I’m not a fan of extremely big metropolitans. They are crowded, expensive and usually dirty. I could go the rest of my life without having to smell piss in the Parisian metro or step over garbage on the streets of Athens, all while making my way through the maze of touristes whizzing past each other in every direction. When I booked my flight to Barcelona, I was obviously thrilled to be heading to Spain but it wasn’t a trip where I was counting down the days until I left. I boarded the easy jet plan, happily surprised with the wonderful flight and service for such a cheap price, and as I looked out my window while we were landing into Barcelona my excitement grew. Spain, here I come!
The architecture was phenomenal – I had never seen anything similar to the Gaudi buildings, they were absolutely incredible. The food was delicious, the people were beautiful, the city was clean, and the weather was perfect. I could not have asked for a better weekend! I was staying in an airbnb rented out by two spanish men (hello hotties). The thing I love most about going with airbnb’s instead of hostels is that you get to experience the culture from which ever country you are staying in and you get to see how people from different countries live their lives. However, I’d only recommend doing airbnb’s when you are travelling with someone. All my experiences have been exceptional, but you never know who your host will be and when push comes to shove it’s always good to have a side kick with you. It’s also cheaper when you are with someone else! Don’t get me wrong though.. hostels are a bangin’ time, especially if you are travelling alone and looking for fellow travellers to spend your time with. Our airbnb apartment in Barcelona was right at the end of Las Ramblas (La Rambla) and it was within walking distance to the beach (mucho bueno) and all the main attractions. My first night there we drank Spanish wine with our hosts and I did my best to understand what everyone was saying (the girl I was with also spoke Spanish). I even learnt a few phrases:
Hola – hello
Por Favor – Please
Gracias – Thank you
Dos cerveza por favor – Two beers please
Borracho – Drunk
Super useful, right? My first full day there, I did what any sun whore living in France would do, I went to the beach. I slept, swam, read, tanned, and did my best not to get frustrated by the constant people walking by asking me if I wanted “mojitos, sangria, massage, hair braid – good price.” Maybe if I had gotten a few Mojitos in me they wouldn’t have been so damn annoying. Who knows.
That evening we went to this AMAZING restaurant for my friends – friends 25th birthday. Cheese, fuet, and wine. There is no better combination. I’ve gotten pretty used to the European lifestyle so sometimes I forget that going for dinner at 1030 is not all that common, and neither is returning home at a casual 3 am – later than most bars/clubs in North America are even open, let alone restaurants. The following day, we did what every other tourist in Barcelona was doing – waiting in lines and paying to see over priced monuments, museums and churches. We went to the famous Gaudi designed Basilica – La Sagrada Familia, although we had to buy tickets to go in 4 hours later, and we visited the Guadi park. Both were extraordinary and I’m super happy we went to see them, but my favorite thing about that day was getting gelato on our way home. De-freaking-licious.
It was saturday night and we were absolutely pooped from our busy day of sightseeing, but we are troopers and nothing would be stopping us from going out to celebrate my friends-friends birthday. We got to his apartment just after 11pm. We ate, drank and talked until 2am, we went to a bar to get more drinks until 430am, then we headed to the club until 630am. As I crawled into bed just after 7am I was told that we had actually left the club earlier than normal – welcome to Spain. These guys know how to party.
Three hours later I woke up with a surprising amount of energy; as did most of the other people I was with. The friends whose apartment I crashed at, are from a suburb of Barcelona in Catalunya. We decided to head to a cafe. Not only was I the only foreigner, but I was also the nicest dressed – that’s the price you pay for forgetting to bring clothes for the next day! After drinking our tiny coffees (okay I LOVE cafes in Europe but I do miss having a normal sized coffee), we headed to a Japanese restaurant for lunch, then we cleaned the apartment, watched a movie, took a train back into Barcelona, a metro back to the top of La Rambla, a ten minute walk back to our apartment and finally crawled into bed. All the time in my well dressed and slightly inappropriate outfit from the evening before. I had never slept so well in my life. If there’s one thing I am taking back to North America with me, it’s going to be my energy in the wee hours of the morning. I will be the most lively person at the bars considering they close 4 hours earlier than I am used to here in Europe.
On Monday it was Thanksgiving back in Canada. I didn’t remember this until I was eating a stale rice cake for dinner in the airport waiting for my flight when I got an email from my mom telling me all the delicious food they ate and how much they missed having me there- awesome. The flight was enjoyable once again – props to easy jet. Since it was thanksgiving, I was thinking a lot about all that I am thankful for and as such I was in a pretty good mood despite being tired, hungry and cold as I sat outside waiting 25 minutes for the train to take me to Lyon. Once I got to the Gare Part Dieu I realized how late it was and that the metro system had already stopped. SO, with my big backpacking backpack on, I grabbed a bike from the nearest station (thankful that this bike system exists and that there was a bike left for me to use), wiped the wet seat from the fresh rain (thankful that it wasn’t still raining), and starting to bike the 5km back to my apartment (thankful that there were no hills), as I parked the bike back in a station two blocks from my apartment, I walked away excited to be finally going home. I reached for my keys in my purse when I realized I had left my purse – with my keys, wallet, ipod and passport – inside the basket of the bike. I sprinted back with my backpacking backpack still on looking like a fucking idiot but THANKFULLY my purse was still there.
Cheers to a wonderful weekend in Spain.