The second stop on my trip through Europe was to Barcelona, Spain. I had been in Europe for about 2-3 days by this point but had been staying in a cute little town Amiens, in Northern France. This is where my friend has been living for the past year. I did not take much time to explore this city as I was ready to get out and meet new people. This is what my focus of the trip, back home I spend a lot of time with the same five friends. Which there is nothing wrong with this, I am extremely fortunate to be lucky enough to have such a tight-knit group of friends. The only thing with having such a tight-knit group of friends is the fact that not many new people are introduced to our group, when we do go out, none of them are too keen on taking the time to talk to new people. I am the opposite, I strive on meeting people and love to be social. After transferring to an entirely online college program and focusing more on graduation and work I have found myself losing this side of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a nice bubble bath, glass of wine and Netflix as much as the next person, but I missed the joy I got out of having a conversation with someone new.
My trip to Europe was meant to push myself out of the bubble that I had created back home. So naturally, the first task to do when arriving in Amiens was to hit the bars! Or in our case, the local Irish pub. Ironic that I was in France going to and Irish pub, I have discovered how much I enjoy the Irish culture. Anyway, the first couple of days were spend fighting the vicious jet lag that was hitting me, mixed with the constant hangover I was nursing. I tried my best to adjust to the time difference in Europe, but being a walking zombie does not exactly ignite the desire to go sight-seeing. This pattern continued into our first day in Barcelona. Our flight left at 6am, and was about 45 mins away from where we were staying. This means we managed to get a whopping three hours of sleep. I managed to sleep on the plane but between my neck cramping and the intense trout mouth that kept occurring it is safe to assume it was not the most restful sleep.
Barcelona was different that I was expecting, I guess when I think back to describe what it was that I was expecting of Barcelona I can’t put it into words. I want to describe my expectations as more of the traditional idea of Spain. The ones you see in the movies, something more similar to what I imagine Seville, Spain to look like. It is clear that Barcelona, as many of the places I visited, we directed towards tourists. I was also unaware, until I participated in a walking tour, that Barcelona is trying to become an independent country from Spain so they have their own flag and many speak Catalan instead of Spanish.
As I struggled to fight off the last bit if jet lag, I also struggled with eating. I would be starving at random times and other times I found myself not hungry at all. I have an extremely sensitive stomach so the fear of getting sick and missing out on a day took over. Leaving me to live off of McDonald’s the entirety of my trip to España. Correction, leaving me to live off of a delicious White Sangria and McDonalds. An extremely sophisticated pallet if I do say so myself. Ha oops!
Barcelona is where I met the awesome Irishman, Timmy, who seemly gave me insight into my life after a mer 24 hours together. Timmy introduced himself to me within five minutes of me walking into the hostel, Mediterranean Youth Hostel. My friend, the one who has been living in France, immediately shut him down. She judged him solely on his appearance and had no motivation to even have a conversation with him, sound familiar? I on the other hand was stoked to be in Barcelona, and his Irish accent intrigued me. We chatted for a bit and then checked into our room. We were staying in an 8 person, co-ed dorm room. Not even five mins after we were settled into our bunks, Timmy came into our room. What are the chances that he is one of our roommates?! I spent the rest of my day chatting with Timmy out of the terrace about Irish culture and about his life. While sitting out there, we met some Chileans and a group of guys from Brazil. To be honest, I was still struggling to escape my awkward, self-conscious identity that I had developed the previous year.
That night we sat at the hostel drinking this disgusting licorice vodka that we had bought from the market on the corner. Eventually we decided to go out, it was a Sunday so naturally, everything was closed. This was a concept I was not used to, Siesta time during the day and Sundays, everything closes down. You already know we managed to take full advantage of the hours of siesta 😉
The bar we figured we would be open, because they are always open, was an Irish pub. Do you see a pattern forming? The three of us sat and drank, discussing the different dating cultures between our countries. After a couple of drinks, the conversation shifted to Timmy not only teaching me the cuss words of Ireland, but also how to properly say them. Even in an Irish pub we managed to get some strange side glances.
The pub was a couple blocks away from our hostel and it was a beautiful night so we decided to walk back. At one point we walked by the Sagrada Família and a wave of joy passed over me. I have no shame when I tell you that in that very moment I stood in the middle of the street with my arms outstretched and squealed with excitement. That is when it hit me, I was walking by a huge monument in our world at 2am after coming home from the bar. Not many people can say they’ve done that.
Here is a picture of the inside, because if you have ever been to the Sagrada Família, you are aware that to get a picture of its entirety is near to impossible without a helicopter and some very expensive equipment.
Timmy left the next day to continue his adventure throughout Europe. J and I continued the next couple of days exploring Barcelona the two of us, we hit the Sagrada Família, Gothic Quarter, Cathedral of Barcelona, and Parc Güell.
Looking at back at my time in Barcelona it makes sense that in a way I was slightly disappointed, I had never been abroad before so I had no real experiences to compare it to. The excitement of traveling abroad consumed my ability to fully take in the culture around me.
When I travel to Spain in the future, I plan to travel to remote towns that cater less towards tourists so that I am able to fully experience the España culture.
The next stop on our journey, Berlin! The future love of my life.