Friends; Gaudi; Beaches; Food; Youth Hostels; More Gaudi; & old age.
These are my friends. After traveling for just over a month it was refreshing to have them sitting across from us for meals and drinks (or photobombing us left and right). More than just familiar faces, what I had missed was the common humor and free wheelin’ conversations without worry of offending, or being lost in translation. Thank you guys for coordinating your vacation with us!
Our days consisted of a windy visit to a beautiful beach,
a trip to Park Guell,
drinking at a punk bar,
eating more delicious food,
shopping & markets,
and a lot of wondering the city by foot. In other words, Tourism 101.
The top of our tourist priorities is always food. One the most traditional tapas bars in the city is El Xampanyet, and everyone seems to know it. Once through the door it’s as if we were attempting to push our way to the stage at a sold out concert. A blessing from the food gods is the only explanation of how we found ourselves seated and at the mercy of a gracious Filipino waiter who brought out all sorts of his recommended tapas. He ended our night with complimentary liquor to dip our sweet bread in, as well as some home brewed house Cava!
With our friends off to Paris, we were off to a hostel where we would eventually (& intentionally) miss our flight out of town and end up staying one night too many.
But first the good. Sagrada de Familia.
A beautiful basilica designed and started by Antoni Gaudi, this place is really something to behold. Building began in 1882 and is projected to be finished by 2026. The architecture and design are somehow both traditional and modern, introducing earth-centric concepts to a traditionally Catholic holy space. Gaudi designed an absolute masterpiece and we will have to come back in 2026 to see the finished product!
Following up with more Gaudi, we returned to Park Guell after finding out admission is free if we arrived before 8am.
Back at our Youth Hostel, we met a handful of travelers, one 26 yr old who had been traveling for 5 months starting in Southeast Asia then made his way through Nepal and was now in Europe before heading home to Baltimore. Another was a 19 yr old woman with an old soul from Detroit, who got a lot of slack for that from fellow Americans. There was an incredibly genuine solo traveler form Utah, and another beaming, kind hearted Baltimorean ginger hippy whom we were fortunate to befriend, as well as a woman or age who was the picture of an up-and-coming career-oriented New Yorker enjoying every minute of her life with a smile and a laugh. Meeting other travelers continues to be one of my favorite parts of this trip.
And now the bad. With thunderstorms forecasted for the entire week in our next destination, we opted to skip our Easy Jet flight and instead stayed in Barcelona two more nights while we figured out our next course of action. As much as our extra day proved to be great, discovering a new neighborhood and doing some shopping, the final night was one too many. Let me just say: avoid the hostel-organized pub crawls. I’m too old for that shit.