Day 9: Gaudí
Today was another long day of walking around Barcelona. Good thing I have a pair of trusty flats to get me through all of these adventures. Yay Steve's!
We started off at the market again because I wanted to take pictures. So I brought a tiny clutch for money and my camera so I wouldn't have to worry about being pick-pocketed. So many fun things to look at, it's easy to see how pickpockets could make a fortune here! People being distracted by all the enticing fruits, the gummy wall, the chocolates. Ahhh wonders of the market. Don't get me wrong, I still love the Farmer's Market in Holland, but this place was in a different league of markets. So of course, more fruit smoothies was also a must. I have to say, I got a blackberry one and it was not very good. So I had to get a different flavor directly after to wash away the bad blackberryness of the other one. Strawberry/rasberry/pineapple was a much better combination. But here's some of the pictures and I can't wait to go there again with my family and Nate when we go to Barcelona!
So after the market, we went back to the hostel to get some stuff and headed off for another day. My friends Alexa and Sarah left to go to Valencia, so it was just Nina, Nicole, and myself. We found another market, only this market contained furry little bunnies. I wanted one, but I don't think my host family nor customs/immigration would have appreciated my new little friend. Thus I had to restrain. We also found a souvenir shop that was called "Souvenirs Laura" so of course I had to take picture by that. Random things you find.
We wanted to see some of the Gaudí architecture and headed off down Las Ramblas, the street with some of the Gaudí stuff. I wish I would have known more about Gaudí before I went to Barcelona, but I was still very impressed with his works. Most of his works are located in Barcelona, but there are a few more outside of Barcelona as well.
We got to the first Gaudí house but decided not to go in because it was a super long wait. We continued down the street and passed some of the designer stores, like Burberry and Chanel. This is the first time I've seen these stores in Spain, and I guess I haven't explored Madrid enough since I'm positive they're probably there as well. But we made our way to the next Gaudí house, Casa Milá and the wait wasn't terrible, so we decided to go in.
I'm so glad that we went in! I used my Universidad de Alcalá student card and even received a nice little discount. The house was very interesting and set up as if someone lived there. It was fun walking around the complex but the best part was the roof. I'm not exactly sure what the statues are supposed to be, but they were cool to see up close. We also got a nice view of La Sagrada Familia, Gaudí's church in Barcelona.
After the Gaudí house, we went to see La Sagrada Familia. It was enormous! They've been working on it for I believe over 100 years, and if you can't tell from the picture, they're still working on it! I was told that the original blueprints that Gaudí made were destroyed during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, so the final product probably won't even be what Gaudí had envisioned. Bummer. But after the enormous church, we headed off to see the Arc de Triomphe in Barcelona. It is supposed to look like the one in Paris, and I assume that the one in Paris is better looking since it's the original. My friends and I joked that this one was the knock off but whatevs.
So I've come to the conclusion that Barcelona wants to semi-be like France since it has this french influence in the language and also has an arch like France's. News flash Barcelona. You are still part of Spain, and thus should take pride in that. I had a discussion with my director about Barcelona and she says that she can't support their football team or the city for that matter because they don't take pride in being Spanish. Come to think of it, I never once saw a Spanish flag during my time in Barcelona. I guess the equivalent would be having New York say that they'd rather be free from the United States. Analogous situation (haha Analytical with Herrick), no but still frustrating for some Spaniards. I guess seeing as I love the Spain, I find it hard to not want to be part of this country so rich in culture and history, but I guess this problem goes way way way way back and will probably continue to be a debate in the future. Oh Barcelona, you and your desire to be different.
But back to Semana Santa adventures. After seeing the Arch, we headed back to the hostel to collect our things and then went off to a different hostel. This hostel was further out of town and a little harder to get to. We had to take the metro, but the metro was "being repaired" when we were there, so an announcement came over the system in Spanish that said that we had to get off the train and get on a bus. Good thing my friend Nina is good at Spanish and understood this. So we took the bus to the area that the metro would have stopped at and found a sign that told us where our hostel would be. Lies. Lies lies lies. The sign sent us off in the wrong direction but we did eventually find the hostel and it was really nice!
That night we were kind of tired and decided to hang out around the hostel and just chill. We were excited to hit up the beach the next day!