Sunday, May 11, 2014

Two-Day Barcy Frenzy!


Things started out perfectly...originally Eddie and I were going to arrive about an hour and a half later than everyone else to the airport. But our flight got in a bit early, and theirs got in a bit late, so TA-DA we ran into each other near the exit! We piled into two taxis and drove to our apartment, catching up a bit on the ride over. It was already past 11pm when we got to the apartment, but we were all starving so we headed out for dinner. We loaded up on jamon, croquetas, pimientos, pulpo, and vino then went home, exhausted.

Erica and Me and Churros and Chocolate :D
Churros were the first thing on the agenda for the next morning! We found some perfect churros; they were nice and sugary with the chocolate thick just the way it should be. I was reminded of New Year's Day 2013, getting churros with Alex, Kevin, and Jill and just downing my cup of chocolate after I finished the churros. Some things never change.

Park Guell
We had less than 48 hours left in Barcelona, so we were quite pressed for time. The sites we saw and the time we spent at each place was an abbreviated version of what I would have liked to have shown everyone!! Barcelona has so many things and two days is not enough. The first thing on the list: Park Guell. This has always been one of my favorite little fantasy lands! There were some changes to the park since the last time I'd been there, though. Namely you have to PAY to enter now! And you can only enter at a specific time during the opening hours, and there are no men illegally selling souvenirs and no people playing live music... so it's actually less lively in the park than it usually is! But it will always be a must-see of Barcelona :)

Afterwards, we stopped by a nearby restaurant and everyone got their fill of paella. Next we headed to Las Ramblas! The shopping street was crowded and lively as always. I usually make it part of my routine to get a huge scoop of gelato in Las Ramblas, but it was quite chilly out so I passed. The weather in general in Barcelona was super windy and colder than it's ever been in the times I've visited! It surprised me because I had never seen Barcelona as anything less than a sunny perfect paradise!! Anyway, we continued on to La Boqueria as well. After gazing at every possible organ of the pig that was for sale, I decided to buy something chocolatey. Everytime I go to La Boqueria I see the awesome chocolate and candy stands, I take a photo, and then I continue on without sampling anything. This day, I decided to do something whacky and actually buy something! I ended up selecting a golf ball-sized mound of chocolate covered slivered almonds. The man weighed the chocolate and told me with a pleasant smile "5 euros" (around $7). I asked him to repeat the price, I must have heard wrong. "5 euros". Darn it. I emptied out my wallet to pay that man. And you better believe I devoured every last crumb of that tiny chocolate ball!!

Sagrada Familia
Next we wandered about a bit more, stopping by the Cat statue for Erica before stopping at a tapas place for dinner! We wandered around quite a bit in the Latin Quarter in order to find the perfect place. I wanted to try somewhere I hadn't tried before that would give everyone else a good tapas experience, so we walked into this one place that looked inviting yet not too pricey. Turns out, it's the same owner as the restaurant I went to with my American and French buddies last New Years :) So it was obviously a great choice!

The first thing on the agenda for the next day was to visit the Sagrada Familia. We emerged from the underground metro to a Barcelona that literally almost knocked us off our was so windy! I could only compare this level of wind to Iowa winters, it was outrageous. It was also a bad day to have chosen to wear a dress. Oh well.

So we did a quick visit to the cathedral, stopping to gaze at it from every angle but unfortunately not going inside due to time constraints. We wandered away from the cathedral next to get some lunch. We had the perfect Catalan food experience at this cellar-like restaurant called La Bodegueta de Verdaguer, where the waiter/owner recommended to us the perfect array of tapas, all of which were delicious. I would recommend this place to anyone who visits Barcelona!
La Bodegueta de Verdaguer

Next we walked down Passeig de Gracia to get a view of two other Gaudi buildings! First we went to Casa Battlo, which apparently was under construction. But don't worry, the construction tarp that covered the entire building at least had the photo of what the real Casa Battlo looked like underneath lolololl! We continued to Casa Mila which was not under construction. I was hoping to go into one of the houses, but with the time constraint along with the 25 euro entrance fee, we passed :)

We continued our stroll, heading to Barceloneta and stopping to get some ice cream and crepes along the way. Eventually we made it to the beach, where the wind was amplified at least tenfold. It was hilarious, I thought we were straight up going to get blown into the Balearic Sea. We all took the time to take photos, and my sisters and I were reminded of an infamous photo from our childhood where we are all posing in front of Lake Michigan and everyone looks good and then you see me with my childish afro blowing every which way into the wind. I'd like to think that in the photos taken at Barceloneta, everyone was doing the Cynthia-hair-everywhere beach pose.

Ian and Sofia

Me and Eddie

We headed back to our apartment afterward to rest a bit and pack up. We were determined to find a super awesome joint to have our final dinner together! I had done some research for cheap, delicious restaurants in Barcelona, which was quite difficult. I had also been looking for places that served genuine tapas when you ordered a drink, which is even more difficult! I had in fact found three places that fit into one of the two categories...and literally zero of the three of them ended up being still in business... Nice goin, Cynth! But Erica found an awesome place that served food from Basque country in Spain, and we had a perfect last dinner. We ordered one round of food and ended up ordering even more because it was so delicious!

We headed back to the apartment to finish packing. We all had veryyyy early flights the next morning, so we should have just gone to bed. But instead we stayed awake talking in the living room until about 3 in the morning, at which point I said "Oh shoot. We need to leave for our flight in an hour so maybe I should start packing..." But it was a perfect last night and I was soooo happy to see my sissies!! Writing this blog post now is making me quite nostalgic to be back home in Chicago with them and the rest of the family. One month from today I will be on my flight home, though! So let the countdown begin :D

The millionth photo I've taken from my favorite spot in Barcelona :)

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