This past weekend Cesar and I took a little three day trip (an early birthday present from Cesar to myself) to the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain and wow, I can not say enough wonderful things to describe this wonderful place! Going into the trip I had no idea what to expect but if I had expectations then Barcelona would have far exceeded them. The weather was perfect, the city was clean, the people were nice, and it had Starbucks and Skittles in every neighborhood. What more could you ask for? I hated to leave but I'm already trying to figure out a way to go back someday. Here are a few snapshots from this weekend's Barcelona trip:
^ The beaches of Barcelona were a nice little tease for the upcoming Spring Break week. We probably could've spent all weekend next to the water with our toes in the sand.
^ Sadly Rome doesn't have Starbucks but Barcelona had plenty! I could've cried I was so excited. Is that pathetic of me?! I'll admit it; I went to Starbucks 3 times this past weekend but only because I don't know the next time I'll see it again and 2 months is too long ha. Cesar and I grabbed a couple of coffees Friday morning for our walk to the beach. I felt strange drinking hot coffee on the beach with my tights and boots on.
^ Ahhh Sangria: the nectar of Spain. It's basically deliciously refreshing fruit juice with a little something else and it is amazing. We tried Sangria for the first time on Friday night with our Paella (a Spanish seafood and rice dish) and then ordered the yummy drink again Saturday evening on the pier along the beach as the sun went down. People watching for days!
^ This is Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona relatively close to the beach. We stopped to take a look at the fountains which actually reminded me a lot of the villa fountains I'd seen the previous weekend in Rome.
^ [Vincon] This place is SO cool! I would buy everything inside if I could. It's basically a large home furniture and accessory store with products from around the world by artists, designers, and architects alike. Cesar and I had a lot of fun in the furniture showrooms upstairs if you can't tell...
^ Connected to the Parc de la Ciutadella is a very long, linear park that reaches pretty far to north Barcelona at the base of the Park Guell mount. This is Spain's 'Arc de Triomf'.
^ But of course you can't visit Barcelona without stumbling upon a few Gaudi projects. These two cooky buildings are Casa Mila (left) and Casa Batilo (right) along the main shopping avenue of Barcelona. Gaudi also designed the Segrada Familia Cathedral of Barcelona.
^ Saturday was probably my favorite day because Cesar and I rented a couple of bikes. This adventure began with an intense uphill climb to Park Guell for an overlook of the city. The view was worth ALL of the pain though. Barcelona is a very bike-friendly city with a bike-sharing program, bike rentals, and bike lanes on almost every street. That's probably the best way to see everything you want to.
^ Our Airbnb apartment was right in the middle of the Gothic Quarter (old city) very close to the beautiful Barcelona Cathedral and "happening" city center. The narrow streets that branch off of the main roads were a lot of fun to explore. Something that really impressed me about Barcelona was the cleanliness. This place was spotless!...Rome needs to take some lessons.
^ A little midday break at the apartment with some pomegranate and hot tea.
^ The Barcelona Cathedral (left) and Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion (right).
^ El Ciclo is a very cool little shop that we stumbled upon and rented a couple of bikes. They also make lamp fixtures out of old bicycle parts. This guy on the right was a bit creepy ha! El Ingenio is a festival goods shop that sells huge festival heads and masquerade whatnots. They've been around since 1838!
^ At the top of Park Guell overlooking the city.
^ The Barcelona Pavilion is in the Olympic Park sector of the city. This was the little piece of architecture that I really geeked out over and it was surreal to be able to see it in person. Well done Mies!
^ The overlook onto the city from Montjuic Park. We did an awful lot of climbing on Saturday (the hill in the distance is Park Guell which we had visited earlier in the day). At night the fountains below light up in all different colors and it's pretty amazing.
So there you have it! Barcelona was incredible and while I won't say that I like it better than Italy after one tiny visit it was definitely a refreshing change of scenery and culture. Hopefully this past weekend wasn't the only time I get to see this lovely place. Until next time Barca!
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