After writing the full version of all the collected stories from my four days in Barcelona, I quickly realized that it was just too darn long. So as a result, I’ve broken it up into three parts. I’ll post Part 2 tomorrow and Part 3 on Wednesday. I know you guys appreciate the posts and everything, but I figured a little over 3,200 words (yeah, not kidding) was just wayyyy too much for one day. Enjoy :)
Several months ago at a Geneseo Family gathering, I was doing some catching up with my good friend Ben and we quickly realized we would both be in Spain at the same time. We talked about how awesome it would be to meet up somewhere in España, had a great night out in Rochester with our closest friends from across the state, and promptly forgot about any tentative planning for a few months. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that Ben told me where and when he’d be in Spain and I was disappointed to discover that I’d already planned a trip to Granada with the university for that weekend. Well, due to a lack of travelers, the trip was cancelled on Tuesday and Ben was already on his way to meet his sister, Anna, in Madrid. They were planning to fly to Barcelona on Friday for a couple of days before hopping the sea to meet even more family in Rome. So, determined to make this last month in Spain (only 28 days left here, folks!) as action-packed as possible, I threw together some plans and by Thursday, was on a train to BCN.
Getting to Barcelona has been one of my main travel goals throughout this entire trip. It all started many years ago when I first laid eyes on one of Antoni Gaudí’s amazing works, the Casa Batlló, on a Samantha Brown Travel Channel episode. So unusual, especially given that it had been built at the end of the 19th century.
After arriving by train, I took the subway to Passeig de Gracía, the street on which my hostel was situated. Now remember, there was zero pre-planning involved for this trip and I had absolutely no idea where the Passeig de Gracía was, or if it would be at all interesting. So when I emerged from the subway to see this, you might be able to imagine how extremely happy I was:
|Gaudi's Casa Batllo|
|Again at nighttime.|
My hostel was less than a block away from the Casa Batlló, the building that got me hooked on Barcelona in the first place. As it turns out, there isn’t really a better street in the city to stay on than the Passeig de Gracía. My hostel was in walking distance of some of the best cultural spots around, including Las Ramblas, Mercat de la Boqueria, the Barrí Gotic, and the Plaça de Catalunya. I know that sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo now, but I’ll provide some info about each of these places throughout the posts (get pumped!).
The three nights spent in my hostel were all enlightening and interesting at the same time. All around, it was pretty cheap (only about 20€ a night), but there were some unusual charges here and there. For example, they provided lockers in the rooms but no locks. Of course, you could get them at the front desk...for a fee (3€). Also, you got your bottom sheet and pillowcase for free (what a deal!), but the top sheet would cost you another 2€. The towels, however, were the biggest moneymaker. At 4€ (and these weren’t to keep, mind you), you could enjoy the comfort of a rinky dink towel. So, being the dirt poor, currently non-working, would rather spend her money on shoes than silly amenities person that I am, I sprung for the lock only, given that I had brought along my computer and other gadgetry. So topsheet-less and towel-less, as well as experiencing the lack of other “luxuries” normally provided at hotels (drawers and closets for clothes, cleaning service, your own bathroom, baby shampoos, etc.), staying at a hostel is a lot like camping, just without the pine needles. And thanks to my best friend, Katie, I know how to wrap my wet hair up in a t-shirt. This knowledge proved handy on this trip.
Despite the linen shenanigans, it was a pretty great place to stay. Everyone was so friendly and the staff always remembered my name. The free breakfast was basic (cereal, milk, juice, tea, coffee, toast), but clean, plentiful, and well-organized. And the atmosphere was great, making it easy to make friends with fellow travelers.
After getting situated at the hostel, I spent the rest of Thursday getting over my elation about being in Barcelona and dealing with the onset of overwhelmed-ness. When one does not plan her trip in advance, and the only map she has does not have road names and she is too cheap to buy one with them; and when one is finally in the city that she has dreamed of visiting for years and there is just SO MUCH TO DO, panic ensues. So, with survival instincts heightened and claustrophobia from my to do list getting the better of me, I defaulted into what I know best: shopping.
Side note: Mom and Dad, expect to start receiving boxes of stuff. There’s no way my suitcases will be able to handle my “souvenirs” from Spain. And by “souvenirs,” I mean clothes and shoes.
After finally getting my bearings and ahold of myself, I explored the city a little bit and snapped a few photos (of course).
|The Passeig de Gracia from atop my hostel.|
|Another Gaudi building, the Casa Mila.|
|Can you find me in this picture?|
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