Thursday, December 16, 2010


Day 1:

Wasn't much of a day, seeing as we landed at about 11:30pm and went straight to the hostel.  However, it is worth talking a bit about the hostel, which is GREAT.  All of the people were super friendly and we got to know a lot of them really well.  It's also strictly a youth hostel (18-35 years) so we all have that in common.  They also hire a 'night life' person who is an exclusive promoter at clubs and gets us all in free every night.  Awesome!

Day 2:

Best open market experience ever.  I've never seen so much delicious fruit in my life.  They have amazing fruit smoothies in 15+ flavors for 1.50 euros, and mini plastic containers of fruit for 1 euro (I got fresh coconut and sliced fruit yesterday.. amazing).  It's a 20 minute walk straight into the center of Barcelona, so it was nice seeing all of the stores and main part of the city.  I basically just walked around to get my bearings for over 5 hours, then went back to the hostel to meet more people.  I cooked dinner with the help of one of the night life guys for 11 people.. that was an experience!  I do miss cooking though, so it was nice.

We went out to a Cuban bar and I had a delicious mango daquiri.  They were out of pinya coladas, so I was bummed.. but the mango was a satisfactory replacement.  After, we headed to Broad Club, which was full of all kinds of interesting people.  If you like to people watch, nightlife is the place to be.  We stayed until some ungodly hour (I think we returned close to 4am) and I actually just woke up.  The days are so much different here in the mediterranean because they don't wake up until much later, the stores usually don't open until 10am and everyone stays out until atleast 3am if you're a young person.  It's a fun time, but very different from what Oxford's been like!  Good thing I get a second wind.  Whew.

Off to explore!

Day 3:

Went exploring to the beach and harbor with a friend from Singapore, Zhai, which was really fun.  The beach was still beautiful and the weather wasn't too bad... cold, but sunny.  I love walking around Barcelona.  It reminds me of New York City except much less crowded.  We're right in the center with all of the nicer shops, so it really feels like a big US city.  The Gaudi house on the corner of the street near our hostel sets Barcelona apart, for sure... Gaudi architecture is amazing here.  I'm going to see his famous cathedral tomorrow, which is exciting.  I LOVE the architecture that he did... too bad he got hit by a tram in 1923 (yipes!)

Out for another night on the town, to a club by the beach!  Figured out today that I'll be with a bunch of these hostel people in Paris as well.. yes!

Day 4:

Did the Gaudi tour.  First I went to Sagrada Familia, which is a giant cathedral that hasn't been finished for 150 years.. it's said to be his most prolific work of art.  It was absolutely amazing.  The geometric designs are insane and the inside columns appear to create the illusion of a forest inside.  There are stained glass windows everywhere, as well as his very original staircases.  It's hard to believe that anyone would commission a church structure from Gaudi, seeing as he's anything but traditional.  For instance, his jesus figure was hanging from a circular circus looking object from the ceiling.  Quite interesting.  I personally would greatly enjoy going to services in that church, mostly for the scenery and aura. 

Next, I trekked over to Parc Guell, which is covered in Gaudi creations.  The park is HUGE and gorgeous.. and, as one American tourist aptly noted, "this looks a whole lot like candyland."  True!  There is a big forum that was meant to hold a market, several house structures, gardens, etc.  It's very hard to describe in words, but pictures to come!  It was a bit cold when I went so I couldn't sit on a bench and read, as I'd planned. 

After Gaudi, I decided to go to Montjuic, which houses the Magic Fountain, contemporary art museum, museum of olympic sports and the best panorama I've seen thus far of Barcelona. 

Most of our friends have left for Paris.  A group of 8 Swedish guys arrived last night and they've taken over the hostel in terms of noise.  Very funny occurrence.   We went to a beach club with them and it one of the funnier experiences of my life. 

Day 5:

Woke up expecting to get ready for a flight to Paris only to find that it had been cancelled due to 'heavy snow' in that region.  Darn Europeans need to learn to cope with snow better!  As far as I know, the Swedish guys still have their flight to Sweden, which has FEET of snow.  France and London, get your stuff together!

Went to a giant department store near Cataluyna, though now I'm busy rebooking flights and trying to rearrange my hostel, etc.  I'm not a fan of having to change plans, especially when rebooking a flight costs me 40 more euro than the original one.  At least I get a refund on the flight that got cancelled.  Still annoyed, though.  My rebooked flight leaves tomorrow at 8am so that will be a ridiculously early morning bus ride to the airport.  Let's hope that Paris clears off the runways by then or else I may be staying in Barcelona for a long duration of time!  As long as I get to London before Christmas though, I'm pretty happy.  Although, I'd rather not pay for 9 nights of hostels when I could just be in Oxford or at a friend's... stop robbing me, snow!

The Gaudi house right near our hostel

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