Adventures in Barcelona

By Laura Witherspoon

This past weekend I ventured to Barcelona, Spain, to meet up with my friend Brittany who is studying abroad in Sevilla. We had a holiday or “puente” on Friday, so I and a few others from my study abroad program left Thursday night. We took Ryanair. You really do get what you pay for with a shaky take-off and landing, and strict carry-on policies. I almost had to check my backpack for an additional 55 euros. To avoid that I simply put on 3 layers of jackets to make my bag fit their standards. Finally, we boarded the plane and took off for the 1 hour 15 minute flight. I fell asleep fast and woke up to the night lights of Barcelona.

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Casa Batllo designed by Gaudi in Barcelona, photo copyright Laura Witherspoon

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Historic building in Barcelona, Spain, photo copyright Laura Witherspoon

I met Brittany at our hostel, the Hipstel. After catching up and some unpacking, we went out for a late dinner. We wandered around and came across the Casa Batllo designed by Gaudi and were in awe! After snapping a few pictures, we found a cafe buffet with pizza and french fries. After a few weeks of Spanish food, I welcomed these familiar foods. We went to bed early that night because we wanted to start our sight-seeing early.

Friday morning we hurried down to get free breakfast at the hostel, which consisted of toast, fruit, and a very dry, cardboard type cereal. Next, we headed out to the metro to make our way to the Picasso Museum. We bought two-day unlimited passes for the metro—which saved our butts because we definitely got lost many times. Finally we found our way to the museum, and with our pre-purchased tickets didn’t have to wait in any lines to get in. It. was. AMAZING! Picasso’s early works are completely different than what he is known for. I was really interested to see the contrast, and see so many works that I had studied in my Spanish art history class last year. My favorite room was the exhibit of ‘Las Meninas.’ Picasso took Velazquez’s original work, dissected it, and transformed it into several (around 40) different paintings each focusing on a different aspect of the original. It was so cool!

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Barcelona Cathedral, photo copyright Laura Witherspoon

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Beautiful fountain in Barcelona, photo copyright Laura Witherspoon

After the Picasso Museum, Brittany and I had lunch at a restaurant called Princesa 23. The food and margaritas were very yummy! We spent the rest of the day wandering around Las Ramblas and shopping for souvenirs. Friday night we went out with two girls we met in our hostel. Gabby and Lauren are studying abroad in London but are originally from New Jersey. They had a friend who was a club promoter at Opium, so before we went there we wanted to try a shot bar called Chupito’s. They had a crazy extensive menu of just shots mostly for 2 euros each. I tried a few like Finding Nemo, Willy Wonka, and Bob Marley. After Chupito’s we got a cab to take us to Opium. It was more upscale and pricey than I expected… 8 euros for a beer is way too ridiculous, so we left early and went home.

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Parc Guell designed by Gaudi, photo copyright Laura Witherspoon

Saturday was another sightseeing day. We started off at the Parc Guell designed by Gaudi and marveled at the interesting designs. It was a gorgeous place and seemed like the setting in a fairytale. Two of the main buildings even looked like gingerbread houses. After Parc Guell we got lunch at La Rosa Negra and walked around the Cathedral, also designed by Gaudi, and Las Ramblas. We were exhausted, so we returned to our hostel for a siesta which lasted three hours. When we woke up we got ready for dinner and took the metro to find a burger place Brittany had heard was really good. When we thought we reached the right destination we came to find out the restaurant didn’t exist, at least not anymore, so we sought to find another place. We finally reached a 50′s style diner called Big J’s and our craving for cheeseburgers was satisfied. After that we got drinks and then called it an early night because I had to get up at 4:00 am to catch my flight at 6:00 am.

Waking up early to take a cheap flight home was rough but it all worked out. From the Picasso Museum to Parc Guell, Barcelona is definitely one of my favorite cities!

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