Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stephanie Lia Barcelona

This past weekend was my trip to Barcelona, Spain with Lia and it was absolutely incredible. We took a bus to the Orly airport. Because we didn't have to check bags (we only brought our backpacks like good little study abroad kids) we were let into a shorter line directly to security. Since we had arrived at the airport unnecessarily early and the Duty Free shop was the only store in our terminal, we decided to look at every single chocolate option the shop offered before making our decision on which one to buy. Lucky for us, we settled on a lovely option that was, to our delight, on sale!

As soon as we landed in Barcelona, we were ready to see the town. We checked into our hostel around midnight and were shown around to our rooms by an extremely nice girl. We couldn't stop talking about how nice she was the whole trip. After putting our stuff in our lockers, we immediately went to meet Lia's friend Debbie at one of the most interesting places I think I've ever been. It was a bar in which you would pay the bartender three euros and receive a glass. In this glass, you could pour in as much of whatever you wanted. Alcohol, juice, soda, whatever you wanted. Not only that, they also gave out an unlimited amount of popcorn to all the tables. Most of it ended up on the floor or on the table, but definitely a nice gesture. The bar was filled to the brim with Americans and the locals from Barcelona. I met people from all over the US, even some who I had mutual friends with. It's so crazy how I can go to the complete other side of the world and still meet Jews who know my Jews. As we were being herded out of the bar, the old lady owner gave everyone  a bottle of water. It was so motherly and kind!

Unfortunately, I didn't sleep too well in the hostel. Lia and I wound up in separate rooms. Lia was in an eight person room and I was in a six person room. In my room, there was a guy who was snoring so loudly, I didn't ever get to fall asleep. I tried waking him up three times. Nothing. I tried putting music on my ipod and squishing my head in my pillow, but I could still hear him. I decided not to let my lack of sleep ruin the trip, which brings us to Saturday.

Saturday was a great day. Lia and I started at the Barcelona Cathedral, which I've seen paintings of here in Paris at the Musee d'Orsay. Seeing the subject of paintings I've seen was really interesting, really being able to understand the details of the building that went into the paintings. After the Barcelona Cathedral, we went to Parc Guell, the whole reason I wanted to go to Barcelona. The architecture and colors are amazing. The view of Barcelona and the ocean was just as lovely as the park itself. We then went to lunch and the Picasso Museum. The museum was a little underwhelming and the staff didn't seem to like me too much. When I showed the woman at the desk my student card to buy my ticket, she went over to another woman, talked to her for a bit, showed her my card, and came back and sold me a ticket. Strange. Then, another woman who took my ticket gave me a weird look. After tearing my ticket, then Lia's ticket, she once again looked back and me and gave me another weird look. Lia and I weren't actually sure what was going on, but we made it through the museum just fine.

Also, the same weekend, about three people I know from home were going to be in Barcelona for the weekend. One of them was Rebecca, my closest friend from pre-school, who is also studying abroad in Paris this semester. I was waiting all weekend to run into her and on Saturday night I was walking through the metro and saw her from across the hallway! It was crazy!

Sunday, however, was definitely the highlight of the trip. Debbie met Lia and me at Sagrada Familia. We waited in a long line for over an hour, but it was completely worth it. The church may be one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and will ever see. From the outside, it's a little bit dark and intense, true to the gothic style. But inside was unbelievable. The room is massive, filled with white and grey stone and stained glass windows everywhere. Gaudi studied light and believed that too much light is overwhelming. He, therefore, designed the building with the intention on letting in just the right amount of light. I purchased an audio tour and leaned so much. Without it, I probably would have just blown through all of the things to see in a little under an hour. But with it, I was able to spend three hours learning and really seeing the church and all the little details Gaudi put his heart and soul into. I hope to be able to return to Sagrada Familia one day, as it isn't scheduled to be completed for another 30 years.

Overall, Barcelona was a great experince. I loved the vibe of the city; everyone seemed to be having such a good time there, study abroad students and locals. The trip did, however, make me miss and appreciate Paris a lot. I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to be here and excited to finally be able to check off one of the destinations on my list! Love on top. Hearts.

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