On Wednesday night, Annie, Angie, Haoyun and I took a late plane to Barcelona for a language conference. We arrived around midnight and caught a cab that was to take us to our hostel. . . He took us near-ish our hostel and said it was good enough and he wasn’t sure what direction the hostel was in. It was lovely.
We found our hostel with relative ease. It was not a nice place. The first night, we had a mixed dorm and shared the room with 4 guys. Three of them were not a problem, but the one guy closest to me snored soooooooo loud. That in and of itself was not a huge problem. But when we woke up, he blatantly stared at Angie and I while we got ready. Not good. We hightailed it out of there ASAP.
On top of the weird experience with the guy, the place was gross. There was no fan or anything and it was so hot that you would stick to the sheets. Additionally, the bathroom was not clean by any standard. One of the shower doors was broken and water would get everywhere every time it was used.
However, we sucked it up and survived. We left for the conference really early and got to the university maybe 30-45 minutes early…way too early to check in or anything. So we sat in the auditorium, found outlets, and charged our phones (the hostel only had two outlets for a room with eight people).
The conference was nice. After listening to the talks, there was a break, so we walked down to the beach. Fun fact: there is no problem with being nude at the beach here. We found this out when we saw a full frontal of a woman. That I can deal with. Not ideal, but whatever. I have girl parts, I have seen them before. But when you throw man parts into the mix, I’m out. They should have warnings or something! However, this piqued my interest and I decided that I would go skinny-dipping…but more on that later.
After the beach, we got crepes and they were wonderful and full of rainbows and happiness. Once we finished the meal, we had to rush back to the university for some more talks. Christian’s plane arrived and he met us at the conference. Seeing someone else from Penn State was awesome. I also got to meet Yanina, a friend of Annie, Christian, and Haoyun.
Once the conference finished up, we checked into a different room of the hostel and walked to the Sagrada Familia cathedral, which began construction in 1882 and is still in progress. It’s one of the most breathtaking things I have seen. After seeing the Nasrid palace at the Alhambra, I thought that nothing would ever be more beautiful or intricate. I was wrong. Gaudi was definitely a genius.
However, we could not get into the cathedral because it was closing soon. So we found a restaurant that was a short walk away and headed there for dinner. Afterwards, we realized that we were really close to the Dragon House and walked over to see it. By this point, it was too late to get in, but I definitely wanted to go back and check it out in the daytime.
The next day, we finished up the conference and decided to go to the Dragon House and the Cathedral. Both of them were pretty expensive, but they were so worth it.
The detailing of the Dragon House was intense. Gaudi even built some of the furniture to go in the house. I had heard about this house in high school, during one of my Spanish classes and it has been on the bucket list for years. It was nice to finally cross it off.
If possible, the cathedral was even grander. I had never heard of the Sagrada Familia before, but it was easily the most amazing architecture that I had ever seen.
The windows in the Sagrada Familia were my favorite. The pictures don’t do them justice, but they were a wonderful mix of colors.
The blue windows were my favorite. They were made of hundreds of different blue hues, all worked together to create a window. It was fantastically crafted.
We eventually split into different groups and Haoyun, Angie, and I went shopping and sightseeing. We found some cool fountains and statues, and ate at an awesome Chinese restaurant. We keep trying to learn Chinese words; Haoyun is really patient with us and only laughs at us a little bit. At one point, she was talking to one of the workers and Angie and I heard her say “Shi-wu” which we learned to mean “food”. We got super excited that we recognized a word and told her…It was not food, it was fifteen. The difference between “shí-wù” and “shí-wǔ” is impossible for me to hear. But the food was wonderful and authentic, per Haoyun, and I got to try a bunch of different things, including some kind of rice noodles, dumplings, and duck with orange sauce.
On our last day, we went to the Park Güell, and walked around for a bit. Up this one hill, there was a guy in tight-fitting leopard print pants that was playing a guitar and calling all of the females walking by “tigers” and “panthers”. I think he may have been high, but I am not sure. Definitely an interesting character.
Christian and I were sitting on a bench while Annie, Angie, and Haoyun walked around. When they walked back over to us, the guy noticed that all five of us girls were with Christian and he called Christian out as “the man with five tigers” and deemed him a hero. He even requested to know Christian’s secret for keeping so many tigers around. It was mildly embarrassing, but still amusing. So, heretofore, Christian will always be known as “the man with five tigers”.
The main part of the park required a ticket to enter, but the wait was around two and a half hours and it was our last day in the city, so we decided to leave. As we started walking towards the metro, we passed a 4D Gaudi movie experience. Haoyun, Angie, and I decided to go in and Annie, Yanina, and Christian continued so they could explore one of the surrounding mountains. The 4D movie was awesome! It showed some of his buildings coming to life and how he may have been inspired to create them. Definitely a good experience.
Later, the three of us went back to the Chinese restaurant for food and then Angie and I headed to the Picasso museum. They had a special exhibit of Picasso and Dali artwork juxtaposed to show the influence that Picasso had on Dali’s work. I think I prefer Dali’s art. I just find it more striking and visually appealing than Picasso’s work. The cubismo of Picasso’s work is nice, but I like the more clear cut work of Dali. The exhibit was free because Angie and I are university students. I like the student discounts here. I wish they did more this in the United States.
After this, Angie and I walked around the Gothic quarter. There was this huge arch in the middle of a pedestrian area. Throughout this walkway, there were performers showing off their skills. The most impressive one was this man with a hoop. He was playing music and dancing, using the hoop as a prop. It was insanely awesome. The muscle control that this man must have was mind-boggling.
The last night in Barcelona, we decided that we were going to be homeless. The hostel was really gross and we figured that we had to be at the airport pretty early anyways. So Haoyun, Angie, and I went off on our own. These girls are extremely patient with me. They went to the beach with me once it was dark so that I could go skinny dipping. Angie went swimming in her suit, but I embraced the culture and went all out. It was an interesting experience, but I think I’ll stick to swimming suits in the future.
Since we had no hostel in which to shower, Angie and I decided to shower in the beach showers. Trying to shower with random people walking by is awkward. I had a shirt and undergarments on for this part, but the men walking by were still skeeving us out. I have to admit that showering on the beach was cleaner and had warmer water than the hostel…That’s pretty sad.
Haoyun and Angie held towels up once we were finished so that I could get dressed. That in and of itself was an adventure. Trying not to fall over and quickly change clothes in between random people walking by proved to be a challenge, but I emerged victorious.
Afterwards, we found a restaurant on the beach and stopped for dinner. The food was pretty good, but insanely expensive due to the location.
Once we finished eating, we caught a taxi to the airport and proceeded to sleep off and on. Apparently you are not allowed to sleep on the floor, because Angie and I got reprimanded and told to move. Who knew? We weren’t even in the middle of the floor anywhere; we were pushed completely up against a wall to make sure that we were not in the way.
After ages and ages, it was finally time to catch the plane and we all slept until we arrived safely in Granada.