Tuesday, December 8, 2009
For my last trip of the semester, I had a whirlwind tour/visit to Barcelona. I sadly had class last Friday, so I couldn't leave until Friday afternoon. And sadly, the only flight that made sense economically and with time, was at 9am on Sunday--so it was a really short trip.
Friday: Direct flights to Barcelona were super expensive, so I had to fly through Geneva, Switzerland. However this was nice for two reasons: 1. I got to fly over the Swiss alps, which were beautiful 2. I got to fly Swiss airways, which is known for being on time and the food was quite food (and they give you Swiss chocolate). I arrived in Barcelona around 7:45pm. Luckily, Austin was visiting a friend and his flight landed at the same time, so we were able to metro into the city together. After about five minutes of navigating once outside the metro, I was at my friends' apartment (was visiting Guillaume, Ben, and Evan). By the time I got to the apartment, it was about 10ish. We hung out for a bit, then went to an Oktoberfest style bar for Kevin's birthday. We stayed at the bar for awhile, while trying to finish bucket-like quantities of beer, while also soaking up the atmosphere of Barcelona. We then headed to the area where the Olympics were, because it has no turned into a club area. We went to two clubs and danced the night away until about 4am. It was a lot of fun, and I also ran into a couple other Dukies who are studying abroad in Barcelona.
Saturday: We all started to wake up around 11am, and got our act together before a busy day of touring. At about noonish we mobilized towards the metro to head to our first stop--Park Guell. For those of you who don't know, Barcelona made the brilliant decision to hire an architect named Gaidi to design many buildings in the city. His architecture is the most surreal thing, basically only pictures can explain it. The park is this beautiful, tropically landscaped area filled with Gaudi's unique designs. The weather was about 66 degrees and sunny, and basically the perfect way to start the day. The park was also filled with bohemian artists and many musicians, it was really cool. After exploring the park for a couple hours, we took the metro to a very popular tapas place called the Champeria. They have amazzzzing sandwiches for all less than four Euros, and have champagne bottles for 4 euros. However, the place is extremely popular and was beyond packed--but nonetheless a delicious, cheap meal. We then walked down the most famous street in all of Spain--La Rambla. The street is filled with street performers, markets, and artists. It was extremely busy, and a really cool strip. To the side of La Rambla was a market that had fruit, fish, meat, wine, spices, and just about everything you can imagine. The best thing, however, was the fresh juice bar. I got a cup of fresh mango and orange juice mix, it was incredible. By the time we got our fill, we walked to our last stop--the Gaudi church called Sagrada Familia. The church looks as if you built a church out of wet, dripping sand. The design is so intricate that it has been under construction for 100 years aka. it is still not finished, and is not expected to be finished for quite some time. After staring at the building in awe, we walked through some of the Christmas markets. It made me beyond excited for home, and Christmas. Can't wait! We then went back to the apartment for a little siesta before heading out for dinner. For Kevin's birthday we decided to eat at a tapas restaurant with a bit of an American flair. I got a salad, which was super exciting because I hadn't had a salad since August (except Greek salads but they don't have lettuce) . For the rest of the evening we explored the city of Barcelona some more, I got to see a Gaudi designed apartment which was unsurprisingly beyond cool.
Saturday/Sunday: Sadly, I had to wake up around 6:15am to head over to the airport for my early flight back to Athens. Overall, I had an amazing last trip in Barcelona. It is such a beautiful, cool city. The whole atmosphere is just really hip. Plus, my friends were amazing hosts, and it was beyond great to see all of them. My flights were luckily all on time, and got to see the Swiss alps one more time. However, once returning to Athens, I was also returning to the anniversary of the student riots from last December. Some of you might have seen it one the news, but if not check it out: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8396693.stm
Things are still mostly safe, the city for the next week or so is just busy with protests and mini riots, so it will be interesting to see how things turn out.
Also, I have ONE WEEK left in Athens aka. I land in Washington, D.C. at 3pm on December 16th....I cannot believe it one bit.
Today is my last day of classes in Athens. also unbelievable
can't wait to see everyone SO soon.