The last destination of Epic Spring Break and we definitely saved the best for last! Barcelona had the perfect mix between old and new. It had a vibrance and passion about it that I absolutely loved! From the culture to the architecture and food everything was pretty amazing.
The first day we were pretty exhausted from our late night flight so we decided to grab some food and head to the beach. Although it was a little chilly for sunbathing, it was sunny and very pretty near the beach. In the evening we had scored some tickets to see FC Barcelona play at Camp Nou. Although they weren’t playing a particularly good team it was pretty exciting just being in the stadium and watching some of the best footballers in the world play!
The next day we decided to take a free walking tour of the Gothic Quarter. During the tour we were able to see some of the most beautiful squares and churches while learning a lot about the Catalan Independence movement and how the city was able to revive itself in the 1980s after it hosted the Olympics. We were also able to get some great suggestions for food and culture from our tour guide that we made sure to check out!
After the tour we were quite hungry so we decided to check out La Boqueria which was an outdoor market with tons of fresh fruit and food. We had to pick up some of the fresh juices and some empandas while we were there. It was hard to eat a lot of fruit while traveling so it was nice to get fresh fruit juices and market food.
After taking a brief siesta in the afternoon we headed out in search of tapas and flamenco to have a traditional Spanish night (at least in our opinions). We found a pretty incredible place near the museum of modern art where we thoroughly enjoyed our tapas and Sangria. The tapas themselves were quite different we had nachos, jalapeno and cream cheese with bread, and very good potatoes.
Afterwards we headed to a Flamenco show at Los Tarantos which featured a guitar player, drummer, and two singers for about 20 minutes and then the dancers came on for about 10 minutes at the end. The only gripe I have about the show was that it wasn’t longer! Flamenco itself is like tap dancing with the passion of the Spanish people. It is definitely a dance form that I would love to learn more about.
The next morning we decided to grab breakfast at a local pastry shop which was quite similar to what we were used to in Milan. It seems cafes, croissants and little baguette sandwiches are popular everywhere in Europe.
Afterwards we headed out to a flea market where I was hoping to replace my poor backpack that had finally given way after being used for years by my mom and dragged all over Europe by me. The flea market was huge, two stories in a giant outdoor pavilion.
Afterwards I headed to the Sagrada Familia, one of the main attractions in Barcelona and I believe it to be Goudi’s great masterpiece (although it is STILL not finished). I had to get my ticket earlier that morning to get in later in the afternoon. So I’m sure during peak tourist season people have to buy tickets far in advance. Regardless, La Sagrada Familia probably wins the award for most unique and beautiful church in my book. And I have seen a lot of famous and beautiful churches these past few months. From the outside it may look like a giant sandcastle, but from the inside it is light and beautiful. Inspired by nature and bible, the church really looks like god’s creation. Although it was pretty expensive to go inside I think it was well worth the money.
In the evening we decided to check out the local bar scene. Several other exchange students who had visited Barcelona had recommended the Dow Jones Bar to us. In this bar the drinks were priced based on demand, like the stock market, and so the prices would go up and down as people ordered. And every once in a while the stock market would crash and the prices of all the drinks would go way down. Needless to say as four business majors we thoroughly enjoyed this place. Afterwards we headed to a Salsa club where we weren’t expecting much but were totally blown away. It was filled with experienced dancers and great Bachata music. Although there weren’t very many young people there we had fun learning from some really good dancers!
My last day in Barcelona I wanted to check out another one of Goudi’s famous creations, Park Guell. It was pretty far from the city center but pretty incredible. It had a view of the entire city from the top and some really cool sculptures and design elements on the inside. But I would say that entering the paid part is not really worth the price so if I could do it again I would have gone in the evening when it is free to enter the most famous parts such as the mosaic wall and lizard statue.
A beautiful day at Park Guell was the perfect ending to my epic spring break adventure. I was able to cross off some incredible destinations from my travel bucket list and make some wonderful memories with friends. I feel so lucky to have had the experience, but I was pretty glad to return to Milan and not live out of a small carry-on anymore!