Viva Barcelona!

Viva Barcelona!

Hola amigos!!

 

My weekend in Barcelona, Spain was a blast! I went with three of my TWC friends, and we had an amazing time. Although we are all super attached to London, heading to sunny Barcelona was a well-deserved (and much needed) vacation! Venturing out of England and into Spain was indeed a culture shock, but at least it was a positive one! Of the four of us, only two of us could communicate fluently in Spanish, which were pretty good odds considering that we wouldn't be splitting up at all during the trip. Overall, going to Barcelona was a great weekend vacation out of cold, rainy London, and my friends and I were able to visit lots of awesome sites around the historic city.

 

Heading out for the weekend...

As we packed our carry-ons, the four of us couldn't decide what to bring with us for the weekend. According to weather.com, the weather in Barcelona was going to be cold and rainy for the duration of our trip. We didn't like the way that sounded, and were all in denial about this, so we decided to still pack some warm-weather necessities. Yes, we all packed shorts, dresses, and of course, sunglasses.

 

Once we were out of our flats, on the Tube and headed to Victoria station to catch our airport bus, the excitement really set in! The four of us were all talking up a storm about all the things we wanted to do over the weekend, and this lasted pretty much until we arrived at Gatwick airport, on the outskirts of London. We arrived at the airport with more than enough time to spare, and ended up sitting around waiting for about four hours until our flight departed. Our flight was good, and we were all anxious to land and start our trip.

 

Finally en la ciudad Barcelona!

Once we landed at Barcelona airport, we ran off the plane, got through customs, and finally exited the airport. At this point, it was already pretty late in the evening, and we just wanted to get our bearings straight and find the hostel we would be staying at. So, we jumped on a train, and the adventure officially began.

 

I found myself constantly referencing my tourist guidebook of the city, and honestly I don't think we could have made it from the airport to the hostel in one piece if I hadn't purchased it at the airport. After carefully analyzing the book multiple times, and passing it between the four of us, we finally figured out how to get from the airport to Vallcarca, where our hostel was located. When we finally got off the metro at our right stop, we were a little disappointed to see that it had started POURING outside. However, we were able to make it up the hill to our hostel, and we checked in with no problems.

 

Side note:

By the way, if you choose to travel and stay at a hostel, don't get your hopes up...it is simply a place to sleep, and nothing more. Don't expect the Marriott hotel when you waltz through the door. By all means, when we arrived at the hostel, we weren't exactly jumping for joy, but it was an okay accommodation for the weekend nevertheless. Our room was a six-bed all girls bunk, and it had ONE plug, ONE light, and no lock on the door. Yup, we were a little freaked out, and let's just say we slept with our passports (and all other valuables) right under our pillows.

 

Crashing in the less-than-Marriott accomodations of the hostel!

 

So, as I'm sure you may be able to relate to, after a long day of travelling, and after checking into our meager accommodations, we were starving! Spain is very well known for having late dinners and restaurants staying open into the night, so we didn't think it would be a problem to find somewhere to eat. Oh boy, were we wrong. We walked around our neighborhood searching for a cafe or some sort of Spanish restaurant. The only thing we could find open at 11 p.m. on a Friday night was a little Chinese restaurant. Yes, you heard that right; our first meal in Barcelona consisted of Chinese food.

 

...but of course our trip took a turn for the better!!

Okay, so our first impressions of Barcelona weren't exactly the best, but the next morning we got up relatively early and set off to explore the city. The first place I wanted to visit was the iconic Las Ramblas, so we jumped on the Metro and got there in about fifteen minutes. Right from the moment we jumped off the train, we were overwhelmed with everything that was going on! We immediately were drawn to a market, and it was one of our favorite places that we visited! We also hung out near some really beautiful fountains right by Las Ramblas. We took a break while walking down Las Ramblas, and stopped in a cafe to have some paella. It was absolutely delicious! After our quick lunch break, we kept moving. Another site I wanted to visit was La Plaza Reial, which surprisingly was on a side street by Las Ramblas. When we entered the Plaza, we were mesmerized by the beauty of the space. There was a magnificent fountain right in the middle, which was surrounded by palm trees. This was clearly a very touristy spot, as everyone was taking photos around the Plaza. It was also filled with multiple restaurants and cafes.

 

 

Alexandra, Kethia, Anum and I wanted to get a group photo together, but it was a little frustrating trying to find someone who we trusted to take the picture for us. On top of that, the weather was about 75 degress and humid, so we were getting a little agitated. We got our group picture, all right. Of the four of us, I looked as if I was complaining, Kethia looked dazed, Anum seemed to be confused, and Alexandra put us all to shame by looking absolutely fine. You'll see for yourself below...

 

 

The next day, I made it a number one priority to visit the Arc de Triomf. Since I was able to visit the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, I definitely wanted to see the one in Barcelona! I must admit, I was WAY more impressed with the Spanish Arc, compared to the French one.

 

 

The Arc de Triomf was in a great location; it was the entrance to Parc de la Ciutadella, another place I wanted to visit while we were in Barcelona. So, the four of us ventured into the beautiful park, and had QUITE the adventure. Let's just say, Kethia had a great time taking photos with strangers, Alexandra talked us into renting a paddle-boat on the lake, and we had a very 'welcoming' experience with some ladies who wanted us to sign and donate money towards some questionable petitions.

 

The paddleboats were fun! We all took turns steering the boat around the lake, and it was a very relaxing time on our trip to just sit back and reflect on everything we had done.

 

Additionally, in the Parc de la Ciutadella, we found the most remarkable place! It looked like something out of a movie set, and I couldn't believe my eyes when we came across this beautiful area in the park.

 

 

We definitely went to the beach

Something the four of us really wanted to do was visit the beach while we were in Barcelona. Fortunately for us, we were able to go twice! We didn't exactly get to see the beach during the day, but we went on both Saturday and Sunday nights. The water was clear and warm, and the white sand was simply beautiful. The beach was so clean (compared to the beaches we're accustomed to in the United States)! Going to the beach was one of the biggest highlights of our trip.

 

Sharon at the beach!

 

Of course, all good things must come to an end...

 

Leaving Barcelona was possibly one of the hardest things for us to do. None of us wanted to leave after three days. Realistically, a weekend really isn't enough time to get to see EVERYTHING in the city, but it was pretty great to get away for the weekend and get to go to such a beautiful city. It was overall an incredible life experience, and I personally felt that I grew in this short trip. As I mentioned before, I do speak Spanish, but I have never been a confident speaker. After being in Barcelona, and having to communicate only in Spanish, I was able to see that I can indeed do this with no problem, and there's nothing to be worried about when it comes to Spanish! After we got back to London, I was still thinking and responding to EVERYTHING in Spanish. I'm even going to admit that I dreamed in Spanish for the first few nights being back. But hey, that's another story for another day... Once we got back to Gatwick, and eventually back to our flats, we were all extremely satisfied with our trip to Barcelona. We have all agreed that it's a trip that we will be doing again in the future, perhaps with our families and loved ones. Either way, it was a great success!! But one thing's for sure... there's no place like home (well, London, that is)! Although we all became so attached to Spain in the short amount of time we were there, nothing felt better than being in our old stomping grounds, walking the streets of West Kensington, London as if we lived there our entire lives.

 

 

Keep it classy, folks!!

 

Later,

Sharon

Experience a Day in the Life of an Intern at The Washington Center

Learn More