02 April 2009

Chasing planes

Palabra del dia: vacación --> guess that one!!
This week has been... stressful. I had two midterms. Normally midterms don't stress me out very much, but the fact that these tests are one of two in the semester is kind of a big deal. But oh well, it's over now, I can't do anything about it, so let's move on.
Last weekend I went to Barcelona with my friend Montana. We had booked our tickets through RyanAir probably a month ago, so we were good to go. I got a hostal booked and everything. We made it to the airport at 7pm or so, early enough for our 8:25pm flight. Shortly after arriving, Montana noticed a grave mistake on our part: we had missed our flight(s). Let me explain. First off, we booked different flights to Barcelona. Somehow, I booked an 8:25am flight (0825 in Spanish time) and she had booked the one we really wanted, a 4:45pm flight (1645 in Spanish time). Good job. How this happened, I have no idea. Luckily, we both booked the same return flight. After about one minute of contemplating if we should just stay in Granada for the weekend, we decide to find another flight. ClickAir is the only other airline that is flying to Barcelona that night. Lucky for us, there is a 9pm flight. Unlucky for us, it costs 126 Euro ONE WAY (our original roundtrip cost 45 Euro). So what do we do? Charge it (what are savings accounts for, anyway, if not for this?!)! We made it to Barcelona around 11pm and then had to find our hostal in the dark in a city that is quite a bit larger than Granada. But never fear, we found it! Too bad it was crappy, good thing we had booked a better one for the next two nights.
In the morning, we hurried out of the hostal so we could go find breakfast and our other hostal by 11am. After walking for an hour (we probably scaled the entire city on foot that morning) and buying food/breakfast at the first supermarket we found, we found our home for the next two nights: Urbany Hostal. If you ever go to Barcelona and need a stellar hostal, I highly recommend it. It was new, in a good location, had a gym/pool next door to use, lockers with keycard access that were big enough to fit my huge backpack, nice beds, friendly staff, kitchen, buffet breakfast included, and free internet access, all for the grand total of (drumroll please...) 15 Euro per night!!! AWESOME!

So what'd we do there? Well, Friday we got ourselves oriented with the city more or less and saw some sights. We saw the Sagrada Familia, the cathedral that Gaudi started before his death in 1926 and that they're still working on now. We bought fresh strawberries at a fruit store and ate the entire carton whilest we walked around the city. We found this bazarre flea market that has literally anything you could ever want. We found an art museum and got cheap tickets for it. We ate our bocadillos (sandwiches) in the grass. We visited a park that had buildings Gaudi designed. It was a beautiful day, we we enjoyed it to the fullest in one of the coolest cities in Spain. Later, after meeting up with some friends of Montana's, we made dinner in our hostal (yay for cheap, and yummy, pasta!) and went to sleep because we were exhausted.

The next day it rained. All. Day. Long. But that's okay, cause we had planned for it! Success! We visited the Picasso museum, a museum of which Gaudi designed the building (originally an apartment building), shopped a little bit, found the cathedral and marveled at it, and then wandered around for a while. We found the big market (I don't know what it's called) with all of the food you could ever want. Fresh fruit, veggies, and meat. Tons of candy and chocolate. This place is amazing!

After the market, we went back to our hostal to make dinner. While we were making dinner, we made friends! There were three guys from Italy making dinner as well. They couldn't speak English, and I can't speak Italian, but somehow we communicated. It's because of my Spanish knowledge, and the fact that Italian is somewhat close to Spanish. We also met four Spanish guys from Madrid. After we all had gotten dinner ready (pasta all the way around; nice to know everyone understands the magnificance that is yummy and cheap pasta!), we sat down at the tables and ate. Let me set up the scene for you: the three Italian guys were sitting at a table behind us. Then there was us, four American girls. Then next to us were the four Spanish guys. We were all having our own conversations in our respective languages, but then we started talking to one another. Mind you, there wasn't a common language between all of us, minus the one Spanish guy that knew English. It was so cool to sit there and listen to the languages, all different and unique, but know that somehow, we were communicating. That's why I love language, because it often surpasses knowledge of words and grammar and reaches into really wanting to know people. That dinner was probably one of my most favorite nights since I've been in Spain.
On Sunday, we checked out of our hostal and went walking. Or riding the Metro, really, because we had become experts by then. We walked down to a central part of town, Las Ramblas, and wandered for a while. We were trying to find another flea market, but didn't really find it. However, we did run into the water front and some friends of ours from the IES program that were also in Barcelona that weekend. Later we were able to meet up with some friends of mine briefly from Jewell, Jessica and Megan. It was sooooo good to see a familiar face (or 2!). Soon after, we headed for the airport, hopped our plane, and made it back to Granada just in time for me to write a composición for my Spanish grammar class and go to sleep.
Though our weekend had gotten off to a bumpy start, it turned out really well. I enjoyed traveling with Montana because she is really laid-back. We didn't have a set schedule at all, and that was nice. And she's a really good tour guide/map translator. I'm pretty sure we would have been lost if I had been in charge of that!
Now for the pictures.

At the market. Random cables, anyone?

No? Well then how about some coffee makers or a radio?

The view from the art history museum. Beautiful city!
Sagrada Familia. I think it speaks for itself.

More of Gaudi's amazing architecture!

At the food market. Yes, I'll take some fruit, please.

I think I'm in heaven.

Would you like to salsa? This is why I love Spain. Salsa in the middle of the plaza.
But even more so, this guy says it all:

Rainbow sweater, awesome 'stache, fedora hat. What more could you want?!
And finally, after a long weekend, the travel buddies head back home. Barcelona? Mission accomplished.

I'm off to London to visit a friend from high school and then to Germany to stay with family friends for Semana Santa. Oh but don't you worry, I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories when I return! Hasta luego!

1 comment:

  1. I love this last picture of you. That's the way you are supposed to look in Europe. Sport those scarves!