I arrived in Barcelona on August 31st from Berlin. I was greeted by Miriam (my friend Xenia´s sister) and her friend Christina right when I came outside L4 Alfonso X Metro stop. We introduced each other and walked towards my friends apartment. The accomodation was more than I expected. A fully furnished apartment with a bed to myself! Since my friend now works in Andorra as a journalist, and her roomate Anna was visiting her for the weekend, Miriam and Christina was gracious enough to show me on my huge map of Barcelona the spots that I must see. It is always nice to get the locals perspective of this lovely city.
That night, I took the bus to PlaÇa Catalunya. The place was very busy. Live music playing on the streets and tourist going on their merry ways. I tried to meet couple of my friends from Los Angeles in front of the Cathedral, however they were no show. I realized they were attending a wedding that night. I then walked around Las Ramblas and was amazed by numbers of live statues along the promonade. Since I have been up since 6AM to catch my 8AM flight from Berlin, I called it quits early and went back to the apartment.
The following day begins the month of September. I should really figure out my itenerary at least until October. I spent hours on the internet trying to figure out the best and the most cost efficient way to get to Egypt. I have decided to head towards Morocco on September 9.. then fly from Marrakech to Madrid on the 27th.. then from Madrid to Cairo on the 2nd of October. I think I want to go back to India to do some meditation.. I will try to get a visa in Madrid. It´s all working out! I am just happy to have an itenerary until the beginning of next month….. So for anyone who wants to hang out in those three parts of the world, don´t forget to holler. That same day, I hang around in Barrio Gracia. Gracia was established in the early 17th century and was an indipendent municipality until it was annexed to Barcelona in 1897. Now, the city has many fashionable shops and cafes, as well as many artist living within its boundery. I just walked and admired the architecture, plazas and gardens the district consists of. That night, I met up with my friend Kim and Krack at our friend Cheryl´s hotel for dinner and night of boozing. It was really nice to meet up with friends from Los Angeles in foreign countries. We went towards Barceloneta for some perfectly cooked Paella. Once our stomach were full, we walked along the beach and towards the Olympic Village where we drank and danced the night away. On our way, we passed by four people that were at the same wedding my friends attended.
Sunday.. the perfect day to be lazy. The day was filled of lounging and watching spanish television. At 730PM, I was supposed to meet up with my friend Krack and Kim in front of the Cathedral. I got there at 8PM, 30 minutes late. I then waited and waited, and at 9PM they decided to show up. I thought I was late.. they were even later! Since they were heading to Madrid the following day, we headed to Las Ramblas for some Tapas and Sangria. It was nice hanging out with them here in Barcelona. After two liter of sangria and lots of tapas, we took the metro together to our respected destination, and said good bye.
My friend Xenia and Anna arrived on Monday. I have never met Anna before. My only contact with her was three years ago via email; she emailed me that Xenia´s flight from Dallas to Los Angeles was delayed. I met Xenia while I was traveling in the UK four years ago. We stayed in the same room in a hostel in London. We kept in contact and she even visited Los Angeles three years back. That is another aspect of traveling that I love… you meet so many people from all over the world! Xenia and I talked and Anna went to work. You cannot miss work by Antonio Gaudi while visiting this marvelous city. They are everywhere! Gaudi´s works are unique and distinctive in style. Xenia took me to Park Guell which was commissioned by Eusebi Güell who wanted a stylish park for Barcelonas aristocracy. The park provide masterpieces by Gaudi, and provides an excellent panoramic view of the city. After, Xenia took me where her father eats lunch frequently. It was really nice to meet her father and had one of the most delicious lunches I have had in a while.
As you may know by now, I like to take it slow when I travel. I seriously do not like being ambitious with my day. The next day, after Anna got out of work, they took me to La Sagrada Familia, another famous work by Gaudi. The famous sight was a short walk from their apartment. On the way, we passed by Hospital de Stat Creu i Sant Pau which was another of Gaudi´s brilliant architecture. From outside, the hospital buildings doesnt seem to be connected to each other, however, the architect designed the entire vacity so that all buildings are connecteted underground. The two famous sights, the hospital and the church are face to face with each other via Av. de Gaudi. The construction of the famous La Segrada Famililia started back in 1882 and is not expected to be complete for another 30-80 years. Inside, you can witness the ongoing construction as well as descriptions of the types of stones Gaudi have in mind constructing the church. Underneath the signt, a museum regarding the church and some of Gaudi´s early sketches can be found. After, Anna took us to her parents house, it was an experience to see a typical spanish household. Since her car was parked at her parents garrage, she drove us up the mountains to a lookout point. I must say, it was the best panoramic view of Barcelona. It was magnificent. The lookout provides a view of all the buildings, the three hills, as well as the Mediteranean ocean. To end the night, they took me to a local hangout where family run pizza are served. I have been very fortunate to have Xenia and Anna to show me their hometown! Hmm.. maybe I spoke to soon. This day was quite ambitious.. we did lots.
Dali.. the famous surrealist artist. I woke up quite early and took the train to Figueres (less than two hour ride from Barcelona) where Dali Theatre Museum is located. Dali puts it ¨Where, if not were in my own city, should the most extravagant and solid examples of my art remain, where else? The Municipal Theatre, or what was left of it, seemed to me to be very appropriate for three reasons first, because I am an eminently theatrical painter, second, because the Theatre is in front of the chruch where I was baptized and third, because it was precisely in the lobby of the Theatre that I had my first exhibition of paintings.¨ And indeed it didn´t dissapoint. The museum houses hundreds of Dalis work and how Dali would want it shown. After the museum, I got lost around the beautiful town. I also visited the geourgeous Parc Bosc. and Pl Ernest Lluch. As I waited for the train heading to Barcelona, I just opened a book and read at the Rambla. Once I got back in Barcelona, I walked around Passeig de Gracia with one thing in mind. I needed a travel book in english about Morocco. Looking for a travel book in english in Catalan/Spanish speaking part of the world is like looking for a travel book in Catalan or spanish at Barnes and Nobles in Los Angeles. My search was not a success. Since I have been in Barcelona for six days, I wanted to see if I can walk from the center starting in Placa Catalunya to my friends apartment which is located in Horta Guinardo. The walk took me approximately two hours since I kept stopping and getting lost. But hey, I found it. I must say, it is nice walking this city.
Since I have been in Barcelona, I have yet to jump in the Mediterenean waters. I decided to take it slow and just hung out at the beach Thursday. It was nice to relax and enjoy the ocean breeze at Patja Nova Icaria. After hours of just reading and bumming it at the beach, I headed back and took a nap (that lasted until almost 8PM). For dinner, my friend Xenia and few of her friends came over. It was nice meeting more people from this city.
Friday.. it is the best week of the day for those who are employed. Eh..work? what is that? I´m really digging how Xenia´s apartment has a washing machine to wash my clothes. However, to dry, I must use the sun. For some reason, the clothes dries quickly here. Now that I have fresh and clean clothes to wear, I headed to the center of town and walked around the Gothic Quarter. Walking through the cobbled streets, tall buildings covers the sun. The focal point of Barri Gothic is the Cathedral. I finally made a visit inside. Picasso lived in the Gothic Quarter for nine years. I have to be back at the apartment by half past nine, since we´re going to the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. Carles Buigas designed the fountain in 1929. As the music starts different colors of water dances in motions that is just magical. After we were in awe by the water show, we drove up the hills where a bar overlooking the harbor was located.
Last day in Barcelona was memorable. Started the day late as usual. Again, I headed towards the Gothic Quarter since I needed to purchase couple things before I leave this city. As I sat and people watch in front of the cathedral, a man playing an acoustic guitar was playing series of rock songs that I like.. such as radiohead, foofighters and such.. now he deserves some coins. After; I went into the church to attend a mass in spanish. At night, my friend Xenia, Anna and Alfonso invited few of their friends for a party at their apartment. We drank and sing karaoke all night. It was nice too meet more locals. At 3AM, we decided to hit up a club. One of Alfonson’s friend drove us to Apolo. Apolo is a local club where electronic music is played all night. It was a perfect way to say goodbye to Barcelona.
The morning after, I felt like crap. However, I have a flight to catch to Casablanca. Woke up a bit later than I wanted, and thank God, Alfonso and Xenia drove me to the airport. Man, if I took the train, I would have missed my flight. The trip in Barcelona is different that other foreign cities that I have visited. Why, because I stayed with someone who is actually from there. I met many people who were born and grew up in Bqrcelona. It was really nice of them to welcome me, and take me to places where I would have never gone just by refering to my travel guide. Barcelona is a big city, but it still have a relaxed vibe. It has mountains and oceans surrounding the city which makes quite a beautiful place. Again, I thanks Anna and Xenia for letting me stay at their apartment, and to everyone that I met.
I uploaded my photos from Barcelona, but there is an error loading it to shutterfly. I need to figure out another way to post photos. Shutterfly takes too long. But, Barcelona photos are coming soon.
I arrived in Casablanca four days ago. Have been hanging out in the village called Chefchaouen north of Morocco. This place is just gorgeous. Trekking the mountains tomorrow.
Tags: Pictures, Spain, Travel