Barcelona I (Days 16 & 17)

Friday I had exams in both French phonetics and lecture… yuck!  At one point during the exam I actually caught myself counting in Spanish instead of French.. whoops.

Afterwards I ran (literally) home (and made it in 10 minutes between jogging and the fast metro) to drop off my books and grab my suitcase to run to the airport to leave for Barcelona for the three-day weekend.

It was good to practice getting to the airport and see what it will be like when I leave at the end of the month.  Hah!  When I finally got there, I was thrilled that I still had just under two hours to get through security and to my gate.  I was really nervous about getting lost or having something go wrong.  I got off of the train and when I got to the exit, the gates wouldn’t let me out!!  I had used my metro pass to get into the RER (a different train from the regular subway system) and it worked, but when it was time to exit, it didn’t work.  After about 5 minutes of being stuck, I finally was let out (there wasn’t anyone monitoring the area and the help button I kept pushing wasn’t working).

Mario on the shuttle to get to the plane

It was nice going through security, they don’t make you take off your shoes here!  At my gate there were some interesting characters.  There was a guy dressed up as Mario (still no idea why), and his friends kept playing the theme song for the video game on their phones, and there was a girl who was blindfolded sitting with her girlfriends; every time the flight crew came on over the PA to make announcements, her friends would make a bunch of noise so she couldn’t hear where they were going.

Columbus Monument

It started raining right before we boarded (we had to run through it with our luggage to get to the plane), so after a one-hour delay, we left.

Columbus Monument

When I got to the Barcelona airport, I took a train to another station to meet my friend Clay.  Poor guy had been waiting for me for almost two hours by the time I finally arrived.  We got some food, took my stuff to his apartment, then took a walk around to see some of the sights.

Today we had Turkish food for lunch; I had doner kebap which was Turkish bread with salad, tomato, onion, sauce, and goat’s cheese.  We followed that with some great gelato at a store near by.

Sagrada Familia

After that we went to see the Sagrada Família basilica, which seems to be the number one must-see place in Barcelona; it’s on every flyer for this city.  It was designed by a famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí.  It was a very very different, fascinating building.  And they’re not finished building it!  They started in the late 1800s or early 1900s and wont’ be finished until the 2020s!  We went inside of it and climbed the towers.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia

After we were done there, we went to Park Güell, a park exhibiting Gaudí’s work.  It was really beautiful, up on a hill with a fantastic view of the mountains, city, and ocean.

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia: the front
Sagrada Familia: the back
Sagrada Familia: sculptures on the back

Sagrada Familia: sculptures on the front
Sagrada Familia: view from one of the towers

Sagrada Familia: view down the stairs!
Sagrada Familia
Park Güell: entrance
Park Güell: my friend Clay and me
Park Güell: view from highest point in park
Park Güell: view of Sagrada Familia

Park Güell

calamar a la plancha

When it was time for dinner, I wanted to try some local food so we found a restaurant called Centro Aragones de Barcelona on our walk home and went there for dinner.  It was a dinner full of laughing, but not one that left us very full of food… it wasn’t very good!  It was three courses; all of us had fideua for the first course, then I had calamar a la plancha for the second, and “cheesecake” for the third.  Blah.

Clay’s roommate’s second course.  We have NO idea what it was.  It seemed like an organ from something.