No Wonder They Siesta: Barcelona

2 Apr

“Strut like you mean it, free your mind, it’s not enough just to dream it. Come on, Come on!” – Cheetah Girls

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Our Spring Break trip began just as any usually does: in pure chaos! and European chaos is much different than American chaos – communication barriers, unpredictable transportation, and lots of smelly and greasy people crammed into tight spaces. Allison, Madison, her friend Nikki, and I decided to do a Spain Spring Break – so you could pretty much just call us the Cheetah Girls! We started in Barcelona, then went to the island of Ibiza, then Madrid, and back to Rome for Easter. Our two goofball friends Brad and Luke were in Barca and Madrid with us (to get an idea of the type of guys they are check out my Prague post, total crackups).

Allison

Allison & I on our balcony

Madison

Madison

Unlike American flights, RyanAir doesn’t expect you to be at the airport until right before your flight, so we timed it to be there just an hour before. Just our luck, not only did we take the bus during rush hour, but there was a car accident causing us to arrive 20 minutes before our plane took off. You never think you’ll to be that group of people sprinting through the airport and tripping over each other, but when you are it’s not as funny as it looks. Madison’s duffel permanently broke open after security and then I almost had to pay 50 Euro for my oversized carryon. That was a nightmare and a half to “shrink”. I almost started layering on all my clothes #RyanAirProbz

The flight was a breeze, just a quick hour and a half. To get to our hostel we had to take a train and then the metro. On the train there was a man walking up and down the cars playing amazing Spanish music. On board entertainment? I’ll take it! When we came out from underground and were surrounded by a big industrial city it felt like we were home in America! Barcelona’s a pretty genius city because to get to the metro they paint arrows and a “yellow brick road” on the streets and sidewalks because they know that people will be too belligerent to find it otherwise. Right outside the metro stop and the first real piece of Barca that we see is Antoni Gaudi’s colorfully aquatic themed Casa Batllo.

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Once again (thanks to our flawless trip planning skills) our hostel’s location couldn’t have been more perfect! We walked up from the metro and were smack dab at the tip of Las Ramblas, the most famous and lively strip in Barca. I couldn’t believe the amount of gorgeous Spanish men we had already seen and we hadn’t even been in the city for more than 20 minutes.. Jaw Droppers, 95% of them! Why didn’t I study here and pick up a spicy guapo Spanish man?

We stayed at St. Christopher’s Inn, the same company as my hostel in London, with the same Aussie packed Belushi’s bar and discounts. And if you’re really looking for some convincing.. it’s a block off Las Ramblas and right next to Starbucks and TopShop. Gameover. To get the night going we posted up at the bar for massive nachos and a bucket of Heinies.

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belushi

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We had a gorgeous bartender named Mo and let me tell you.. God definitely spent Mo time on that lucky man. Epitome of tall, dark, and handsome (with an accent, muscles, and tattoos).

Brad and Luke took the metro from there place to meet us at Belushi’s and when they got there they were unbelievably squirrelly! But that’s standard when you put the group of us together. Barca nightlife is unlike any I’ve ever experienced before. At around 1 I led the group to a club everyone had raved about. It was quite a hike and when we asked a couple Spaniards if we were heading in the right direction they told us we’d need to hop in a cab because it was too far. Those people must not understand how accustomed we have become to walking in Europe because we walked the 15 or so blocks and made it without a lousy cab ride! Lazy Americans my ass!

The club was called Sutton and we lucked out with free cover from a Facebook group I found. Sutton was outrageous, I felt like I was in Vegas. Everyone was dressed to the nines, “Vegas” show girls marched around, and bottles on bottles of Chandon were carried out on platters lit with sparklers. WE MISSED JBIEBS BY 1 WEEKEND!!

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The 6 of us danced on top of a platform in the middle of the dance floor all night long and left after we heard a few too many corny pick up lines.

Our 2nd day in Barcelona was spent wandering the city. A couple blocks down Las Ramblas we stumbled upon El Mercat de la Boqueria, the massive food market full of fresh fruits, tapas bars, and the freshest and largest fish market that I’ve ever seen, smack dab in the middle.

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

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I was on a hunt for grilled octopus, but instead I popped some scrumptious cod fritters in my mouth.

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Cod Fritters

Cod Fritters

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We aimlessly strolled through the winding streets surrounding Las Ramblas and came across the Barcelona Cathedral. After one lap inside we sat on the steps outside to take in the Barcelona street life: scattered groups of chatty hot Spaniards and musicians hanging out near trash cans.

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Next on the agenda: Bike ride through Barcelona. Along the way to the bike garage we dipped into Playa Real for a peek. It’s a gorgeous square surrounded by palm trees and patio seating and if I had more time (& money) I’d definitely grab dinner somewhere around it! Before our 2 hour ride, we grabbed lunch at Walk to Wok (recommended stir fry chain). The cooks were smokin’ hot Spaniards that were fun to chat with over some udon noodles, “Barcelona isn’t Spain,” one of them admitted.

DSCN1493_2 DSCN1494 All around the city are bike garages under the company, Budget Bikes. It was hands down the best way to see every part of the city. From the long stretch of beach…

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Only I would take on a bike in wedges..

Only I would take on a bike in wedges..

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Cruisin down the boardwalk

Cruisin down the boardwalk

to dodging people and cars through the chaotic city center, and past beautifully artistic monuments…

La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi

La Sagrada Familia by Gaudi

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Barcelona's Arc de Triomf

Barcelona’s Arc de Triomf

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Everywhere we wanted to stop were major pickpocket traps, so we clutched onto our bikes for a swift getaway. The brakes were a little faulty and because we were riding in the middle of the road with all the crazy European drivers, I almost crashed into the back of half a dozen cars. We met hot Alejandro back at the bike drop off (I’ll never get sick of the European cheek kisses), rewarded ourselves with a Dunkin Doughnut, and SIESTA-ED!!

That night we went down to the beach clubs – True Barca! We had to take the metro, which is a lifesaver in Spain, and it was packed with party people headed to the beach! Catwalk, Shoko, and Opium are the major hotspots that sit right on the beach. One of the club promoters pulled us past the line into Shoko where, once again, we danced on top of a huge platform in the middle of the dance floor until creepy men started sneaking up behind us.

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By the end of the night I was salsa dancing with a black man and Allison pulled me away from dancing with a Cannibal. Alright not really, but he was bleeding from the neck all over his white deep V. I don’t know how people party until the sun rises on the beach every day! Let’s just say Allison and I missed hostel breakfast the next morning.

Last day in Barcelona! The group split up, so Al and I headed North on the metro to Gaudi’s famous Park Guell. It’s in a less appealing part of the city with the longest escalator I’ve ever seen taking you from the main road all the way to the top of the hill.

DSCN1567The terrace of Park Guell is lined with a multicolored mosaic bench that serpentines all the way around with palm trees at its back and it overlooks all of Barcelona with the sea in the distance and La Sagrada Familia poking out in the middle.

DSCN1580_2DSCN1575DSCN1599 DSCN1597 DSCN1589Underneath the terrace were acrobatic and magic acts, jewelry vendors, and just some plain old circus freaks. Even in early Spring there were tons of people around the Park. I can’t imagine the hype in the heat of the summer.

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I just think it’s so cool that I learned all about Gaudi and his incredibly unique work in the 6 years that I took Spanish classes and I never sat in those classes imagining that one day I’d be standing in front of it.

After a quick stop into a bakery for a white chocolate covered elephant ear, we took the metro straight to the beach.

Spanish musicians on Public Transportation

Spanish musicians on Public Transportation

We took a walk to the end of the pier down at the marina and that’s when we noticed.. A MALL!! HALLELUJAH! I wanted to fall down and kiss the ground!

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I can’t remember the last time I saw a multistoried indoor mall. Barcelona has such glamorous, fresh, and vibrant fashion and the Maremagnum Mall definitely showcased that. I could have gotten a lot more credit card happy, but it was a test of my wise budgeting skills.. and I passed!

Back at the hostel we had our first taste of Sangria in Espana! Definitely adding that to our list of summer concoctions!

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Now here’s where our genius dumbest idea ever comes into play. We had to be at the airport at 5 AM the next morning to catch our flight to Ibiza, so Allison and I thought it’d make sense to pull an all nighter and have some fun with our fellow hostel guests!

We were off to a great start! We made friends with a huge group of semi-socially awkward French men in the lounge area, then went out to buy 50 cent doughnuts while being followed into the store by 2 scary black men, and then we made it back to the hostel bar where we befriended a German guy that looked like Calvin Harris and a hilarious Irish guy.

Calvin Harris?!

Calvin Harris?!

When I asked the Irish guy if he knew the love of my life, Colin Farrell (cause how could he not..) his response was, “Well futbol isn’t fun anymore cause we have 4 on 5 now that Colin Farrell left to make a 2 hour long video about a man stuck in a phonebooth.. WHO WANTS TO WATCH A PHONEBOOTH FOR 120 MINUTES!”

When the bar closed at 3, we went up to our spaceship bunk beds (coolest and comfiest beds on Earth) to take a “power nap”. Thank the Lord that Madison was sane enough to go to bed at a reasonable time because without her to wake us up at 4 AM we would have missed our flight. To make things better.. when she woke me up I was passed out upright in bed with my computer on my lap (probably typing this god awful post to all of you). I miraculously managed to not forget anything at the hostel (found my lock in the pocket of my leather jacket 3 days later) and passed out in a McDonald’s booth in the airport until I was scolded, “No dormir, no dormir!!!”

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Next stop: IBIZA!

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2 Responses to “No Wonder They Siesta: Barcelona”

  1. Michael spidale April 5, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    Marlo,Marlo, what will Europe do without you. You have certainly immersed yourself in all the different cultures. Hurray for you. Love You Nani Judy

    • marlomarisie April 5, 2013 at 1:31 am #

      The real question is what will I do without Europe!?! Miss and love you guys!!

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