About a month ago Joey and I had decided to take a trip to Portugal to visit the students I had met my first week in Trento because they had returned home to Lisbon. We had a layover in Barcelona, and decided to extend the layover a couple nights and make a little side trip there. Last Thursday we were up early to catch the train to Milano, where we picked up our 2 hour flight to Barcelona. Realized on the 2.5 hour train to Milan that our flight was an hour and a half earlier than we thought, and the airport was an hour-long shuttle bus from the train station. We were basically panicked as we watched the clock, saw the time we were supposed to be checking in, and sitting helplessly on the bus miles away from the airport. We were also in the bus when we saw the time check-in closed. We were flying EasyJet... whose policy is "We don't wait for anybody"... which is always comforting. We sprinted into the airport and cut to the front of the check-in line and asked the lady if we could still check in for our flight to Barcelona and she said "We are flying to Barcelona?" Haha we were only about 10 minutes past time our check in closed but they are really strict about those things. We honestly thought we wouldnt be able to catch our flight to Barcelona and we would be stuck in the airport 24 hours till we had to buy a ticket for the next flight. Luckily our flight was delayed about an hour, due to the rain. I will never complain about delayed flights EVER again. ever.
Our flight got into Barcelona, Spain at about 10:30 or 11 pm and we went to check in to our hostel. It was in a great location, and the hostel was very nice (pictured above). Surprisingly we weren't terribly tired and we decided to go out and check out the nightlife. The next morning we were up and ready to see the sights. We didn't know exactly what we should see in Barcelona, but we knew Gaudí's Sagrada Famiglia and Parque Güell were main attractions. We ended up deciding to be touristy and hop on the double-decker bus to see it all. Before we did that we decided to get some food from a tiny little grocery store down a random street. I got an orange, a plum, some fruit juice and water. Joey got a plum and these two little things that looked like apricots. April 11, 2008 will forever be known as the day I had the best orange in my entire life. It was indescribely perfect. The plums were pretty good, and Joeys apricots were definitely not apricots. We still dont know what they were but they were bitter. And not apricots.
Barcelona is full of architecture by Gaudí, mostly built in the early 1900s... which must have been really different back then. His work looks like something that would come from a Dr Seuss book. Really twisty and unconventional.. but very cool. Our bus tour took us from Plaça Catalunya (a main square in town) past Gaudí's Casa Milà (aka 'la pedrera') and other monuments to the ocean and Port Vell. I took pictures of everything and the link to see them is at the end of this post. We got to see the location of the 1992 Olympic games (I was 5 at the time so I must have been too young to remember the song "Barcelona! Such a beautiful horizon" that everyone was singing).
Next we saw Gaudí's work in progress, La Sagrada Famiglia (pictured). Well technically Gaudí died decades ago in an unfortunate accident where he was hit by a train, but his architecture lives on. La Sagrada Famiglia has been under construction for years, with no completion date in sight. It is entirely funded by anonymous donations. It is really incredible how detailed the entire thing is, and how one single person could have ever designed it all.
We got off the bus near Gaudí's Parque Güell, and spent a couple hours walking around there. The weather was in the low 60s and overcast, but it was still really nice. After the park we walked back to the direction of our hostel, and did some shopping along the way. For all you online shoppers back home the good stores to shop in Europe are called Zara, Topshop, Mango, and Bershka. Maybe they even ship to the US! When we got back to the hostel it was already getting late and time to have dinner. They eat dinner around 10 pm there. We were maybe going to go out after, but when we saw that it was pouring outside we decided not to. We ended up eating at the first restaurant we came across, and I just had to order paella to say I had it in Spain! It was really good, but the shrimp freaked me out. They came with eyes, a head, tail, and legs. Luckily Joey peeled them for me. After I had eaten Joey told me there was rabbit in my paella. If I had known that before though I wouldn't have eaten it. After dinner we walked back in the pouring rain to our hostel and went to bed. We got up at 8 am, had a free continental breakfast, checked out of the hostel, and were on our way to LISBON!