Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Break - A Day in Barcelona

Christina Folkes
Spring Break - A Day in Barcelona
Saturday March 16, 2013

            After waking up two hours later than our alarm clocks had warned us, the four of us scurried out of bed. We barely showered and hastily dressed ourselves. We dashed out of the Hilton Hotel doors, passing by fancy vases, paintings, and businessmen with notepads in hand. Unlike the hostel and the Travelers Inn that we stayed in for the trips to Dublin and Amsterdam, the Hilton was definitely a large step up and out of reality. As we exited the massive marble outlined building, lines of taxis awaited our arrival outside of the golden spinning doors. Hayley, Zach, Pat, and I quickly made the decision between walking or lazily taking a taxi to Barcelona’s city center to meet the rest of the girls. Of course, taking a taxi was a unanimous decision.
            We walked up to the first taxi in the line of five and hopped right in. We sat on black leather seats with the windows rolled down all the way. I’m not so sure that the taxi driver was too thrilled about that since the air did have a little chill to it. Although he may have found this weather nippy, it was the nicest weather we have been in all year. It was weather in the sixties with a little chill to top it off.
            As we drove down the confusing, six-laned streets, we noticed that this taxi driver was taking us a longer, more money-dropping route. Before this vacation, we were warned that locals would do their best to rip you off, just to gain an extra buck. Although we did notice quite quickly, we didn’t say anything about it because of all the beautiful sights that we were able to see on this drive.
            Barcelona was full of immaculate buildings shaped like nothing I had ever seen before. Some buildings reminded me of ones out of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” The buildings were wavy in appearance and some looked as if they could topple over at any moment. The walls were encrusted with detailed stencils and the railings along the apartment buildings were so ornate that it looked like they could belong to a queen. We were truly amazed by what we were seeing. It was unlike anything we were used to seeing in American cities or even in Athens.
            At the very moment before paying the taxi driver, I was truly happy for what I have been able to experience throughout the past month or so. Not everyone is able to see the sites I have or able to do the many things I’ve done. This is without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience that I wish could continue forever. Being able to travel around Europe like we have been is a journey that I will take with me for the rest of my life and I hope my peers can agree.
            We got out of the taxi and walked down what seemed to be a never-ending street. There were shops and cafes on either side of the road. A large sidewalk in the middle disconnected both sides of the street. Now that was were all the fun happened. There were vendors selling beautiful jewelry, paintings, portraits, and children’s toys. There were also pastry stands and even outdoor restaurants. As we walked through the center in hopes of bumping into the rest of the girls, we looked to our right and there was a Dunkin Donuts! After celebrating our new discovery for an unnecessary amount of time, instead of going in to buy a snack, we continued to walk (the whole time I secretly hoped that we would turn around and eat everything in sight!).
            Finally, our main goal of finding the girls happened! We spotted them out of the crowd from across the way and ran over before we lost sight of them. We continued on our way to the nearest restaurant to finally eat something. A waiter to the left of us hollered us over to come have lunch at his restaurant. Without thinking, we all telepathically agreed that that was the place to go. Our mouths watered as we ordered our meals. Katie and Lauren split seafood paella while Zach and I had margarita pizza, and Hayley had baked chicken. All three dishes were indeed delicious but the seafood paella was definitely the best. I had never tried something like it before. It was a platter of mixed seafood doused in a creamy red sauce with spices and herbs to add in plenty of flavor. Delish!
            We continued on our way exploring the city and all of the beauties it had to offer. The seacoast was right down the street, surrounded by waffle and crepe stands. There were Irish step dancing stages scattered around in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day. Men hounding you to buy their fake bags and sunglasses were also a big trend, just as they are in every city. Thousands of people strolling down the sidewalks, some marveling every single thing they saw, just as we were. Barcelona was a truly amazing city with lots to offer. I would recommend visiting this city to anyone.

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