Barcelona – week 17
The final leg of my trip was bittersweet. I was dreading the idea of leaving my favorite city in the world, but was also really excited for my parents to come visit me. I got to do some touristy things that I had not done before, and even went to two other countries, so it was definitely a good way to end my trip. I took so many great pictures, but unfortunately, my computer kept freezing while uploading them to my blog, so not many are here. Sorry!
The first day that my parents were here, we went on the Barcelona Tourist Bus tour. Classic tourist, and I felt kind of stupid for doing it because I had already lived there for four months, but I actually did learn some new things and see places that I had never been to before. We rode through the entire bus ride before deciding that we wanted to get off at Montjuic. I showed them old Olympic Park, we watched the light show, and then ate a delicious dinner of paella on the 4th floor of the Arena de Espanya, the old bull fighting arena which converted to a mall after bullfighting was outlawed in Catalonia.
The next day, my family woke up early and went to Mt. Tibadabo. We didn’t hike it this time (like I did with Linn), but instead took the lazy way up in the funicular. It was fun to see their expressions on their faces when they saw the entirety of Barcelona and its suburbs from the top of that one mountain, in addition to the majestic church that overlooks the city. What was even better was that after we left Tibadabo, we went to the Sagrada Familia. I have never been, but have always been told that I had to come to “one of the wonders of the world.” I was completely in awe by the architecture, high ceilings, colorful windows and designs, and intricacies of the church. Gaudi really was a genius. I then showed them my residencia, introduced them to some friends, and showed them my neighborhood of Gracia. We then ate at a really cute place in Gracia- the same place I took Linn on her last night. I ate some delicious, Catalan pork cheeks and enjoyed a bottle of wine with my parents. Then I went to a bar with some of my friends. [Gallery not found]
The next day, my family and I left our apartment near the Sagrada Familia and drove to Andorra! Andorra is one of the smallest countries of the world with about 70,000 people, and is located between Spain and France. It is in the middle of the Pyrenees, and perfect for skiing. It took us a while to get there, because the car was stick shift (and so my dad stalled many times and drove really slowly), and our navigations systems weren’t always correct. But, when we got there, we were definitely glad we took the road less travelled and explored another beautiful country. We ate lunch at a TexMex restaurant, and then walked around the capital city, taking pictures in the mountains and doing some beautiful hiking. We went swimming at our hotel, played minigolf on the rooftop, and ate a delicious dinner at a ski lodge. We were even overcharged 400 euros for our meal, and got that money reimbursed to us in cash, along with an apology shot of alcohol.
We left the next day and started our drive to Carcassone, France. What a beautiful drive, weaving in and out of snowcapped mountains and French chateaus! Carcassone was a beautiful and fun city. We explored some of the medieval part of Carcassone, which is supposedly one of the best preserved medieval castles in Europe. We went into shops, had Nutella crepes, walked along the fortress wall, and ate a meal in a plaza inside the walled city. We also took a tour of the old palace area of the medieval section. In addition, we drove about an hour away (through beautiful one lane roads in the hills) to get to a winery and purchased some delicious French champagne and wine.
The best part about France, though, was just relaxing at our hotel. We landed at the Dominac d’Auriac, a 5 star hotel on a golf resort. The hotel only had about 18 rooms, all individually designed and decorated with antique French tastes. The land it was on was large, green, and full of benches, greenery, a pool, and pond. We played scrabble in the rooms, as well as ate chocolates they left in our room, and drank wine. One afternoon, we sat outside for hours, just talking over a couple of bottles of champagne and wine.
In addition to the beautiful facilities, the hotel also had some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Every morning, we were attended to like royals while drinking our hot chocolate, coffee, and fresh squeezed orange juice. For breakfast, we ate eggs, mixed fruit, ham (from a 700 lb pig), French cheese, and all the fresh bread a person could want. On the last night in Carcassone, my family and I ate at the 5 star restaurant at the hotel. It was one of the most expensive, but also best foods, I have ever eaten. My father and I started off by drinking some Champagne. Our first course consisted of fresh vegetables and sea bass. Then, I got snails in red wine sauce. For the main course, we all got sea bass and other seafood dishes. Then, as a dessert before our dessert, we got a chocolate pudding to help wash down our grand marnier soufflé. I didn’t even want to leave after the two hours, because it was such an amazing night.
After our trip to France, and our drive back to the car rental place (which turned out to be a nightmare because we were driving a manual car, in a city, getting on the wrong one way streets, and had a flat tire), we just explored the neighborhood of our next apartment. We found the La Rambla de Poblenou- a lot better than the tourist La Rambla. It was weird for me to keep finding places that I had never been to! I went to the bar Sonora that night, and then Razzmatazz with Martine and Ines. I was so sad that it was my last Wednesday night at one of the best clubs.
The next day was very relaxing for my family. We went to a nearby town named Sitges. I went there for Carnaval in February, but it was really nice to go when the weather was nicer. We walked around the beautiful town, lounged on the beach, and ate seafood for lunch at a place called Lizarran. That night, we went to the Bunkers del Carmel at sunset. I was so glad I could go to one of my favorite places one more time, and show my parents one of the best views of the city.
Friday was my last day in Barcelona, so we had to pack it tight with activities. We woke up at 6 am to go watch the sunrise over the beach- something I had always wanted to do. I then took them on a tour of the gothic quarter, we went up and down La Rambla, ate a tapas lunch, bought smoothies and chocolate at the boqueira market, bought souvenirs, sat in Plaza Catalunya, walked to Palau de la Musical, and finished the tour with the Arc de Triumf and Parc de la Ciutadella. We then spent our last night at Parc Guell. I still had not been to this iconic Barcelona site yet, and it was fun to go someplace new and marvel at the Gaudi architecture. We ended our relaxing night with having paella on the Rambla de Poblenou near our apartment. I ended my last night by meeting my friends, having everyone on the metro cheer for me to finish my bottle of wine, going to the L’Ovella Negra bar, and then club Catwalk. It was a great night!
I’m going to miss this city so much <3