Barcelona in Pictures

We had the opportunity to spend 8 wonderful days in this city. We’ve seen so much, met lots of friendly people, and have blisters on our feet from walking so much. I wish we could have visited during a less busy time of year (seriously, so many people, it became claustrophobic), but overall it was a positive experience. It’s hard to sum up our experience or even choose our favorite bits. So I thought I’d share some of the most memorable moments through photos.

 

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Gaudi is a genius. The city is infused with his artwork and architecture, from the whimsical Park Guell to random undulating buildings throughout the city center to beautiful lamposts in Plaça Reial. His presence is undeniable, and his inventive designs add to the quirky charm of Barcelona.

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We met Maria on our 5th night in Barcelona. After dinner, we went back to a cocktail and crêpe bar we found in el Born, had some delicious (and inventive) cocktails made by super friendly bartenders, met a Swedish guy and his young Romanian friend, Maria. When he left, she hung out with us and went with us to a bar closer to home in el Gotico, with a French-Morrocan bartender (who also spoke Italian, English, Spanish and Catalan). There we met some German guys on holiday celebrating their friendship, a Dutch guy who showed us several magic tricks (ug), and a group of French friends celebrating a bachelor party (and I got to practice some French, which they all understood and said was very good, woo)! When we finally headed home around 1ish, we found the square around the Cathedral in full party mode for the last night of the quarter’s festival, musical blasting, full of hundreds of people, dancing to Pitbull and other zumba-type music. We grabbed a beer for Justin and a waffle for me, and sweat with the crowd, dancing until it finally ended around fifteen minutes ago. It was such an awesome night that seemed to encapsulate the very essence of the city. We hung out with her the next evening and will see her tonight for one final drink. She’s so sweet and adventurous; we’ve invited her to come visit us in Nashville after she’s done with school.

 

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Street art is everywhere. You can not go 10 feet without seeing it. All of the shops have their garage doors painted so when they are closed, they are colorful. Some of it is just plain obnoxious graffiti, but much of it is creative, expressive artwork. Some political messaging (about tourism, about Catalonia, about rights), some humorous art (funny portraits, puns, animals), some wacky and hard to interpret (such as these lactating boobs above; what are they trying to say?)

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20160817_114450.jpgYou do you, in this town. So if that means getting drunk and passing out in front of the cathedral, that’s alrighty.

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I’m out of my comfort zone. Whether it’s food, or not speaking the language, I’m totally in unfamiliar terrain here, so I’ve had to deal with my anxiety a bit (and thankfully have a super understanding and patient husband). But I’ve been trying, trying to be adventurous, trying not to worry, trying new food. The only new food I’ve liked is the grilled squid (and it’s so good) but I will continue to try the other weird stuff Justin puts in front of me so no one can say I am not willing!

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They’ve excavated an old part of the city (from the 1700s) that was destroyed in a war. And you can look at it for free.

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It’s crowded as hell, and part of that is because this is prime tourist season, but it’s a busy, lively, passionate city full of people who eat late dinners, take two hours for lunch, and celebrate everything. Each neighborhood has their own week-long celebration, so it’s been non-stop parties since we got here.

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This city does not care who you are or where you’re from, you are welcome here. No one gets special treatment, and it doesn’t matter if you’re Asian, American, European, or from another planet, you are free to do as you please, wear what you want, do your hair as you want, be who you want. I would not say you’ll receive warm embrace but the locals are equally friendly (or unfriendly) to everyone, regardless of gender, skin color, or fashion sense (and we have seen some ODD fashion choices for sure)!

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We’ve met some really interesting people. Sitting next to us at Bun Bo, the Vietnamese restaurant right by our apartment where we’ve eaten a couple times, was this really nice couple, whose names we didn’t get. He’s from Barcelona, she’s from Russia (“Only a short distance from Moscow… 8 or 9 hours by train.”) They’ve been together a year; he lived with her in Russia for 3 months, now she’s living here. They communicate in English. She speaks no Spanish, and his Russian is terrible. We talked for over an hour, as we finished our very late dinners (ordering at 11 pm! haha) and we found out they live furhter into the city, about a half hour train ride away, but they came all the way in just for this place (so yeah, it’s really good). What a fun evening 🙂 
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Every street has a story. Every alley has the potential for surprise. You never know what awaits you when you turn a corner: shops, restaurants, break dancers, a violinist, street art, a party. Peoples’ lives always hanging out of the upper level windows, laundry drying in the wind, kids looking out the windows, music emanating down to the street below. It’s a colorful, noisy mix of commercial and residential, old and new, tourist and local.
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This color blue. I could look at it all day long.
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I mean, really, look at the blue. It’s so blue. So beautiful. It’s also crowded as hell and hot, but the blue has a calming effect.
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Barcelona is a beautiful city rich in history and interesting architecture, full of interesting people from around the world, and offers something for everyone – city life, natural escapes, sangria and seafood, desserts and pastries, and strong espresso.

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