jc travels

Across the Mediterranean

Sometimes when you’ve been traveling for so long, you forget to stop and really take it all in. Flying into Barcelona, looking over the beautiful coastline of city, the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, and the sweeping mountain ranges that border Spain, it felt like the moment I first flew into Europe about two months ago. It feels so surreal, being able to travel this much and see so many countries and experience so many new cultures. Definitely good to stop and count your blessings in between the hectic schedule every now and then.

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The Barcelona El Prat airport is pretty nice. Just from the airport itself, you know you’ve just arrived in a really modernized, urban city. Right when you get out of the gate, you’re greeted by shops of the local brands Mango and Zara. (I feel like I come across a Mango or Zara every 2 blocks here in Barcelona, haha).

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Walking to our place was really pleasant. The metro and bus system were really intuitive and efficient, and the big, spacious sidewalks were really refreshing after having to navigate through those narrow, cobblestone roads of Italy for the past week (charming, but inefficient). First impression of Barcelona: clean, developed, and friendly. Oh, that and I’ve never seen a city as proud of their local team as Barcelona. Their fan spirit here is unrivaled; I feel like more than half the men (or boys) that walk by me are wearing some sort of FC Barcelona attire (usually a jersey).

Our flat is located in Plaça d’Espanya (Spanish Plaza), which is one of Barcelona’s most important squares. It’s where the Castle of Montjuïc, Venetian Towers, and Arenas de Barcelona are located.

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First thing we did was drop our stuff off and explore the Spanish Plaza. We went to the Barcelona Arena first–it’s essentially a shopping mall with 5 floors. The bottom floor is food, second and third shopping, fourth a movie theater, and the fifth (roof top) is filled with restaurants and bars.

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From the rooftop, you can get a pretty good 360° view of the Spanish Plaza area. The rooftop is definitely the coolest floor, hopefully I can come back and try out one of these restaurants–I’ve got my eye on this one called Lalola. It’s so adorable, reminds me of a restaurant/jazz lounge you’d see in New York City out of some 90′s flick like You’ve Got Mail.

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We went out to track down this one restaurant, Bosque Palermo, because word on the street is that they’ve got the best paella in town. And what do you do when you’re in Spain? Eat lots of paella. We bust quite the mission to try to get there, fighting with a stubborn cell phone signal and intermittent rain showers. When we finally got there, we found that it was closed for the holidays. Oh no, has my bad luck with restaurants followed me all the way from Italy? I was more than bummed out. Except now, instead of seeing the usual three words of disappointment that I’m used to (chiuso per ferie), it’s in the form of “vacaciones hasta el 12 de septiembre”. Sigh, too bad I won’t be in Spain by that time. I think I’ve now developed a fear of lone sheets of paper taped to front doors of restaurants.

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Down the street, there was a tapas bar, Cata 1.81, that had some good reviews about it so we ended up having dinner there. The inside was really chic and modern. Apparently they are more of a concept restaurant, putting modern spins on traditional Catalan dishes. I was pretty happy with our experience here. We ordered 6 tapas: sausage catalonia, patatas bravas, croquette with chicken and onion, thai salad with chicken wings, macaroni with white chocolate/truffle oil/red sausage, and cod fritters. All enjoyed with a glass of white wine. My favorite of the tapas was definitely the macaroni. I don’t know how they made white chocolate in pasta taste so good, but whatever they did was a stroke of genius.

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Ended the night with a stop back at the arena to pick up a drink from Smudy (such a cute name when you say it aloud!). I ordered the Yummy, which is a blend of strawberry, banana, mango, and milk. It was a deliciously perfect balance of flavors. Not too sweet, and relatively healthy for a smoothie considering there was no ice cream or ice blended in. I might even go as far to say it’s better than Jamba Juice–and this is coming from someone who likes Jamba Juice maybe a little bit too much, having worked there for 4 years haha.

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Did another rooftop run just to catch a night time view of the Spanish Plaza:

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Had a rainy walk home with an overall content stomach and curious excitement about Barcelona and what else it had to offer. It’s good to see you again, Spain.

1 comment
  1. Samantha789 says: December 21, 20169:22 am

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