Two weekends ago, I went to Barcelona and my friend Kathleen came also. I coordinated with my best friend from Tuscaloosa who would also be in Barcelona at the same time working on a travel magazine. I met up with her Saturday afternoon.
Friday night, Kathleen and I walked around the city and found an old bull arena that has been turned into a shopping mall. The top has a fantastic 360 view. Then we walked to see the magic fountain that lit up and danced to music. Next we had a delicious dinner filled with sangria, grilled vegetables with goat cheese, garlic and cheese bread, duck, and salmon. It was quite the spread. And quite yummy.
Saturday morning, Kathleen and I went to Park Guell. It is filled with Gaudi architecture and mosaic tiled benches, columns, and statues. It is more of like a hiking venue. The higher you climb, the better view of the city you have. So we went all the way to the top. I’m glad we did bcause at the top was a cross that you had to climb about ten steps on a hill to reach it. It was one of those moments when you looked from behind the cross into the city that makes you stop and appreciate life.
Did I mention it was sunny?! And warm! I haven’t had much of these in Prague.
Then, we checked out St. Joseph La Boqueria market off Las Ramblas that one of my good friends who studied in Barcelona one semester told me I had to see. It was so unique; filled with pastries, chocolates, nuts, spices, ALL kinds of fresh seafood, Spanish tapas, fruit, smoothies, and so much more. It was so colorful and I wanted to sample everything! Kathleen and I had lunch there Saturday and again on Monday because it was that good!
That afternoon, I finally met up with Jessie!!! I was so happy to see someone from home. I was glad it worked out to be Jessie. That girl can brighten anyone’s day. She has listen to me rant about Prague for hours over Skype and iMessages so I was thankful to talk to her in person for a weekend. We grabbed some coffee with some more girls from Alabama and sat in Plaza Catalunya for a while. The Spanish culture is not to eat until what we would consider late so we headed out for dinner around 8:30. We found a popular restaurant and ate outside. I was so glad to be hanging with my best friend. In Barcelona. Together.
Sunday morning, Kathleen and I explored the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. It is the oldest and most historic part of the city. We ran into a marathon first thing and then stumbled upon a band playing to pump up the runners!
Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, we found an Irish Pub for lunch. After Kathleen and I ordered, the waiter turned back to me and said, “I’m sorry. I already forgot what you ordered. I was listening to your lovely accent.” As if I wasn’t loving Barcelona already.
After lunch, we grabbed some ice cream, because it was over over 50 degrees and we haven’t seen that yet in Prague either, met up with Jessie and went to the Sangrada Familia. It was closed being a Sunday, but we walked around all four sides – they are all different. It is one of Barcelona’s most famous buildings designed by Gaudi. It started construction in 1882. When Gaudi died in 1926, it was only 20% finished. He was to have said, “My client is not in a hurry.” When it is completed, it will have 18 towers: 12 for the disciples, 4 for the evangelists, one for Mary, and one for Jesus. There is so much detail. I’m already planning on coming back after it is finished : )
That night, we ate dinner at a traditional Spanish tapas restaurant. It was set up like a buffet where you put on a plate what you wanted except all the food was bite sized with a skewer in the middle to transfer it to your plate. When you ate the tapa, you placed the skewer in a holder on the table. When you were finished with the meal and ready to pay, the waiter counted how many skewers were in the holder to know how much you ate. Such geniuses, the Spaniards. Afterward, we headed to Camp Nou to watch FC Barcelona play Rayo Vallecono in fútbol! Barcelona won and we saw Messi, Barcelona’s best player score a goal! Barcelona won the World Cup in 2010 so they are kinda a big deal.
Monday morning, Kathleen and I ate one last time at La Boqueria de St. Josep and bought some goodies to take back to Prague. I said goodbye to J and we headed to the airport. It was such a fun weekend, I didn’t want to go back to Prague.
Seeing one of my best friends made me realize how grateful I am for the friends I have back home. I have made some wonderful friends in Prague who I plan to keep in touch with after the semester, but nothing beats having friends who can look at you and know something is wrong or have a whole conversation without having to say anything. I love those kinds of people. I’ve got some real great ones back in Tuscaloosa.