Last week my friends Sam, Shelby, and I went to Oktoberfest in Germany. Since we were taking a bus (yes, BUS… more about that later!) from Barcelona to Munich, we decided to make a trip out of it. So after waking up at 4:30am- or not sleeping for fear of not being able to get yourself up, if you’re me- the three of us flew from Madrid to Barcelona. We got there early in the morning without a plan and without any idea of how to get around. All part of the adventure….
After spending longer than I’d like to admit walking around the airport looking like tourists, we found a place to get free city maps. After deciding on the main places we wanted to check out we made ourselves look presentable in the airport bathroom (we got very good at changing and doing our makeup in random bathrooms this weekend) and were off to navigate Barcelona’s incredibly confusing metro system!
First stop: Sagrada Família. If you have never been here, you need to go. I was lucky enough to check it out on my trip to Spain in high school but we never got to go inside, so Shelby and I were determined to make that happen. When we arrived we were overwhelmed by this incredible basilica designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, a fellow vegetarian who is famous for his modernista style. Even though it is still unfinished after nearly a century and a half, the Sagrada Família is already on the UNESCO World Heritage List. After asking around, we found out that the ridiculous amount of people standing around the church were actually in line to get tickets, so we made our way into that line ourselves. Sure, if we planned ahead we wouldn’t have had to wait in line for forty minutes, but I kind of loved the fact that we came to the city with an open-ended outlook. And anyway, it was worth the wait. The inside is extravagant in a not-too-gaudy kind of way with incredible stained glass windows and carvings that will make your jaw drop. Pay the 15 euro to get in; you won’t regret it!
Next up: Parque Güell. This one was kind of a failure. I was so excited to return to this beautiful park with its intricate, colorful mosaics but it didn’t exactly work out that way. On the way out of the metro, my flip flops fell apart and I had to buy a pair of tacky ones that say “Barcelona” all over…. hello, tourist! Then we walked about seven hundred miles UPHILL to the top entrance of the park. Okay, I may be exaggerating a tad about the milage but it was definitely a hike. When we finally got to the top we were treated to the most incredible views of the city! There was also this hilarious street performer dressed all in animal print who was singing and growling at us, so that’s a plus I guess. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go into the cool, Candyland-resembling part of the park (the best part) because they make you pay, which we didn’t have to do in 2011 or whenever I was there last, and that point we were all strapped for cash and time.
Last, but not least: Mercat de St Josep aka La Boquería.Shelby’s mom had been here before and urged her to check it out. I’m so glad we did! The markets are the always the coolest shopping experience when you travel, no matter where you go, and this was no exception. Fresh juices, croquetas, chocolates, and empanadas were some of my favorites! We got ourselves an entire lunch because everything is so inexpensive, and so delicious. We even came back and bought lunch on Monday when we returned from Munich before heading back to Madrid!
Then we walked right around the corner to Hard Rock Café Barcelona, our meeting place for the bus, and were off on our trek to Germany! Overall, Barcelona is pretty cool but my heart’s in Madrid. OH and for the record, I never asked “what’s Gaudí?” My friend did and I was horrified.