Despite the rain, my first weekend in Barcelona was full of sightseeing. Santa Isabel day was very exciting but exhausting, so I spent most of Friday night relaxing. I did go with Nacho and Inaki to watch Guillermo’s futbol game which was fun to see him in action. Some of us girls had big plans to go on a walking tour of Gaudi’s (a famous modernist architect) buildings and explore Las Ramblas, but we woke up to a nice thunderstorm. So, we decided against the tour, but we did not want to waste a free Saturday in Barcelona. The seven of us decided to brave the rain anyway, and it turned out to be a great day. Our first stop was the well-known La Boqueria which is a beautiful fresh air market with any and every food you could think of. Fresh produce, meat, candy, nuts, spices, crepes, and natural juices were yours for the choosing. I bought a cup of all natural blackberry and raspberry juice for 1 euro and it was delicious! Three of the girls bought a nutella and banana crepe, but I’m waiting for Paris to get my share of crepes.
Next, we happened upon Placa Reial which is a lovely square with a fountain in the middle. We stopped for cheap postcards then found a restaurant that one of the host Mom’s had recommended. Bosc de les Fades was a neat café with a nature-like décor. Artificial trees, wood, and dark lighting gave the restaurant a different ambiance. After lunch, we made out way to the Port where we took pictures by the boats and the Christopher Columbus statue. From there we took the metro to Les Arenas, an old bullfighting stadium that was renovated into a shopping mall. The roof was accessible to the public and had a nice view. I came home to a dinner of pizza (I passed on the pizza with anchovies) and Coke Zero. A Saturday night of pizza and TV didn’t seem too different from home.
Luckily, the rain let up some on Sunday. I slept in until almost 10am, and Patricia made plans with another family that my friend, Brittany, is staying with. All 8 of us piled into the van and drove to the Montjuic mountain area. The Olympic Games were held in Barcelona in 1992, so we stopped at the Olympic park and Guille and I took a picture inside the stadium. It wasn’t as big as I expected, but of course, anything to do with sports is interesting to me. Next, we drove to the top of the mountain walked to Castell de Montjuic. The castle was built in the 1700s for defense against sea attacks. From the castle, you can see the Mediterranean to the east and the entire city of Barcelona. It was breathtaking! The city seemed enormous from up there.
We got some good pictures then headed back home for lunch. We had a wonderful steak dish with onions and rice. My goal is to be able to make at least one of their traditional dishes when I get home. We talked about how different the diets of people in Spain and the US are. I will probably be on a health kick when I get home! Later that night, the boys minus Pablo and I went to Nacho’s sister’s house to celebrate his nephew’s 16th birthday. The family was wonderfully welcoming and you would think Americans lived in their apartment the way it was decorated. Also, my family’s clothes are not that different from home. I was offered cake which I graciously accepted. The yellow cake with chocolate ganache between the layers and sprinkles on top was mouth-watering. When I left, one of the older family members kissed me on the cheek like all Europeans do and told me I was guapa haha! I really enjoyed spending time there even if I couldn’t understand everything that was said. It reminded me of being at my grandparents’ house. The weekend was a perfect balance of tourism and the local lifestyle. Saturday, I’m off to Paris!