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Week 11: March 31- April 4th

I spent a weekend and so in Barcelona, Spain a few weeks ago and what a wild weekend that was. I had two different experiences from Barcelona- the crazy nightlife, and touristy full days. 

For accommodations, I stayed at Yeah! Hostel. This is by far the best hostel I have experienced with my travels in Europe. The price was reasonable, the hostel was in a very good location, staff were super friendly, and rooms were very clean. I highly recommend this hostel if you're ever travelling to Barcelona!

My friend, Morgan from school was also in Barca with her school mates so I got to meet a bunch of new faces this weekend. We literally had a whole gang of friends, 12 people deep. 
For any city I visit, I like to take the first day pretty slow by just walking around and taking the city in. We walked into the city centre by Placa de Catalunya and down to the food market La Boqueria. This was my favourite thing to do this whole trip. Going to La Boqueria and getting a bunch of different type of food. It was amazing. There were fresh fruit salads for 2.5 euros, fresh juices for a euro, an abundance of empanadas, chocolate covered strawberries, macaroon ice-cream sandwiches...the list goes on. 
After the excitement died down, we walked through the city and its streets towards Sagrada Familia. The famous temple that has yet to be completed by the architect Antoni Gaudi. 
If there is one way I could describe the building, I would say it is a beautiful mess. Gaudi's work for some is considered as horrendous and for others, it is considered as beautifully intricate. For example, George Orwell commented in Homage to Catalonia, "I went to have a look at [Gaudi's] cathedral, a modern cathedral, and one of the most hideous buildings in the world."

For me, the inside was incredible. The level of detail and intricacy really amazed me. We went near sundown and the sun beams that shined through the stained glass window was incredible. His work is greatly influenced by nature. Light and colour also plays a central role in his style. His idea for the inside of the church was it to be like a forest.

"The intimacy and depth is that of a wood, which will be the interior of the Temple of Sagrada Familia" - A. Gaudi
Gaudi's architectural style influenced a huge part of Barcelona with other buildings around the city such as Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, Palau Guell, and more.
For dinner, I went to get Seafood Paella at Tasca I Vins. The food was really tasty. I also tried pan tumaca, which is a very common dish in Catalan cuisine. It is like the bruschetta for Catalan people. Another restaurant I tried was called Sol Solar for tapas. It was a family owned tapa restaurant and the food was really tasty and surprisingly filling. I ordered Spanish style chicken wings, fried potatoes, and tomato bread.

For nightlife, we went to Opium (haha). We also visited this bar called Dow Jones, which is a stock market bar. The concept was super cool. Basically, the prices of different drinks are on a stock market and it varies through time. The best time to buy drinks is when the market crashes and every drink is priced super low. Definitely a fun experience!

The shopping in Spain is amazing and a freaking trap! I got sucked in and bought clothing from Zara of course. The selection was so amazing. Also, did you know every Zara location has a different selection of clothing? Morgan and I also went to a few vintage shops in Barcelona. We visited a super cool store called Love Vintage. Inside there were a lot of super old high-end brands such as Burberry, Missoni, Saint Laurent and such. It was super cool to go through the clothing. I even found a Burberry trench coat with a Thomas Burberry tag on it.

For one of the mornings in Barca, Morg and I visited Montserrat Mountain. We arrived super early in the morning (10 am) and did a pretty difficult hike (difficult because we were running on 2 hours of sleep lol). However, the view from the top was breathtaking. It made me feel so small. Just sitting at the top and looking into the distance of the mountains was a really great way to start the day.
My last day in Barca was a solo day and I loved it. I feel like when you travel alone you definitely take in the city more. You notice and are more alert of the things around you. You also learn a lot more about the place. I mean, it is basically just you and your mind. For the day, I got to do the touristy things I wanted to do. I visited Park Guell in the morning. Then I visited Las Rambas (market street) and went back to La Boqueria for lunch (love it too much). Afterwards, I walked through the Gothic Quarter and to Escola Parc de la Ciutadella and Platja de la Barceloneta (Barcelona beach). My last stop was Bunkers del Carmel, which has the best panaormic view of Barcelona! It was a full day of walking but I did not mind it at all. The weather was beautiful.
Overall, I really enjoyed visiting Barcelona but I definitely can not see myself living in this city. It is a huge city and there is just way too many things going on. However, it's an amazing place to visit!!

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