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Paradise in Barcelona

Published by Barbarka Houfková — 3 years ago

Previously, I said that my last week of travelling included Barcelona, Paris and the south of France. At first I did not plan on going to Spain at all. Firstly we bought the tickets to Portugal and the tickets to Bordeaux and Nantes. After, I was just wondering – so if I have my last exam 17th of May and we are going to the south of France 21st of May - I still have 4 free days. Should I stay in Lille or travel? The good thing was that I spoke to my landlord and she did not mind me travelling and paying less money for the rent if I left earlier than we agreed before. I started to search for the tickets. Ryanair has a good option to set the departure city, the date, your budget and after you can see all places where you can fly ordered according to the price. I was shocked when I saw that Barcelona was one of cheapest ones! Before I did not think that spending more money on travelling was a good idea even though I wanted to visit Barcelona so bad since last summer. When I saw these tickets that I could just take a plane from Brussels Charleroi to Barcelona for 17 euro I did not hesitate anymore. In addition, I was really curious about this city because many people told me that Barcelona is top city in Europe and I needed to check it.

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In the end, it was not just 17 euro because the plane went to Girona airport which is quite far from the city centre of Barcelona and I paid 17 euro for the bus to get to the city centre. I hate this! It already happened to me many times that I paid even more for the bus transportation to / from the airport than for the plane ticket. However, I made a really clever step. To get to Brussels Charleroi airport I found only Flibco (bus) for 17 euro. As I already knew that it was the biggest price they could charge I was waiting for offers from blabla car until the day before my flight came and I was lucky because I found Blablacar for approximately 7 euro. I paid around 40 euro for my plane ticket back to Paris. In total, it was a good deal because when we were looking for the tickets from Prague to Barcelona it cost about 150 euro!

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Firstly, I asked Katarina to go with me but she already had a lot of trips planned and she did not feel like spending more money so we could not go together. After a lot of things happened and I suddenly had my tickets and I was supposed to go alone (actually it was my fault that it ended up like this). I wanted to take advantage of it and I decided to try couchsurfing and travel alone. Anyways, it was just three days. On the one side I felt so excited to finally see this city and on the other side I was little bit worried about being alone in a new city. I would like to talk about couchsurfing more in a detail next time because I tried it three times during this semester. This time I was so lucky! I sent few requests about accommodation and I got fast answers from people living in Barcelona. I really liked the guy called Alejandro. According to the pictures he looked really nice, moreover, he sent me a text that he spent one semester of studying in Prague with his friends! Therefore, I was really interested in meeting him! I thought that it could be fun to talk about Prague and his experience there. Everything was all right and I was prepared to go.

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When I spoke to one of my best friends from the Czech Republic Marek (at the moment he is studying in Utrecht – Netherlands), the situation changed. We had just normal discussions and when I said I was going to Barcelona alone he just answered: “I might go. ” I was amazed. I did not expect him to say this at all! He was supposed to write his diploma thesis. Immediately I started to think of going to Spain together and I started to plan everything. After two days the plane tickets were more expensive so Marek hesitated a little bit but one night when I was already sleeping he bought them! When I read the message about the tickets in the morning I was so happy! We both wanted to visit Barcelona a lot! After my excitement I started to think of the accommodation. How are we going to do it? I already had my host from couchsurfing…

I messaged Alejandro and I hoped to have a luck that we might stay both at his place. The answer from Alejandro was quite funny. He said that probably we both could stay but he did not really know where exactly we could sleep because other two friends from Croatia were coming at the same time. Although we decided to try it! The more people the more fun! Marek just needed to take his sleeping bag and that was all.

First day

First day Marek came to Barcelona earlier so he had to wait for me. I came to the Girona airport, I bought the bus ticket and I got to the city centre. We found each other near to Alejandro´s place and we went directly there. The location was really good – close to Plaza Espagna. When I met Alejandro and I found out he was born in Mexico I was so delighted! I don’t know why I thought he was from Spain. The thing is that before coming to France I knew no Mexican people. On my exchange I met at least 15 Mexican friends and I guess they had a big influence on me! In my opinion, they are really talkative, friendly, open, happy, amusing, easy-going and always in for every fun. I don´t know why but they all chose Lille for exchange and I am grateful for it. They made me to want to visit Mexico as well. Alejandro was same. He was super nice! He showed us his apartment, he introduced us all his flatmates and he prepared for us a pineapple. For sleeping I used the sofa and Marek had his sleeping bad. The other two friends from Croatia used the part of the sofa as a bed and air mattress. You can see on the picture Marek, me, Alejandro and his flatmate.

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After introducing each other we went for a coffee. The first square we saw was immediately attractive. There were palm trees everywhere and I am crazy about it. I remember when I went to Spain with my parents when I was small, I got in love with these trees. It is something different and unusual in Europe.

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We decided to explore the closest part of Barcelona with Marek near Plaza Espana. We started at Arena (shopping mall) that looks like arena for battles and it is possible to go up and have a nice view.

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It was just first day and I was so impressed! All the buildings seemed so huge and the lawn was perfectly aligned. Moreover, there was a big fountain and the small ones around.

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We continued to the National Museum, to the park and to the stadium. The weather was just perfect. I was wearing shorts with a shirt. After one semester in rainy Lille I enjoyed this temperature even more and I just kept repeating how awesome it was. When I put a word Barcelona into the google search I could just see Gaudi´s buildings but I did not remember seeing pictures of this place.

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We were walking a lot and we chose tapas place for having dinner where we had a Spanish beer and some unhealthy food.

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When we got home we met the guys from Croatia – Nikola and Boris and we had Sangria with them. They put a lot of rum and fruit inside and we all liked it. During this evening we talked a lot mostly about kebab in Prague. This story accompanied us whole trip. In fact, everybody from the flat spent one semester in Prague (except for the guys from Croatia) and they fell in love with one kebab place in Prague. Another friendly guy - Igor from Croatia, who lives in the apartment, was able to speak about it almost two hours with many stories. That´s why I feel obliged to go there the first night as I am back in the Czech Republic. He also shocked me with his fluent Czech language even though he spent only 7 months in the Czech Republic. I wish I was talented for languages as he is. This evening I was totally exhausted so I fell asleep really fast.

Second day

Second day we went for a free walking tour. This one in Barcelona was nice as previous ones in another cities. The weather was again more than perfect so I was wearing a dress. Our guide was from England so he had a good accent and he was entertaining us a lot. He also recommended us a good place for having lunch but we already had a lot of tips so we did not manage to go there. Actually I also had a special tip from my friend but when I heard he spent there 45 euro for the dinner we decided to skip it (you can guess who). I forgot to mention one important thing. Before the trip I found out that Frida (Mexican girl from my exchange and the nicest person ever) would be in Barcelona too at the same time. I had no idea that it could be so difficult to meet someone when you do not have proper internet connection. During the first day we just talked on Facebook but we both did not have internet connection so we were trying to see each other but we postponed it too many times that it was already late and we were in the flat. The second day we tried it again! I wrote Frida about free walking tour but in the morning she wrote me to meet us in front of Sagrada Familia in the afternoon. Sagrada does not look so good on the picture because it is under the reconstruction longtime but Frida said it was epic inside!

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We agreed on going there together but were not able to book the tickets on our mobile phones so in the end Frida went there without us. In the meantime we explored the park Guell. On our way there we finally tried churros!

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It took us some time to get to the park but we made it and it was really nice. I just did not like that if you wanted to have the most amazing view you had to pay for it. We did not know about it before and the line was big so we did not go there. It was literally just 20 metres further from us though.

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On our way back to Sagrada to meet Frida again we bought some fruit. I really liked that you could buy a lot of types of fruit for a good price in every shop in Barcelona. I enjoyed my favourite mango and melon. The meeting point was in front of the Gaudi building. It was funny that Frida was lost so she took her time but I did not really mind. I felt so happy to see her again and talk about all the feelings and things from Lille. It was such a nice coincidence that she was there at the same time! I wished to stay with her there longer!

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The next plan was having a dinner with Alejandro, Robert and Frida in the restaurant called La Tasqueta. Marek had few tips for having tapas for 1 euro. Later we found out that it was not tapas but pinchos. The difference is that tapas is a small dish but pinchos is only small appetizer. When we entered the place I was fascinated. I already said about many places with food that I loved it but this one was wonderful! They had a huge selection of pinchos!

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Firstly, we chose five tapas to share and we wanted to take few pinchos before. In fact, it was not possible. When we started trying pinchos we could not resist and we were already full before ordering tapas. I can´t even describe what we tasted. They had everything you could think of. It was all delicious. I like the idea that you can try a lot of things at the same time and a lot of different flavours.

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After the dinner we went to Alejandro´s place. We bought bottles of Sangria to pretend we were Spanish people (in fact, they do not really drink Sangria so often) – we put a lot of fruit and rum inside again and we all (with guys from Croatia) went to the park.

We had a lot of fun there and I felt happy to hear all the stories from Frida and guys. Later, Frida and me felt so tired that we decided to go sleep. Although Frida was too far from her accommodation so she was allowed to stay with us as well! For me it was funny because when we first entered the living room I could not even imagine sleeping there in 3 people and in the end we were there 5 and it was totally okay! I was grateful that Frida could stay there with us. Another droll thing was that the park was already closed when we wanted to go home and we had to cross the water in order to get off the park. One random girl who was in the park as well fell into the water. I also took a video of Frida and Alejandro trying to cross the water with the bike (of course they got wet). I was lucky and I chose climbing the wall. We slept again really fast.

Last day

Last day we agreed on going to the beach. Unfortunately Alejandro could not join us because he had to work on his thesis. I appreciated he was so responsible! We started our day with the boys from Croatia by having coffee on the square close by. We did not really have time to talk to each other before but we compensated it this day. In the morning we went to the Boqueria market on La Rambla.

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All these types of markets are awesome. I already went to the one in London and similar one in Portugal. They mainly had fresh fruit juices, empanadas, cheese, fruit and sea food. We bought a big empanadas for a lunch (almost so good as the ones we cooked in France) and fresh juice from maracuja! We wanted guys to taste churros so we took them to the nearest shop and we tried the ones dipping into the chocolate. It was our third time having churros. The second time we tried a big churros filled with Nutella. Crazy.

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Finally we went to the beach. It is just perfect that the beach is in the city centre so you can get there really easily. Our common Czech friend Misa is studying in Barcelona this summer semester so we met her at the beach. It was nice to see her in different country. She looked really happy and I was glad to hear all her adventures from Erasmus.

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Actually, she had even more opportunities in Barcelona – whole campus with swimming pool, a gym, beach and perfect weather. One would say that is it not comparable with rainy windy cold Lille. The opposite is truth. I still insist that I would not trade Lille for anything. But I guess it must be incredible to be on Erasmus in this city and I might include Barcelona in my future plans!

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I really enjoyed whole day with the boys from Croatia because they were really friendly and nice all the time. We went again to the same restaurant to have a dinner because we just loved it. It was difficult to stop eating pinchos. After the dinner, Misa went home and we met Frida again!

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Since beginning of our trip we knew that there is a music performance synchronized with the fountain! We already saw similar one in Budapest and in the Czech Republic and I really liked it. That´s why we were excited to see it here, in Barcelona. It started at 9:30 pm. We were supposed to listen to the movie soundtrack but the music was totally different. The performance was brilliant though. The fountain is quite big so it was all huge.

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Another thing that surprised me was the power of sunshine. I did not expect me to look tanned after three days! In fact, I was totally sunburnt one day and I look too red. We came home quite early (before midnight) but we were talking a lot again and we went sleep around 2 am. I hated that I had to take a plane at 6 am and got up after 2 hours of sleeping! In the end I survived my day in Paris following day just with one coffee and it was not so horrible.

To summarize the trip I would like to say that it was probably the most amazing place I have visited during this semester. I could really imagine staying there for a whole semester or one year. It was perfect combination of nice weather, accessible beach, delicious food, friendly people, huge buildings and great atmosphere - paradise.

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I realized that it was almost time to say goodbye to Barcelona. Actually, three days were not enough. I wish I could have stayed longer! Although I could not do anything because I already had tickets for another trip…

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