Saturday, April 23, 2011

While it's Snowing: Espana Part 1

That's right, it's snowing right now. April 23rd... and snow. Wow Maine, just wow!

While I'm watching the snow, I figured it's a great time to tell you about my amazing trip to Barcelona last week. Warning: it contains many pictures!

Waiting in Boston
So our trip started off with a two hour bus ride to Boston, the usual wait at the airport, 7 hour flight from Boston to Madrid, getting lost in the Madrid airport then catching our 2nd flight to Barcelona which took another hour and a half. We arrived exhausted, smelly and ready to go. After showering I tried to use my hair straightener (using one of those cool Euro/American power adapters. Now unfortunately I don't have any pictures, but apparently my straightener was not a fan of the European electricity. Despite my adapter, the thing started bubbling! The plastic on the inside of the straightener apparently overheated and bubbles. Making it impossible to completely close the straightener. Now of course I wouldn't even think of continuing to use it the rest of the week (but don't worry, when I did it was fine, just a lot hotter than usual). 
Ordering Tapas

Downstairs of the apartment

Apparently this is food?
The patio at the apartment

That first day we chilled at the apartment for a bit (which was gorgeous!) and went out for Tapas which means "little bite" and consisted of snack sized portions of foods like Potatoes Bravas (potatoes with spicy garlic sauce) croquettes (deep fried potatoes and minced meat) and several other yummy foods. Tapas were definitely our preferred meal while in Spain, we had them just about every day. We roamed the city for awhile and hit the grocery store (which contained a variety of "interesting" food items). The grocery store was the only store we saw in Barcelona that was larger than my living room. No joke, most stores (and restaurants!) were tiny. Things got crowded quickly and it was very difficult to seat five of use at most restaurants. 

Buying Metro tickets
Our apartment building
One of my favorite things about the trip was that we either walked or took the metro just about everywhere. I live in Maine, if you want to get some place around here you have to drive. In Barcelona it felt like everything was at my fingertips. Dying for late night coffee? Walk downstairs and there are 5 places to get some. Need to hit up the bank? There are at least three on your street. Now, I do realize that part of this corresponds with city-living, and that if I lived in a city in the U.S. I would find similar circumstances. However, part of it was that there are SO many stores, shops and restaurants there! People live in apartments where the first floor of the building consisted of shops and restaurants, while the upper floors are all apartments. Just saying, it was cool. 

Outside Sagrada
Inside Sagrada
The next day we went and visited La Sagrada Familia. This was an amazing cathedral that was started in the 1800's and is still being built today. The archetecut was a man named Gaudi who was very innovative in his style. I won't bore you with all the details, but it is gorgeous and very intrecate. Gaudi was also the mastermind behind Parc Guell which we saw later the same day. 

Escalators to Parc Guell
View from Parc Guell
In order to get to Parc Guell you have to climb a bunch of hills and then take 3-4  (I forget how many) outdoor escalators to get to the top. The park is known as the "fairy-tale park" and looks like a scene from a Disney movie. Gaudi is well-known for his use of mosaic tiles. It was amazing the things he made. While there, my brother-in-law Brent and I had our picture taken with a lizard modeled after the park... Drew was too lame to join us!

Brent and me with our lizard friend :)

....Part 2 coming soon! 

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