A Travellerspoint blog

Picasso, Sagrada Familia

Barcelona

So, since we had a relaxing day on the beach yesterday I decided it was time to get out and explore the city. Chris wasn't really as excited about this as I was but I promised I wouldnt spend TOO much time at the Picasso Mueso. It was located in the Barri Gotic, a part of the city filled with medevil architecture. The mueseum had several paintings from the Blue Period as well as The Maids of Honor , forty four cubist variations done in 1950. That was where we headed first. It was a very impressive collection.

After the exhibit we walked through the Gothic quarter of Barcelona on the way to the Sagrada Familia. We stopped for lunch on the way. I selected all of the tapas made with the fresh delicious seafood. I could really get used to eating like this! When we arrived at Sagrada Familia I was blown away. The huge structure is over feet high. Gaudi began working on it in 1882 but was unable to complete it because he was tragically killed in a train accident in 1926. However, they are currently finishing the project and estimated time of completion is 2010. I'm sure I'll be back to see what the finished project looks like!

After this we were quite exhausted from the long walk and hopped on a bus back to La Rambla where I squeezed in some shopping. Chris's tolerance was really impressing me, although I think he probably enjoyed all of the scandelous swimsuits I was trying on. I selected a tiny little plum colored swimsuit that just barely covers the important parts! Perfect for Barcelona!

That night we met up with our other friends. This was our last night in Barcelona. =( But we decided to make the best of it and went to an authentic Spanish restaurant for dinner. Yet another delicious meal complete with sangria made with champagne. I want to stay here forever!

Posted by veranoamor 09:39 Comments (0)

Tapas, Sangria and Flamenco

So, the first full day in Barcelona. Chris and I woke up early, dont ask me how this happened, then headed to the Boqueria Market. As you all know I apsolutely love all farmers makets but this was was truly impressive. Vendors not only had fresh fruit but also delicious smoothies. Kiwi, mango, pineapple and papaya were just a few of the refreshing choices. There were also candy vendors with a HUGE selections of intricately decorated chocolates. I sampled quite a few of these! The market also had a huge fish and meat section, complete with carne de caballo, horse meat- not so appealing. The pet section had farretts, bunnies and lizards. After spending a while here we walked down La Rambla which was just as exciting as it had been the night before. There were all sorts of mimes to get your picture taken with, magicians and even a random naked guy with crazy tattoos stumbling around.
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That afternoon we decided to meet up with the rest of our friends at the beach. We ended up at Barceloneta. I had been told that architecture was a huge part of Barcelona's culture but I didn't expect there to be sculptures on the beach! The port de barcelona was a picturesque harbor with a beautiful view of the sea and marina.
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That night we went out for tapas and sangria! The restuarant we were eating at was full of other travelers, many other americans and some canadians as well. We all dined in large groups so it was nice to be able to meet so many different people and hear about all of their travel experiences. The tapas and sangria were both delicious. Next we went to a flamenco dancing and spanish guitar show. Let me tell you, this flamenco dancer had plenty of junk in the trunk, lol. After several more glasses of wine and sangria we headed back to the hostel. On the way home though I had to make a stop for coconut/banana gilatto. Yummy!--I guess Italy doesn't have a patent on gilatto afterall!

Posted by veranoamor 09:38 Comments (0)

Fancy Cocktails

Barcelona

Well after a long week of classes I was more than ready for my first trip out of Italy. After classes on Thursday my friends and I left for the airport. We were smart and booked our flight through Ryanair, a low fares airline in Europe (highly reccommended). However, the only drawback is that they dont fly out of the main airports in most cities. So, we had to take the metro to the end of the line, hop on a bus and get to Champinio airport which is just slightly outside of Rome. From there the flight was about an hour and thirty minutes. We arrived in Girona, Spain then had to take the Barcelona Bus to the city.

First of all I would like to say that BARCELONA IS AMAZING! After all of the traveling that I have done in my lifetime, I would say that it is the most exciting city that I have ever visited.

We arrived at our hostel (HelloBCN) around midnight and I was very impressed. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly and it was remarkably clean. The only slight problem was that the only room available when I made the reservations was a 6 person room with males and females. Well, our room full of 5 males and yours truly! Luckily my friend Chris was one of them and would hopefully be there to protect me! It was quite the experience. After checking in we headed to La Rambla, the capital of Barcelona's nightlife. We ended up at Placa Reial and went to fun club with lots of lava lamps and comtemporary decor. I ordered a "Gaudi" from the cocktails menu and the "bartender" gave me a weird glance. Apparantly, he's a waiter in the connected restaurant but was just filling in for one of the regular bartenders. So, after about 10 minutes and several failed attempts he presented me with a delicious cocktail! I don't think either of us were sure what was in it but it tasted delicious and we recieved free shots for the wait! Anyway, after a long night (barcelona is known as the city that never sleeps) we headed back to the hostel. We spotted a Middle Eastern Kabob shop on the way back and decided to stop for schawarma. Finally a relief from pizza and pasta! I ordered a doner kabob made with lamb. Watching the employee make this sandwich was like watching an artist complete a masterpiece. He tossed all of the ingredients in the pita bread and wrapped it up in less than 10 seconds, it tasted amazing! Luckily I was tired/drunk enough to pass out when we got back to the hostel because otherwise I think it would have been slightly awkward to share a room with 5 male strangers!

Posted by veranoamor 09:32 Comments (0)

Soccer Fan!

Yesterday I took a trip to Lido di Ostia, the closest beach to Rome. Unfortunately the weather wasn't the greatest but, lets face it, I will still laying out on the Italian coast line. That night I went to dinner with a friend from the program. We had a wonderful traditional Italian meal. Complete with a bottle of Moltepulciano the dinner was delicious. We split a pizza with tuna and sweet onions and I had the seafood salad followed by a succulent piece of grilled lamb.

This morning I woke up early and went to check out the Porta Portese, one of Europe's largest markets otherwise known as the "gypsey market." They were selling pretty much everything you can imagine: breads and cheeses, record collections, jewelry and "antiques" (old garbage). I found a lovely pearl ring from Venice to add to my collection...I figured I deserve an early birthday present and peal is by birthstone afterall. After walking around the insanely large market everything started to look the same. There were rows and rows of vendors and by this time the market was packed. There were people everywhere. After we finally got to an open space and made our way back to metro, I could finally breathe. We rushed back to the residence to get ready for the big SOCCER GAME!

Although I have never been a big sports fan, I have been really looking forward to this and it by far exceeded my expectations. Italians are very serious about their soccer. Today Roma was playing Messina, a team from Sicily. The Olympic stadium was packed with fans and all of them were decked out in red and gold scarves and t shirts, swinging huge Roma flags. It was very exciting! Roma ended up winning the game 4-3 and the second half was very intense. I loved it!

After the game I came home and booked my trip to TUNISIA!! Yes, thats correct, I will be traveling to the coast of North Africa to kick back on the Mediterranean. Tunisia is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert. It is boardered by Algeria to the west and Lybia to the southeast. The vast majority of the Tunisians identify themselves as Arab, (98% of the population is Muslim). Tunisia was formally made a French protectorate and French is the native language. Luckily one of the boys I will be traveling with speaks French fluently! I cant wait for this trip!

Posted by veranoamor 14:57 Comments (0)

Tivoli, Hadriana's Villa and Villa d' Este

Well after my night of fritazzas and musica de italia, it was a good thing that I've mastered the art of expresso. I woke up bright and early for my trip to Tivoli, a hill town north of Rome. First we went to Hadriana's Villa, the largest preserved Imperial villa in Italy. The villa was built for Hadriana during the 2nd Century BC while he ruled Rome. Filled with large roman baths, courtyards and a large pool lined with greek goddess statues, it was quite impressive!

After this we drove into the town of Tivoli for lunch. I ate at one of the quaint outdoor cafes and enjoyed some divine mediterranean shrimp. After lunch we moved on the Villa d' Este which was the most impressive site I've seen in Rome so far. Resembling the beautiful gardens and landscapes I saw at Versaille (paris), this villa was truly an estate. Lush gardens went on forever in every direction we could see, filled with hibiscus, roses, honeysuckels, and lillys. Huge fountains flowed in every direction and the neatly trimmed hudges formed mazes through the courtyard. This is a lifestyle I could really appreciate!

Tomorrow I am heading to Lido di Ostia (the beaches of ostia) for some much needed R&R. Chau!
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Posted by veranoamor 14:56 Comments (0)

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