Madrid --> Barcelona, Spain
Being unable to breathe out of one nostril all night (thanks allergies), I woke up at 5 and tossed and turned for the next 3 hours. When sleeping beauty Blake finally joined me I left him at the hotel and ventured to get us food and more importantly, allergy medicine. Now, we are in the MAD airport waiting for our flight to Barcelona.
The flight was quick and easy and we landed in Barcelona’s airport where our Air BNB host, Raquel was picking us up. Following her directions, which she had emailed me earlier in the week in broken English, we headed out the terminal to an airport bar. Raquel, a very tiny, 30- something Barcelona native recognized me before I did her. We hugged and introduced ourselves- me in a mixture of Spanish and English before I realized she spoke pretty good English- something she was hoping to perfect by going to California one day. Here she was, dreaming of studying English in LA, while I had set out to Spain to become fluent in Spanish. What a funny world.
Raquel drove us in her baby-sized car to the Air BNB, which was located in Badalona, a smaller city on the outskirts of Barcelona. Blake and I hadn’t fully done our research on the area so we were a bit surprised by the warehouse turned Air BNB located in a barren, unglamorous place that Blake compared to Bratislava. The room was studio style with a lofted bedroom area. Nothing special, but it was clean and after roughing it in Asia on my first real abroad trip last year, I was content.
We showered and unpacked and navigated our way to the metro to head to La Sagrada Familia. If you don’t know the cathedral, which translates to Sacred Family, it’s a well known landmark in Barcelona. It towers over the surrounded buildings and boasts a smooth, marble exterior with carvings of the saints and crucifixion. It’s outside is breathtaking, even if it’s still under construction and won’t be completed for another 10 years. Later I found out that the architectural works outside pales greatly in comparison to its’ innards. But, more on that later.
We decided to then venture into the city center to see other tourist marks such as the Gaudi houses. I knew I really wanted to see Casa Batllo, one of the two of Gaudi’s most famous homes, thanks to pictures I had seen on Pinterest (basic, I know). And, it lived up to its’ hype with detailed curves and brightly colored features.
After getting great use out of my selfie stick we headed to one of the restaurants Raquel had recommended. A trendy, local spot hidden away from the other tourists was Elsa y Fred. We ordered tartare, potatas bravas and watermelon salad. Oh, and a full bottle of white Sangria, of course. My happy meter was at full before we rushed home to get ready for a bar crawl later that night.
Now, if you know me, then you know that nightife culture is a big factor that determines whether I like a city or not. It’s not the only thing that matters though, don’t worry; I’m not that uncultured. After all, throughout all of SE Asia, Koh Tao was my favorite and it had very little to offer in terms of drinking and socializing. But, I’d be lying if I said that the famous night clubs in Barcelona weren’t one of the main reasons as to why I so badly wanted to fly across the world to be here. Judge me. So, tonight we were signed up against Blake’s will for a party bus that would take us and all the other drunken foreigners to three bars before ending up at the famous, #1 on every list, Opium.
Wary at first that this excursion would be lame, Blake and I kept to ourselves before I finally branched out and made some girlfriends in the most cliché place possible- the bathroom. It really is true that girls are way nicer to each other in bar and club bathrooms. The two girls asked me if I was from Canada thanks to my Michigan accent and told me they were from Toronto- my inability to correctly say the word bag or any other word with long A’s made me two new friends. We formed a group with them and this guy from New York that Blake had befriended and got to drinking.
The second bar was at the top of a hill overlooking the city and would have been a picture perfect date spot if it wasn’t for the 30 blacked out tourists looking to get lucky. Bar 3 was a mini version of Opium where shots were passed out to all. Then, the main attraction of the night- Opium. It’s hard to describe the club because there are intense strobe lights that prevent you from even seeing your dancing partner one foot away from you. We blindly danced and sat on the beach before going home and sleeping till 2 the next day.