Tag Archives: beach

NEU en Barcelona

When Jackie’s cousin Caroline and her boyfriend Brian were here visiting they had the opportunity to see Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona all in one fellow swoop across the country.  Upon their return to Madrid after visiting both of the cities I loved hearing all of their thoughts about the two very different Spanish cultures they had seen.  Since I lived in Sevilla for a month (over two years ago now!) and had already been to Barcelona during the fall semester, it was really fun with all of us already being familiar with the cities themselves.

But when we got to the topic of La Sagrada Familia, Caroline and Brian stared at us with shock and awe when we told them we had rented bikes, and thus not wanted to spend time waiting in the long line to go inside.  We had been contemplating the idea of heading back to Barcelona during the summer to experience La Barceloneta and the beach anyway, so when they told us it was the most beautiful thing that had seen in their entire life, we were sold on going back again.

I bought tickets online to enter inside the Sagrada Familia and we completely avoided waiting in any lines at all, definitely worth it.  I highly recommend purchasing tickets online here, since you have a one hour window in which you can enter, with unlimited time inside.  I thought the outside was impressive, but since it’s still under construction you can’t take in all of its beauty just yet.  On the other hand, the inside of the cathedral is absolutely incredible.  From the stained glass to the intricate ceilings and beautiful stone work, not one detail was left out.

Other than that reservation, we had no other plans for the weekend.  Since we had already had the opportunity to explore la Boqueria, las Ramblas, Camp Nou, Parque Guelle and the Guadi houses during our previous visit to Barcelona in October, we had a lot more freedom this time around.  We spent two long days at the beach and two long nights out experiencing the wonderful nightlife of the city.

    

We spent the first night at Shoko, a typical club of la Barceloneta neighborhood, located right on the beach with a terrace and the option to escape from the club to relax on the beach, which I of course took advantage of.  Since it closed early for our Madrid standards (3:30am), we slowly made it back to our hostel by walking along the beach and going for a late night swim.  We spent Saturday night at a huge festival/party/I’m not even sure what to call it at El Poble Espanyol.  El Poble is a village built during the Barcelona Olympics to showcase the unique cultures, architectures and foods of the different regions of Spain.  We didn’t get to explore the whole village, but we did see the huge Plaza Mayor and the Andalucian neighbourhood, which really did remind me so much of the small winding streets of Sevilla.

We ate amazing seafood, like garlic shrimp and seafood & chicken paella, vinegar mussels and fresh calamari, only fitting as we were finally near the ocean.  Before getting on our train back to Madrid on Sunday night we also enjoyed sandwiches from Bo d B, recommended by a friend of a friend who had previously studied in Barcelona.  For American tourists the sandwiches are nothing special, but I assure you that after a year without access to anything remotely resembling a deli, Panera, bagel shop, etc. it was the best sandwich I’ve had in a while.  Study-abroad students in Barcelona, I highly suggest visiting this place!

We returned to Madrid sunburned and exhausted, but so content with the wonderful weekend we had just had.  What made it even better is that we met up with friends from Northeastern, some that we hadn’t seen since we left Boston last year.  It was great to see you guys and I hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration, Bridget!  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend.  Ciao, amores:)

{buenos días, barcelona}

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paella con bea

  

Feliz Semana Santa!

Last night my roommate Bea showed me and a friend of her’s from class how to make paella.  She explained that everyone has their own ways of going about it, what vegetables to add, what order to add things in, etc, but she sticks to the way her dad has been making it her whole life and it was absolutely amazing!  She even called him in the midst of cooking to check if the chorizo sausage being spicy would change the flavor (it would, so we skipped on putting it).

After dinner we enjoyed homemade torrijas, which are basically slices of french toast toasted in cinnamon & sugar made out of a special type of bread.  They’re so common during semana santa (holy week), so Bea decided to make those too.  We talked about all sorts of things from our different cultures to music festivals.  I always like hearing people’s thoughts and opinions about different things, since we all have grown up in such different environments.

It was the perfect beginning to holy week, and I’m heading to Marbella tonight for the long weekend.  Thursday & Friday are both official holidays here in Madrid, so nearly everything will be closed.  We’re spending the first two days in a hostal by the beach in the old part of Marbella and then Saturday, Sunday & Monday with Jackie’s family.  I’m so excited to meet all of them and relax by the pool & beach all weekend.  It’s going to be weird not being at my house with my family for Easter, which makes me even more appreciative that Jackie’s parents have taken us in to celebrate the holiday with them!  A post with plenty of photos to come on Tuesday.  Enjoy your weekend & Happy Easter, amores:)

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vacación familiar en las islas canarias

If you speak Spanish, you’ll know that the title of this post translates to a family vacation in the canary islands.  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I moved to Madrid with about 12 of my very best friends.  It’s fun, totally crazy and comforting, even if it means I speak a little bit too much English sometimes.  A lot of the time it’s also pretty dysfunctional.  We’re just like a big huge family of twenty-somethings high on the lives we’re living here.  In short, it’s absolutely awesome.

The second to last week of class was jam-packed with homework, papers and study guides.  We were slaving away to the ICADE-beast with the end coming closer and closer into sight.

Two days later, shoot to the most deserved beach weekend of my life.  We took a late flight from Madrid to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria on Thursday night and spent all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the beach.  We napped in the sun a lot, but also went for a swim, explored a sandbar full of tidal pools, little waterfalls & all sorts of sea creatures, and played beach paddleball.  We also walked around the Garden City of Las Palmas – a neighborhood of old, beautiful homes with even more beautiful gardens.  At night we made family dinners and sat around playing some drinking games in the apartment we had rented.  Dan found an awesome 9-person apartment online that worked out perfectly.  There was a huge new kitchen that even had a washer and dryer!!  We’ve missed dryers so much that we did all of our laundry before coming back to Madrid on Tuesday morning (#studyabroadproblems).

  

It was so relaxing to just be at the beach for the long weekend with a bunch of my American friends; the perfect rejuvenation needed for the last week of class and a week of finals (which I’m in the home stretch of right now!).  Hope you’ve all been getting some r&r mixed in with the hard work you’ve been up to.  Ciao, amores:)

  

P.S. In case this post didn’t answer the question, here’s an interesting article about why being in your 20s is awesome? (Via SP&A)  Enjoy!

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