Saturday, July 14, 2012

Barcelona Day 1

By Justin Cruz

July 7, 2012

It was our first day in Spain, and as you’d expect. we were excited to be in a new city, and a new country. To start off, we got up and went searching for Chocolate con Churros, the absolutely scrumptious looking breakfast native to Barcelona. On the way, we also saw some green parrot-like birds flying around freely in a park. We went to a few different restaurants and cafes, but not a one had them, so we ended up stopping at a cafe/bar for croissants and donuts. Not the chocolate churros, but still good, and no one was complaining. After a quick trip to the grocery store, where we could not find any peanut butter, and another quick trip to drop them off at home, we set out again to explore Barcelona.

First to a street market in the El Raval district, where we stopped to check out the mostly hand-made merchandise. Not far from there, we found a historical hospital with a garden in its center courtyard decorated with flowers, statues, and a fountain. From there we walked to St. Josep’s Boqueria. It was huge. We wanted to go in, but there was barely any breathing space with the crowd and all, so instead we kept walking, now looking for somewhere to have lunch. We chose Maoz, which was a restaurant I had never heard of, but was supposed to be pretty popular not only in Europe, but in the US too.

We grabbed some falafels to go and ate them on a fountain at the nearby Plaza Real. It was the best first falafel ever. On we went, our next stop: the Catedral in old town Barcelona (the Gothic Quarter). It was a pretty sight from the outside, but we didn’t go in, instead we sat on the steps and listened to the music of nearby street performers. Then, on our way to the next sight, we stopped to at a gelateria/cafe for the best breakfast food in Barcelona: Chocolate con Churros. We had been looking forward to these since the week we started planning our vacation. They were worth the wait. Churros dipped in melted chocolate is the best idea ever.

Then we set out for the alley between Carrer de la Princesa and the Passeig del Born, Barcelona’s (not so) secret boutique lined street. Everything was top quality, and yet it was nearly deserted. Not a bad combination. From there, we walked to Parc de Ciudad, a huge park similar to Golden Gate Park, for some much needed mid-day relaxation before heading on home.

After even more relaxation in our apartment, we went to dinner at Juicy Jones for some great tasting vegetarian food. Then we went to explore the city. We hit Las Ramblas at night, with tons of people walking around, and Mirar de Colon, a huge monument in the middle of a traffic circle near the water. We then found Port Vell, an amazing walkway into the water, lit up beautifully. There were restaurants and shops and a huge movie theater and lovely views of the water. It was a nice sight to end our first day in Spain.

Antibes to Barcelona

By Rain Babauta

July 6, 2012

Today was by far the longest travel day we have had (not including planes). We were setting out to get to Barcelona, Spain. We got up a little earlier than usual to get breakfast at a little pastry store (patisserie). The store also had bread carved out to look like fancy cups and other cool stuff like that. When we each finished our pastries, we set out to the train station.

The first train would take us to Nice Ville where we got on another train to Toulon. There, we got pizza across the street from the train station. We got two cheese pizzas to go so that we could eat on the train ride. It took a long while later to get to our next stop which was in Montpellier. There, the buildings were nice, the sidewalks were clean, and there were nice trains taking people around the city. We walked around the area near the station because we had an hour to kill. On our way back we were slightly hungry so we got pastries and ate them at the station. The next train took us to Figueres where we had to board the next train immediately because the next one arrived around the same time we did.

We finally made it to Barcelona after the very long train ride. We arrived around dinner time and we were all tired and hungry. First we were going to look for a restaurant close by. Luckily, there was one right next door to us! The place was called Sesamo. We ordered pad thai, gnocchi, potatoes, and curry. We were exhausted so we slowly climbed the stairs to the apartment and went to bed.