Danya Carithers is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A marketing major at the University of Pittsburgh, she is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
In this week's post, Danya shows us around Barcelona in a short visit.
While studying abroad leads to many opportunities to travel and explore other parts of Europe, there is only limited time to do so. My most recent trip was to Barcelona, Spain.
Overall, Barcelona was full of surprises. I didn’t expect the city to be that big, I didn’t expect the food to be so amazing, and I definitely didn’t expect to be standing in the pouring rain for 30 minutes trying to get a taxi. I learned a lot about the big city in only a small amount of allotted time. With the suggestions of my friend, Megan, who studied there last semester, I was able to hit all the touristy areas and get insider advice on the best cafes, restaurants, and clubs all under 48 hours. It was helpful that I’m a obnoxiously fast-paced walker, but it most, most helpful that I planned my trip out in advance.
9am: My hostel, called Casa Barcelo, was located near the Gràcia neighborhood where a lot of the new and trendy restaurants are located, making it quick and easy to find a nice café. After walking down a few blocks, I ran into a cute, beach-themed café called Brunch & Cake. I recognized the name from the list Megan sent me and was instantly sold when I found out they served smoothies.
10am: Feeling jittery from my coffee, I headed towards La Rambla to go window shopping. I passed by dozens of flower shops, bike rentals, and clothing stores filled with incense. La Rambla is definitely the busiest street of Barcelona with plenty of smaller side streets to wind through for finding street art and live music.
11am: Next, I went to the Gothic Quarter which was adjacent to La Rambla. Well, at least I think it is; I got pretty confused walking around those side streets. The Gothic Quarter was probably one of my favorite spots in the city because it was away from the heavy traffic and surrounded by historical architecture. I was able to beat the big tourist crowds so the streets were peacefully quiet except for the distant sound of guitar played by a street musician. I went inside the Cathedral and was able to climb to the top for a striking view of the city.
12pm: By noon, the sun was completely out and it was getting hot enough to take my jacket off outside for the first time in Europe! So naturally, I decided it was the perfect time to walk 30 minutes to the beach. When I finally step foot on the sand, I collapsed on the ground and was already prepared for an extra early siesta. It was nice to just sit on the beach to spend time relaxing and not doing anything else. It really reminded me of home in California and being able to do that all the time. Later, I walked down the beach to find somewhere to eat. I ended up at one one of the best burger places I’ve ever been to called Urban Dock.
4pm: After resting, I went to the one place I was dead-set on seeing – the Picasso museum. Unfortunately, I was unable to take any pictures due to the museum rules. I don’t really have much to say other than HE PAINTED THAT AT 15-YEARS-OLD!?
10am: After quickly grabbing a cappuccino and croissant, I caught the bus to the other side of Barcelona. The first place I headed to was Parc Güel to see what all the tourist commotion was all about. The park included a Gaudi Museum, trails, and a lot of panoramic views of the city (hence everyone has an Instagram picture there).
12:30pm: To continue the theme of Guadi, I then went to Sagrada Família, a renowned unfinished church started in the 1880s. Apparently, the architecture is a mixture between the gothic style and art-nouveau styles, which I think is very visible in the picture I showed. The construction was interrupted due to the Spanish civil war and is predicted to be completed in 2026.
8:00pm: Later that night, I decided to make one last long walk through the city to go to a suggested restaurant called Pepito. Except once I got there, I was told it would be a 40-minute wait and my stomach was not in agreement with that. So instead, I went next door to an organic restaurant that had some unique choices on their menu. I opted for the sage-buttered duck ravioli and the cheesecake with homemade jam for dessert. Despite my obsession with watching the Food Network, I do not have much insight on my food other than the flavors were amazing and the plating was beautiful, especially for the cheaper price.
Danya's journey continues every Thursday so stay tuned!