Barcelona, Spain

So these next few blog posts are long overdue! These past few weeks I have been so wrapped up in getting all my schoolwork done for the end of the semester I haven’t gotten to post on some of my most recent adventures! In mid-November I had my Reading Week for school, which was basically just a fun fall break for all students that lasted about 10 days. My first stop on this journey was in Barcelona, Spain to stay with my friend Loida! Loida and I met while I volunteered at Young Life camp this summer. She and her family have always lived in Barcelona and she is currently going to school to be a lawyer at University of Barcelona!

I flew into Barcelona from Dublin Thursday night and was picked up from the airport by Loida and her mother, Anna. We went out for a quick dinner of sandwiches at 100 Montaditos and then headed to Loida’s home for the night. Loida’s family was all so sweet and generous while I stayed with them. The next morning we woke up somewhat early because Loida needed to go to two of her classes at college because she had a presentation to give. Seeing her school was really cool also I loved the soaking up the sunlight and warm weather in Barcelona. After class we walked around a palace right by college and then headed home from lunch. I was shocked by how different the eating schedules were in Spain. Lunch was generally eaten around 4pm and then dinner at 9pm or 10pm! Loida’s mom cooked us amazing food the entire time I stayed with them and let me try all the Spanish and Barcelona staples. After lunch we headed to Plaza Espana, which is a huge square in the center of Barcelona. There was a mall, Las Arenas, nearby that you could go to the top of and have a perfect view of the city! There is also an amazing fountain show that happens multiple times every night with lights and music that we were planning to see. However when we got down to Plaza Espana we found out there were huge protests going on for SioSi, a large movement of people trying to separate Catalonia from the rest of Spain. Thousands of people were there with flags and banners to show their support for this movement. Loida told me that there was going to be a vote held on Sunday about this and that’s why it was occurring. Unfortunately because of the protests the fountain show was cancelled so we decided to come back another day. Since it was about 9pm we headed to get dinner at a restaurant near by with Loida’s sister and her fiancé plus two of Loida’s friends. We went to a tapas restaurant, which is very typical in Spain. Here they serve lots of small plates of food so you can try a lot of different things than just big courses. The dinner was amazing and afterwards we headed home to go to bed.

On Saturday we slept in a while and then decided to head to the older part of the city which was really beautiful. There were lots of shops everywhere and we were able to see some of the older sites. We visited Placa Catalunya, Portal de l’Angel, and Catedral de Barcelona. We then walked down to sea and saw Christopher Columbus’ statue and had lunch in a mall nearby called Maremagnum. We then walked up Las Rambles, which is a popular street with lots of vendors selling all different Spanish items. That night we went to Fonts of Montjuic, which was the fountain show we missed yesterday because of the protests. The show was absolutely amazing and I was completely mesmerized by the water. We then went back to Loida’s house and ate dinner and went to bed.

On Sunday I woke up early and headed into the city by myself to see some friends from my sorority who were also visiting Barcelona at the same time. We all ate brunch together, which was delicious, and then I headed back to Loida’s house. We had lunch and then headed to La Sagrada Familia, which is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen in my life. The church has been being built for over a hundred years and still is not completed since it is only being made off of donations to the church. The inside had beautiful stain glass windows of all the colors of the rainbow and was just stunning to look at. Afterwards we went and had chocolate churros at a local spot in Loida’s neighborhood. Then Loida and her mom drove me to the bus station where I took and over-night bus to Madrid.

I really loved Barcelona! I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy Spain since it was really different than any other countries I have been to before but it completely surpassed my expectations. The food that Loida’s mother made for me was amazing and made me fall in love with Spanish food. I also really enjoyed the warm weather and beautiful architecture of the city. I am also so thankful for Loida and her family for their warm hospitality. It was so wonderful to stay with a family and they really showed me the best time.

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