This past weekend I went to Barcelona with my roommates and seven other NYU Madrid students. We left early on Friday morning on Vueling airlines, which I highly recommend! My six other roommates for the trip and I arrived at our beautiful apartment that we rented on Airbnb. Our room was so pretty, just as it looked in the pictures online, but sadly I wasn’t able to take pictures of it before it got real messy. It was seriously better than my apartment in Madrid. We had air conditioning and basically Temper-pedic beds, anndd the neighborhood was lovely, and felt “authentic” whatever that means.
After we got settled in our apartment we went on a walk from Gracia (our neighborhood) to central Barcelona. We walked by two of Guadí’s works of architecture, pictured in the top two photos. When I arrived at Barcelona, I honestly knew nothing about Guadí’s work, but I slowly learned little by little from my friends, google (duh) and from looking at his architecture. And now when I hear his name in my classes, I’ll actually understand what’s being said about him. One my professors today was saying how the aristocracy in Barcelona decided to spend money on beautifying their city in the early 19th Century, instead of spending it on themselves, which is how Guadí’s work got funded. How thoughtful.
We mostly passed by some important areas, but didn’t go into the the Cathedral of Barcelona, or La Perdera because we’re on a tight student budget, ok? However we did pay the student price to get into La Sagrada Familia, which was definitely worth it! It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It’s the most unique Cathedral ever, and stands out against the many Cathedral’s that one tends to visit in Europe, though St. Paul’s is till one of my favorites.
We went to La Sagrada Familia on our second day in Barcelona, and that day we also went to La Platja de Barceloneta, aka the beach. And you better believe Nicki Minaj’s song “Starships” was stuck in my head all day.
At first I was indecisive about going into the beach water. I assumed the beach would be packed with tourists or worse, pick-pocketer’s (which there probably were some), and that it would not be enjoyable. But once I got on that beach and after a morning under the hot sun, I just had to go in. Also I’m from the beaches of Long Island, so I had to really. It felt amazing to go in the Mediterranean Sea, in Europe, right by Barcelona and all of it’s beauty. Definitely the highlight of the trip.
The next, and final day of our weekend trip was a more relaxed day. We went to the Parc Guëll and were overwhelmed with the beauty of the park. There were a crazy amount of tourists, so much so that it was hard to take a decent picture without someone ruining the shot. And I didn’t imagine it as a park that would be in awe of its architectural design, but more of a playground park, ya know? But regardless it was still beautiful and just as amazing as all of Gaudí’s other works.
By the end of the trip, I was thoroughly impressed with Barcelona’s beauty. Though I would not want to live there. There’s just too many tourists and pick-pocketer’s, I didn’t like the metro system, and every other restaurant seems like a tourist trap. By the end of the trip I can honestly say that I missed Madrid’s simplicity and atmosphere, but I probably missed it because it has already become like a home to me.
So first European trip outside of Madrid, check ✔