Jan 2005. This was my first ever trip outside of North America. At this point in life, I’d only been to various places in the Northeast and once to Montreal, Canada so this was a big deal for me. First thing I had to do was get a passport! Typical American, 21yrs old and never had a passport in my life. The idea to do this trip was entirely my sisters’ and I was hesitant at first, but decided to go anyway. Was living in Boston at the time, so I made the drive down to NYC to fly out together with my sisters from JFK.
We stayed at the Barcelo Sants Hotel, which had a convenient direct rail link to the airport and to the city center via the metro. That first day, we took the metro into the city center and walked all over the city. For hours, literally. I didn’t have the most comfortable sneakers on, so eventually my feet started to hurt and after another day of walking I had cankles like a pregnant woman. If you ever go to Barcelona, don’t forget your walking shoes!
The city itself is really beautiful and has lots to do. We went on our own Gaudi tour throughout the city. Gaudi is the reason why we have the word “gaudy” in English today ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoni_Gaudí ). He was born in Catalonia and did most of his major works in Barcelona, including the absolutely spectacular Sagrada Família. Over the course of several days, we visited all his major works; they each have an artistic style that is uniquely and unmistakably Gaudi. My
personal favorites are the Sagrada Família and the Park Güell. They’re both this biggest projects and are perfect examples of his artistic style. There are also lots of museums in the city. We went to the Gaudi, Joan Miro, and Picasso museums. At the Gaudi museum, there was this one window that had a great view, but it was pretty high off the ground and Laurie couldn’t see. So I gave her a boost haha.
The other big thing we did in Barcelona was eating ! Tapas, wine, and sangria galore! One thing that we tried but surprisingly didn’t like was paella. It had a really strong fish odor which just overwhelmed all the other flavors. I suppose if we held our noses it would’ve tasted better? Oh and Spanish wine glasses are great 🙂 They’re like small cups, but they’re far more practica
l than traditional wine glasses. Kim and I picked up a pack of them at the department store.
The other thing I tried to bring back was’t an object, but rather an idea. Unfortunately I don’t think it’ll ever really catch on in the US… Everywhere I looked, people actually took nice long lunch breaks and even came across people sleeping in parks. Siesta! What an amazing idea! I pitched it to my superiors back at work when I got back, but I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t win them over. One day siesta will prevail in the US!!
Our last night in the city I managed to break away from my sisters and partied all night with some American students I met. We went to a salsa club, then a “regular” club, then the after hours club. The nightlife scene in Barcelona is amazing! We partied till the metro opened up again at 5am. That led to maybe the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I walk into the hotel room, the shades are pulled slightly so that there’s some light from the street filtering in. I see a dark figure standing in front of the window, hands on hips. It’s my sister, she’s 5’2″. And she looks tiny with the light coming behind her. Hilarious!