Friday, August 17, 2007

Day 28 6/30/07

A Barcelona Reflection

Barcelona was an amazing city. I didn’t have much expectations or really much knowledge about the city at all seeing that I was planning on going to Greece until 2 weeks ago; however, the city did exceed any expectations I may of had. We stayed in a youth hostel in a happening part of the city next to Jaume metro stop and about a quarter mile from the famous Las Ramblas strip. We spent a little time everyday at the beach (about a 15 minute walk from the hostel), and spent our nights enjoying delicious late night sit down dinners on various beautiful outside terraces. The hostel served breakfast so we usually gathered some extra food from breakfast to hold us over for lunch so we could enjoy a nice dinner that night. The vacation was a perfect combination of relaxation by the water and time spent touring the city.
Las Ramblas is a street that runs off the beach with your classic street performers, artists and vendors. We walked down the Las Ramblas strip the first night to enjoy our first gelato, which I thought was just as tasty as the gelato in Italy. My favorite part about Barcelona; however, were the little side streets. I feel like I could live in the city for years and still continue to discover little shops, restaurants and gardens tucked away in little alleyways off the main streets. I loved going off on my own and exploring these little inlets.
The Picasso Museum was also located conveniently right behind our hostel so I was able to walk there the second day we were in Barcelona. The Architecture of the building was beautiful. The Museum was tucked away in one of these small alley ways and the entrance to the building looked and felt like a dark cave, which then opened up into a beautiful sunny courtyard. The permanent exhibit was huge and it was really cool to see a lot of Picasso’s early work, such as his figure drawings and nature studies, which I have not seen much of even in text books. The museum did a really good job showing us, through the exhibit layout, Picasso’s progression throughout the years and the different stages of his life.
Being in Barcelona I really got to experience siesta at its finest. I wish our culture did the same. Their “siesta” really makes the day so much more relaxing. It took a little getting used to this more relaxed lifestyle, and not to mention having to wait till at least 8:30 for dinner restaurants to even re-open, but I could really get used to eating dinner at 11:00 pm and having a few hours in the afternoon to relax. The first night we ate at “la crema canela,” an amazing restaurant recommended by the famous traveler Rick Stevens. A girl we met named Erin who we met the first night in the hostel took us there. The restaurant is famous for serving gourmet meals all for the most part under 10 Euro.
Barcelona certainly was short lived (although longer then planned for Alex and I,) I will explain THIS later, but definitely a city worth traveling again. I would also love to be able to use my Spanish more next time.

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