had just seen Sagrada Familia the day before). Sidenote: At night, the church on Tibidabo is all lit up and it looks so majestic sitting on the top of the hill from where I live. So cool.
After leaving Tibidabo we went down to the Mediterranean Sea where Allie was able to put her feet in for the first time! The water was pretty cold, but neither of us cared too much, and Allie definitely didn’t care because she was able to touch the Mediterranean!
Later that night, we met up with a bunch of people in my program and went to Hot Bar and Sutton. Sutton is a very upscale Spanish club, and it was a really fun night.
We woke up again pretty early on Thursday morning and made our way to Park Guell. Park Guell is the park designed by Gaudi. It has all mosaic benches everywhere that are curved and look really pretty. It also has a really good view of the city.
Thursday was Thanksgiving so we headed home and began making dinner. My friends Jessica and Kaitlyn joined us as we attempted to make a make-shift thanksgiving meal in a foreign country. Turkey is impossible to come by in Spain so we had to go for chicken instead. Kaitlyn was able to get us some really, really good chicken from her host mom. We attempted to make baked potatoes, green beans, corn, and rolls. Everything except the potatoes came out perfect. We don’t know why the baked potatoes didn’t work. We put them in the oven for about 45 minutes and for some reason they didn’t bake, so we then put them in the microwave for 10 more minutes, but they still weren’t done and everything else was getting cold. I was very, very impressed at our dinner. We were able to time pretty much everything correctly (except the potatoes). We warmed the rolls, the corn and the green beans were done at the same time, and the chicken was warmed. We set the table, went around and said what we were thankful for and chowed down. Everything was very good and it was definitely a good substitute for Thanksgiving dinner. Then for dessert, Kaitlyn surprised us with pumpkin pie which she was able to find in a little bakery near her home-stay. It was the perfect ending.
Even though Allie and I were both exhausted and didn’t want to leave my room, we knew there was one more bar she couldn’t leave Barcelona without visiting. Ice Bar. Ice Bar is a bar that is made completely out of ice. And I mean everything is made of ice. The seats, the bar, the glasses, the walls, and then there are ice sculptures within it. You pay 15 euro to get in and you get a huge puffy warm jacket and gloves. It was sooo cool (no pun intended). It was about -11 degrees Celsius in the bar and after about 25 minutes Allie and I had to leave because we were freezing. There was an ice sculpture of the Sagrada Familia and benches that resembled those at Park Guell. It was really, really cool and we were both glad we went.
Friday was Allie’s last full day in Barcelona. We woke up super early and made our way to the Labyrinth! It was a pretty far journey on the metro and then we got a little lost (on the way to the maze, not in the maze... at this point haha) but we eventually found it. It is a labyrinth made out of shrubbery and it took us about 30 minutes to find our way through it. We then went back into the center of the city, where we did more shopping. We also got gelato from my favorite place. The lady who works there as we were saying goodbye said “see you tomorrow”..... I was kind of embarrassed that she knew she would be seeing me in the near future but also proud that I am a regular and she knows me in a foreign country. I should probably see that as a bad thing though, oh well. It is GREAT gelato.
Later that night we met up with Jessica for dinner. We went to Gracia, which a section of the city that is a little more ritzy. I love Gracia, it is so cute and quaint and far away from the city hustle. We ate a really lively square in Gracia and the restaurant was called Bo. They are considered to have the best patatas bravas in the city. We obviously ordered the patatas bravas. They definitely lived up to the standard and were the best I have ever had here! They were soooo good, all three of us were raving about them. Then I ordered a sandwich, which was a spiced sausage called sobressa with cheese and a little bit of honey. It was so delicious. Definitely need to make a trip back to Bo before leaving Spain. We then headed over to make our second trip of gelato. We went to a place that is considered to have the best dark chocolate gelato in the city and apparently they run out of the flavor every night. We were fortunate to make it there before it ran out and I got a huge bowl of the dark chocolate gelato. It was amazing.
We then were headed over to watch the water fountain show at Montjuic, but there was a problem with the fountain and there wasn’t a show. It was very disappointing because I was looking forward to bringing Allie to see it because it is so cool. Because it wasn’t happening, Jessica, Allie and I went back to my residencia where we watched the Justin Bieber movie. It was actually really fun despite the setback. We went to bed right after because we had an early morning on Saturday in order to get Allie to the airport.
We woke up super early Saturday morning and went to the airport. It was sad saying bye to Allie because it was so awesome having her here this week, especially during Thanksgiving, where I know I could have been very homesick. I watched her off through security and headed to the train station to continue my crazy week and went on a day trip to the Spanish city of Girona!