Our vacation was two weeks – you didn’t think I was going to let it pass me by, did you?! After Dijon, Sarah and I flew to Barcelona. I had been before, but it was Sarah’s first time, and it was beauteous!
Barcelona welcomed us with open arms and sunshine galore, so you can imagine how happy the two of us were. Sarah and I have both agreed that since coming to live in the north of France, both of our standards for good weather have lowered significantly. The fact that I needed my sunglasses in Barcelona, even though it wasn’t necessarily scorching hot, was enough for me to be a happy camper for the entire trip.
Sarah and I stayed in Arco Youth Hostel, and I’m including it as a link to the website because this was honestly one of the best hostel experiences I’ve ever had. We were greeted with a smile and great advice, such as where to get the cheapest food, where to rent bikes for 5 euros a day, and even where to get a free dinner! Both of us were extremely happy with our stay there, and I’d recommend it to anyone!
Our time in Barcelona was spent doing only a few things, but doing them quite often: walking, eating paella, and drinking sangria. We walked all over the city, to the Sagrada Familia, the Olympic Stadium, Parc Güell, and this really cool fountain that we never did discover the name/significance of.
We also took a stroll through Barcelona’s famous market, La Boqueria, which historians believe may have been established as early as 1217. As an avid meat-eater, this market was like dying and going to heaven. For Sarah, my vegetarian roommate, I’m sure this was not what she had envisioned would be at the Pearly Gates. I only wish I could have shown this to my Zayde (my grandfather), who was a butcher and ran his own meat-packing company. This blog will do just fine though. If you’re not into seeing raw meat hanging from the ceiling (why wouldn’t you be though?) then you might want to engage in some scrolling action right about now…
In between our sangria tastings, we also managed to fit in a free walking tour of the city, which was a real stand-out. I thought that I knew everything there was to know, seeing as I had been on a tour of the city in 2011 when I visited while studying abroad. Shockingly, I was wrong (weird how that keeps happening). Our tour was led by the most awesome guide – she was half French and half Greek, and had been living in Barcelona for a while doing graphic design and working at a bar. If that’s not the typical European experience, then I don’t know what is. She was super knowledgeable about the lesser-known landmarks and history of the city, and she pointed out things that I never would have noticed otherwise. Again, another great experience to be had in Barcelona.
And did I mention that we ate paella and drank sangria? I think I might have…we had sangria with almost every meal, because you have to try them all to find out which one is the best, right?! And both our first and last night’s meals were paella-centric. The first night, we went to a restaurant in a beautiful square hidden away from one of the side streets of La Rambla. The paella was delicious and the sangria was strong; in other words, it was a perfect meal. On our last night, we ate in the outdoor area of a restaurant actually on La Rambla. We had heard that these were all rip-offs, so we were prepared, but we wanted the experience of eating Barcelona’s signature food while getting to engage in some extreme people-watching. The paella was definitely not as good and the sangria was much more expensive, but it was worth it. All in all, I would say we had a very Barcelonian experience (I just made that word up, I think), and it was a great one.