Last weekend we went on another weekend trip, this time to Spain. I was talking to my grandpa on the phone last week and he asked if I actually go to school? For those wondering the same thing, yes, I go Monday-Wednesday. And they told us that if we don’t attend, they are required to report it to immigration and we could actually be kicked out of the country for not complying with our student visas. In other words, I haven’t missed a class!;)
We flew into Barcelona Thursday morning and checked into the St. Christopher’s Barcelona hostel. This is my second St. Christopher’s experience and third hostel experience and I cannot recommend them enough. This one also had a bar with food and drink specials, free walking tours, and events each night. It was centrally located within the city and walking distance to most attractions, plus it is SO affordable and a great way to meet people. If you book directly on the St. Christopher’s website you get free breakfast in the morning.
After checking in, we changed clothes and headed down to the bar to get things started, ha. After having a few drinks and meeting some fellow travelers in the hostel, we wandered down the street to the Sky Bar. If you read my Munich blog, you know that rooftop bars are MY FAVORITE, and this one did not disappoint. From the roof we could see gorgeous views of the city and the ocean and we sipped some five euro mimosas.
After our rooftop experience, we were pretty hungry. I usually have a very strict “no eating at any restaurant they have in America” rule, but a few mimosas deep some good ole fast food sounded pretty good. In a thirty minute span I ate a cheeseburger from McDonald’s and a crunch wrap supreme from Taco Bell. The McDonald’s tasted basically the same as America, but that crunch wrap supreme was easily the best one I’ve ever had.
That night, our hostel had a live paella cooking class. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish with rice, meat, and other ingredients that they mix together in a giant pan. For only seven euros, we were able to watch him cook and taste test it and it was DELICIOUS!
The next day we explored the city. We started by waking Las Ramblas, which is basically the Michigan Avenue of Barcelona and a huge shopping street with lots of vendors (and overpriced tourist traps). Its definitely worth exploring, but I prefer purchasing things at stores/restaurants more off the beaten path.
We popped into La Boqueria Market and tried some fresh pressed juice, churros (the best), and empenadas. Street markets are another one of my favorite things to do when traveling because I think they are cheap and usually a more local experience.
After snacking at the market, we made our way to the Gothic Quarter. This area of the city has a lot of beautiful architecture, shopping, restaurants, and the Barcelona Cathedral. We picked up a few fans for props and took advantage of every photo opportunity we could find.
After the Gothic Quarter, we wandered to the Picasso Museum (seven euros with a student id). Whether you like art or you don’t, I’d say this is definitely a must see. The building itself was art, and the amount of artwork by Picasso was amazing. They even displayed some of the sketches and letters he wrote as well, which was extremely interesting to me because I just assumed artists created a one and done piece, I didn’t realize they had multiple “rough drafts.”
For lunch, we went to Rosa Negra for some four euro margaritas, tacos, nachos, and the most delicious shrimp ceviche.
After fueling up on some tacos, we went to the Passeig de Gracia. We were able to see where Gaudi lived. There was quite a long line and it was pretty expensive so we decided to skip going in, but the outside was beautiful.
To finish the day, we went to Tibidado for the most gorgeous views of Barcelona. Up until this point, we walked everywhere, but we decided to take a cab to the top of the hill when we discovered taxis in Spain are SO cheap.
That night, we went to Paradiso, a speakeasy bar. To get in, you have to walk through a freezer door into a hidden bar. If going here, we definitely recommend going earlier in the night as the lines were pretty long the later it got. But this place was so cool.
We then went to Opium, a huge club right on the beach. This is probably the best club I’ve ever been to. The dj played everything from Queen to Kanye West and it was the most fun to dance to. Plus after a night of dancing, we were able to walk along the beach. If visiting, you can put your name on the list to avoid paying a cover.
Barcelona is the first place we have traveled to that I have a desire to go back soon. Spain is gorgeous and I would love to work my way from Barcelona, to Madrid, and then down to Seville!