It’s been two weeks since I’ve returned from Barcelona. In that time I’ve definitely been getting some withdrawals so I’m hoping that I can relieve some of the symptoms by writing a post about it.
The trip started as it ended: with exhaustion. Apparently I decided it was a great idea to go out the night before my 9:45 am train. It was not. So with bags in my hands and under my eyes I headed off to the station to meet my Australian friends Ana, Margo and Juliette. At this point I must have been running on adrenaline because it wasn’t until the middle of the train ride that I crashed and went through the various symptoms of exhaustion. For those who aren’t familiar with these, I’ll name a few:
- Laughing hysterically at nothing
- A huge craving for Macca’s
- A suspicion that Dementors are attacking your train
- Feeling like you’re floating on a cloud
Upon arriving in Barcelona after a train ride that felt like eternity and the quickest flight ever, the girls and I headed straight to our hostel and set ourselves up. After that it was time for the beach of course! Although we did get sidetracked a little with food such as greasy chips in a cone and gelato. Mmmmmmm.
Giant Pizza from Pizza Circus
Me, Ana and Juliette off to Razzmatazz in all black and white
Later on in the evening, after drinking games and the biggest pizza slices ever, we headed out to Razzmatazz with the rest of our hostel. To say this place was confusing is an understatement. With 5 levels, magic Harry Potter stairs and a few (*cough*) drinks in me of course I wound up lost. Not having a phone, my survival training kicked in and I spent most of my night on the terrace hoping my friend would eventually come out for a cigarette. That isn’t to say I didn’t have fun. I met plenty of people from all over the world and had some great conversations (I think… I’m not entirely sure…) It all worked out though because I eventually caught up with my friends and we walked home with some Frenchies, stopping only to take cover from torrential rain.
The next day we headed to one of Gaudi’s works: Casa Batlló. I don’t think my photos do this house much justice and if you get the chance I definitely recommend discovering it for yourself. I was in awe of how much thought and work he put into just a single room. Aesthetically and practically he thought of everything, turning ordinary things like door handles and chimneys into works of art. The shapes, colours and use of light transport you to another world: one that is evocative of nature and the underwater world. Honestly I could go on about this house for an eternity but I won’t. What I will do, however, is urge you to go see it. Your mind will be blown.
Ana, Me and Margo at Casa Batlló
Rooftop view of Barcelona
Polaroids and beautiful mosaics at Casa Batilló
Casa Batlló’s Rooftop
That night we met up with some more Aussie friends and joined the hostel once again at a club called Opium. Thankfully, this club was much smaller than Razzmatazz which meant little risk of me getting lost. Hooray! We danced into the early hours of the morning and then caught a taxi home.
The next morning I awoke to the girls telling me that we were going to church. Apparently Gaudi’s Cathedral, Sagrada Familia, was THE place to visit in Barcelona. I was not so keen. I didn’t even know if a church would allow me in with all the sins I’d committed. But I mustered up all of my will-power and jumped out of bed. I literally jumped, which in hindsight wasn’t the best idea what with the hangover and all. Nevertheless we headed off to church via the metro. Exiting the train station on the escalator we were all wondering which direction the cathedral would be in. However, our questions (or prayers) were soon answered. We all turned around and together breathed a “WOAH.” In front of me was the biggest, grandest and most detailed cathedral I had ever seen. Shapes of people, animals and plants covered the face of the church. Colourful bulbs that resembled fruit burst out of the steeples. The entire structure was brimming with life.
My view of Sagrada Familia emerging from the metro
I however, in my state of exhaustion, was quite content with taking a polaroid of the outside and leaving. The others had other ideas though and wanted to see inside so reluctantly I queued up with them to buy some tickets. We were informed that we couldn’t go inside until 5:30 so after purchasing the tickets we decided to visit another place of Gaudi’s works: Park Güell.
View of Barcelona and some hungover youths at Park Güell
Oh hey there more pretty mosaics
This is the place where I almost cried from exhaustion.
A picture from the outside of the paid area of Park Güell because we were too cheap to actually go inside
Here we wandered around aimlessly for what for me felt like eternity. Not wanting to actually pay any money here we just visited the free areas which in all honesty weren’t very impressive. What I did like was the view of Barcelona from the highest part of the park. But after that point I was what I like to call OVER IT. Hungry, thirsty, tired and hungover I did not want to be walking around some random park. At one point I almost cried, that’s how much I wanted my bed. Thankfully we finally left to get some traditional Spanish paella and non-traditional KFC. Yum yum yum.
With food in my belly I’d finally pepped up a bit but still wanted my bed. I would have gone home there and then if I hadn’t spent 20-or-so euros on a ticket to Sagrada Familia. So I followed along expecting the same old interior that I see in most cathedrals. Boy was I flipping wrong. I don’t know if it was the exhaustion, the hangover, the architecture of the stain-glass windows but when I entered Sagrada Familia I was so overwhelmed that I almost cried. I wish my photos did this place justice but they really don’t. I was physically shaking because of how beautiful it was (it was a very emotional day ok?) If you go anywhere in Barcelona, I urge you to please, please, please go to this cathedral. It honestly has got to be one of my favourite tourist sites in the world. If I wasn’t convinced of Gaudi’s talent, skill and genius after Casa Batlló, I was after stepping through the doors of Sagrada Familia. With winding staircases, vibrant stain-glass and tree-like columns this was one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture I have seen. And to think I was going to give it a miss!
I almost cried again when I saw these stain-glass windows
Stain-glass windows illuminating the interior of the cathedral
Gaudi designed these columns to resemble trees. Wasn’t he clever?
The altar of the cathedral. Oh hey there Jesus under a parachute!
After the cathedral the others decided to go to the beach. I on the other hand just needed a lie-down after what was a roller coaster of a day. Well, at least that was my intention… You see when I arrived at the metro station closest to the hostel I had a change of heart and decided instead that the thing I needed most in life was to visit Sephora and Topshop.
A few hours later, after the sun had set, I arrived at my hostel room carrying a shopping bag and a guilty look. Yes, I explained to the others who’d beat me home, I had just gone shopping instead of having a well-needed sleep. But now was not the time to dwell on silly things because it was time to get ready for our final night out! Once again the plan was to visit a club with the hostel group. It was a great night filled with dancing, drinking, blah blah blah you know the drill.
Our hostel room had been empty except for our group for the whole weekend. So when we arrived back home, with Ana and Alex cheering, we were surprised to find a strange Australian bloke in one of the beds. He was a good sport I might add, as we were talking throughout the rest of the night. To be fair it was only about an hour as we only had that long before we had to rise and shine for our flight. During this time I had a quick little 23-minute snooze. Then it was off again to the airport.
Saying goodbye to Spain as the sun rises
Travel tip #43: When travelling to an airport, make sure to specify to your taxi driver which terminal you want to be dropped off at. We did not follow this rule which resulted in us sprinting across the airport to catch a shuttle bus. In all honesty I don’t know how we did it but we made the flight just in the nick of time. After running our little fatigued legs off we crashed on the plane (and by that I mean fell asleep, the plane didn’t literally crash) and woke up in Paris.
I had an amazing time in Barcelona and I will never forget it, but boy was I glad to be back at what I now call home: Tours. While arriving back in France we all had a little epiphany: we live in France right now. I wish I could say I ended that day with a loooong sleep, but instead I went to class because it was a Tuesday and apparently I’m Superwoman.
Me in the middle of Barcelona
I apologise for this post’s length but I really wanted to document my trip to Barcelona. I tried to vlog (unsuccessfully) so I figured this was the next big thing. Let me know if you want to see more of this kind of thing because I’m heading to Turkey in a few days so I’ll definitely have lots to talk about!
Natasha Sofia xx