I had a bout of madness two weeks ago. While talking to a good friend from undergrad, I learned he would be spending a few days in Barcelona before going home to Netanya, Israel. I’ve wanted to visit him in Israel for a while, and I decided this was my chance.
In four years of undergrad, I never did anything crazy for spring break. Now, I had my chance. In an effort to save space, I’ll post about Israel separately (probably tomorrow).
Take a listen to the song I listened to as the plane landed at BCN.
Spain was beautiful. The flight there was pretty uneventful; I think I watched three episodes of Downton Abbey on my computer. The airport in Barcelona is a few miles outside of the city, but Spain is well connected by rail, so I was able to take the train into the Sants Estacio (Sants Station), where I walked to my hostel. I stayed at the Alberguinn Youth Hostel in Sants, Barcelona. It was so typical, urban Europe.
I got there pretty early in the morning, so I couldn’t check into my room right away — they were still cleaning it. I changed out of my airplane clothes and locked my suitcase in the hostel. My friend hadn’t landed yet (he had a layover in Kiev). I walked around a bit to see the city on my own before coming back to grab a quick nap. That night was pretty low key. After my nap, we all went out for a bit of dinner in the Fontana neighborhood. I had a spinach ravioli with bolognese sauce; it was delicious.
We went out for drinks around there, but we didn’t last long. Eli and I were both pretty jet-lagged.
The next day, Eli, his friends Nicole, John and Ray, and I went to the city’s center. We walked down to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya — the National Museum of Art in Catalunya.
After seeing the Museum (it was closed), we walked up to the Poble Espanyol. Poble Espanyol was absolutely gorgeous. I got lost a few times just wandering through the beauty.
Sure, Poble Espanyol was beautiful, but it was only one thing Barcelona had to offer, and only my first real day there. Eli and I split up for a bit, and I walked toward the Mediterranean Sea. I “hiked” up the Park de Montjuic, which lends itself to some beautiful photos of downtown Barcelona and the Sea.
Once I made it to the top of Montjuic, I took the teleferico (the cable car) down to the neighborhood known as Barceloneta. Barceloneta is a small peninsula that blocks in the harbor of Barcelona.
Honestly, I had forgotten Barcelona was a port town. More than 1 million passengers passed through the Barcelona port in 2010. Ok, so this is just an excuse to get to the beautiful port building, so here are some photos.
Not only is Barcelona a port city, it’s also on the sunny Mediterranean Sea, which brings certain beach perks with it. The beaches of the Mediterranean are particularly beautiful.
The next day I had an awesome opportunity to go to a football match — FC Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano. We were in nosebleed seats, but we were in the endzone, and they only cost €27. It was a pretty great deal for the awesome experience it was.
The next day, I got back in touch with my faith. While I’m not the greatest Christian (I’m hardly a mediocre Christian for that matter), I visited the Sagrada Familia. The Gaudi church was absolutely amazing, even though some people in Barça consider it a tourist trap. New York City has several tourist traps that I still love, even though I’ve lived here for a bit. There wasn’t an inch of the Sagrada Familia that hadn’t been planned to the base of the columns — one was a turtle.
I said the Lord’s Prayer, and I’ve honestly never felt more connected to God (Allah, Yahweh, the almighty being, etc.). This trip was one of faithful awakening (sort of), cultural immersion and spontaneity.
Speaking of spontaneity, on my last day in Barcelona, I decided to leave. I got on a bus with Eli and Nicole to Valencia to see the Las Fallas festival. Las Fallas is a festival to celebrate and commemorate Saint Joseph. Valencians work for months on large flammable things made of cardboard and other materials that will then be set on fire. Fire, fireworks, sparklers and poppers are all around the city.
Going to Valencia (a four hour bus ride) knocked me out the next day. I was ready to get on my flight to Tel Aviv to meet Eli there (he teaches in Israel — he was just visiting Barcelona like me). Flying there took me over Italy, and I saw it out the window. I want to go back to the Amalfi Coast.