I would just like to preface this post by saying that I no longer think blood flows through my veins…it’s strictly sangria at this point. Sooooo there’s that.
So on the way to Barcelona we stopped in Carcasson to have lunch and explore a old medieval castle while it was severely down pouring. We had to walk back to the bus in the rain and get fantastically wet for the next 3 hours to Barcelona. But once we got to the hotel it was shining bright again. Our hostel was actually in prime location because it was very close to Plaza Catalonia (maybe not how you spell it idk) which is where a lot of the major streets intersect.
After we got settled we had the rest of the night for free time. We wanted to wait to eat dinner until 9 because we had a pub crawl that night but we were all starving so part of the normal group of us (me, Cody, Erik, Emilie, Libby, David, Carly, and Adrien) went to search for food. We went to a place right on the corner of the block and got our first paella. I got the negro one that had squid ink in it and I thought it was the best out of all of them actually. But we were a little skeptical about how “authentic” it was because it was pretty dry and we thought paella was suppose to be a little more soupy. But we ate it anyways and went back to the hostel to get ready for our pub crawl.
Barcelonaian people are nuts. They usually don’t eat dinner until 10, 11, and sometimes you see people eating at midnight! And they don’t start going out until 1-3am! I’m usually a grandma when it comes to how late I stay out because I get tired pretty early but in Spain, that’s not an option. You must stay out late late in order to see any people out in the clubs and bars. So we didn’t leave until 10, got to the first bar at 10:30, watched some of the Argentina vs. Holland game and continued from bar to bar to bar to club. It was amazing how many people were just getting into line when we were leaving the club at 3am…
And then yes, we did get up for our tour of the city at 8:30am. It was a little bit of a struggle bus on the actual bus but we got through it and toured the city with our director who sounded like Eyzma from Emperor’s New Groove. Half of the tour was on the bus and then we would make stops and go explore. She took us down Las Rambles which is the most expensive shopping street in the city which also looks like a human river because there are so many people walking down it, she showed us Casa Batllo which is a house designed by Gaudi who is the most well known architect in town. We learned that most of the Barcelonaian people speak Catalan as apposed to Spanish. So if you make an effort to speak Catalan to them they appreciate it. We stopped at Park Agüel which was absolutely amazing. Beautiful colors of mosaic benches and the famous mosaic salamander statue.
Then we hopped back on the bus and stopped at the Sagrada Familia Basilica. Gaudi was building this basilica when he died in 1929 and it’s still being finished as we speak. Mike even said ever since he could remember it’s been under construction, even when he was a little boy and took school trips here. It’s suppose to be finished in 12 years but my guess is it will take longer as it will bring tourism back to the city when it’s finished because everyone will want to see the final product. As for the actual basilica, my favorite of all of them so far hands down. It was something else; so creative and so much meaning behind everything sculpted into the building. It was cool to see the new additions next to the original. All the material is limestone but the original part was worn and dirtier then the new constructions so at some angles it didn’t even look like part of the same building. After the construction they are suppose to be cleaning the older side to make the building look more as one. We just walked around the outside because it was 17€ to get in which was not included in the tour but that was good enough for us.
Next stop was the Hill of Montjuïc which is where the 1992 Olympics was held. All of the stadiums were still standing and most are being repurposed. We were able to stop on the hill and take pictures from the balcony looking area. Barcelona is absolutely stunning as Mike would say. They are reconstructing the port due to all of the traffic it gets. In 3-4 years it will be able to hold 16 cruise ships at one time which is huge. Due to the Olympics, the beaches are man made. They made them for the games because before that it was all industrial parks. They did a fantastic job all those years ago because the view was phenomenal.
We ended our tour in Plaza Catalonia(the plaza close to our hostel) and walked a few blocks to a tapas bar where we were all going to have lunch on Mike. Since he keeps on saying how much he LOVES this group, he wanted to treat us to tapas at a place where him and his dad usually go. Thinking back to the Monte Carlo night, he told those of us who signed up for that excursion to go in first. Since we went to the casino on a Monday, all the machines were closed and their was no cover change so Mike talked to EF and asked if he could use that money we paid for for the Monte Carlo entrance fee to buy us drinks at lunch instead. So that’s what happened. We had beer and sangria on EF and tapas on Mike. The sangria was delicious and the tapas were mouth watering. The first dish they brought out was called papas bravas and it was heavenly. Think Taco Bell cheesy fiesta potatoes times 100. They were so incredibly delicious. Then a few plates of different things on pieces of bread came out and those were delicious as well. Tapas with a massive about of sangria was an interesting combination to have before our bike tour next…
Yup we went on a bike tour after that. Since there was so much sugar in the sangria my stomach was hurting pretty badly but we biked along the beach and as we went along it got better. Still stuffed and a little tipsy, we all wanted to go back and nap our little hearts out which is exactly what we did. We napped for 2 hours and woke up just in time to get ready to go to the shots bar that’s famous around here. Cody had to literally drag me out of bed again because I was not feeling like getting up but I’m glad I did because it was a lot of fun.
We went to a pub next to the bar first and had some cocktails and free popcorn. No one was in the bar except us because it was only 10:30. The shots bar didn’t even open until 11. So we used our time wisely and played beer pong and the new game they we learned, tyradactl. It’s hard to explain how funny it is through words but we were rolling on the ground laughing so hard! We finally made it over to the shots bar where they had 570 different shots all only costing 2€. It was insane. We were some of the first people in there and asked for some pretty weird shots. We had ones that were on fire, had whipped creme on top, candy in them…any shot you could think of, it was there. The bartenders weren’t as friendly as you would’ve thought they would’ve been but we didn’t stay too long because we both thought that 2€ shots was bad news if you stayed long enough, you could get sucked into trying so many of them. I had a Boy Scout and one that you sucked vapor…very weird but such a cool experience.
Thankfully the next morning we didn’t have anything until 10:30 which was an optional Mike had organized; a paella cooking class. Of course we were interested and you got sangria while you were cooking. Probably one of the best decisions we made on the trip.
We started out at La Boceria which is the heart of Barcelona. It’s a world famous market with everything you could imagine. The colors of the fruits, veggies, fish, meat, spices, eggs, and even candy were mesmerizing. We met the chef (who has been on some Russian cooking shows) there and picked out the ingredients for our paella. Seafood seafood seafood, woah. He to taught us how to pick out the best items at the market, what to look for, where the local produce is, even how to smell different things in the market and facts about everything he could think of. I fell in love with this market. I wish we could’ve spent more time here but we got our ingredients and walked to his kitchen/restaurant. There we started off with sangria and cleaning the ingredients. Bread, tomatoes, zucchini, onion, lime, fish, calamari, prawns, and peppers were all cut, cleaned, cooked and prepared. We made tapas first which included bread, tomatoes, cooked little sweet green peppers, cheese, and an assortment of salami tasting meats and again with those papas bravas but this time we made sure to ask how to make them! I am definitely making them when I get home because like I said before, they are delicious.
So the correct way to eat our tapas was like this:
1. Take a slice of bread and rub the inside of a halved tomato on one side of the bread to get the tomato juices on the slice
2. Sprinkle a little oil and sea salt on the slice
3. Stack anything you want in the slice, for example, bread, cheese, salami, pepper or bread salami, sausage, and pepper. Any combination was delicious to be honest.
After our plates were whipped clean, we were all a little more full then we were suppose to be and our sangria cups were working on empty but the chef started preparing the paella. He taught us the meaning of the word which is broken down into pan and her. So the word translates to a dish for her or to cook for her. Paella for the Spanish is like BBQ for Americans. It’s a chance for the men to cook a meal for their wives, gather with groups of friends and have a good time.
So we prepared the paella with instructions from him along the way, I even got to clean a calamari! The smells were the biggest item I can’t even begin to describe. It was unreal, I wish I could bottle that smell so I could have it anytime I wanted. After all of the ingredients were mixed in we had to let it sit for 15 mins.
At that point our glasses were empty so what did the chef do…teach us how to make more sangria! Bad news with this group haha we made ours pretty strong but oh so delicious. And even though we were all still very satisfied with the tapas, we managed to demolish the huge pan of paella as well. It’s one of those few times that you know you’re soooo full but you have to keep eating because it’s just that delicious. I wish I could describe it in a better way but I just don’t to have any words for it. Unbelievably tasty won’t even come close to how good it tasted.
So we finally finish our meal and headed to the beach. We were only there for about an hour and managed to sit next to the rudest girl on the beach. She was smoking and listening to music and would not stop complaining about how one of our towel’s corner was on her towel….hello lady! This is a pretty packed beach, what do you expect?! Libby may or may not have sprayed her a little (maybe on purpose) with her wet hair but then she decided to throw sand on us…we just laughed because what else can you do at that point ha.
I’m not sure if it’s technically legal but tops were optional apparently on the beaches here. Quite a few ladies had it allllllll hanging out. Dear Ladies, if your boobs sag further then your first fat roll…going topless probably isn’t your smartest idea. Sincerely, everyone else on the beach who has to look at you.
But our day still wasn’t over. We headed back to the hotel to get ready for our Flamenco & Sangria excursion at 6 where we got more sangria 😛. The show was phenomenal. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen anything like it. Their feet were moving so quickly and they were stomping so loud. If you’ve never seen it, I would suggest youtubing a video of it because it really was amazing to watch.
After our two or three more glasses of sangria, we left in search of food. The market supposedly closed at 8 but we walked by and there were still a few stands open. We found some empanadas and scarfed them down. And because we were walking around so much, I broke another pair of scandals (don’t worry mom, not my new back ones ha)…welp that just means less I have to pack and bring back ha.
So guess what night it was at the hostel rooftop when we got back…free sangria and 1€ tapas! More sangria more sangria!! Woooooo told you I was running off of sangria rather than blood. So we hung out on the roof a little before walking to the Fountain of Magic or the Fountain of Colors, it’s called both. Mike said he likes this one better than the treve fountain that we didn’t get to see in Rome because of the scaffolding and he was right in my opinion. This fountain was beautiful and did a musical show every 20 mins. It made me appreciate people who actually design these things, must be a hell of a job.
Both of us being exhausted, there was still a club we had heard about that was suppose to be unreal and the best in Barcelona called Opium but it cost 20€ to get in. A group of us had planned to go but then people started to back out because that’s around 30$ just to get into the club. I really wasn’t feeling it but me, Emilie, Erik and Cody decided to walk there, see how much cover was, somehow try to get in for free and if not just sit on the beach because the club was on the beach anyways. We ended up getting off the metro, grabbing some promotion cards from people who were handing them out and realized they just handed us free entrance tickets!! We thought it was a joke but we went up to the bouncer and he said yep, free for the first 500 people. So we scooted our little butts right in there FOR FREE!! I will admit when I’m wrong and I was wrong about this place, it was not like any other club we hazard been to, it was c-r-a-z-y. A lot bigger then you would’ve thought and so crazy fun. Boys ordered a couple drinks which were stupid expensive but it was an experience right?? Ha and then we danced for a little. For not wanted to go, we sure ended up having fun. It was definitely worth fighting through the tiredness.
We left around 1 when people just started showing up. The bouncer said it usually doesn’t get good until 3am…no way was I staying out that long but I was glad we stayed as long as we did. We ended up walking on the beach for a while and finding a cab home. Such a fun day/night and what a way to end our first visit in Barcelona!! I have to say, out of all the places we’ve visited so far, Barcelona is my favorite. But we still have one more stop, Madrid here we come!
The wifi isn’t too great here so I can’t post any pictures but I will later if I get a better connection…