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Barcelona, tapas, and free hotels!!! July 19, 2011

Posted by Andy Barrenechea in Travel Log.
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Buenos dias, amigos!

It’s been a few weeks since we last talked, but just yesterday I came back from Barcelona for my last 4-day weekend and I have a few things I’d like to share, because to tell you the truth it was a fantastic trip! :)

So, the journey began with an early departure on Thursday morning via a TGV to Paris for Bastille Day, otherwise known as the French Independence Day. All GTL students had been informed that there would be much celebration in the nation’s capital, so we figured it would be a great experience to see how the French celebrated their “4th of July” on the 14th of July. We arrived in the morning and immediately started searching for a good spot to watch the parade down the Champs Elysees, and it was surprisingly difficult to find a good viewing spot, but thank goodness we didn’t need one to watch a magnificent display of French planes that flew over the crowd – check out some pictures:

A few of the many planes that flew over us.

Horses at the parade!

We were not able to stay for the concert and the fireworks because we left early to Perpignon, where we would spend the night and depart to Barcelona early Friday morning. We arrived to Barcelona shortly after noon and went straight for the hostel, which turned out to be a very nice place (Sant Jordi Sagrada Familia) and then walked “5 manzanas”, which actually means 5 blocks, to Sagrada Familia, the famous Gaudi-designed church in Barcelona. Take a look:

That's Sagrada Familia, still under construction after 100 years, in the background.

From there we went to visit Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s giant soccer stadium (the best team in the world, in my humble opinion) and participated in the Camp Nou Experience where we got to see the FC Barcelona museum, the stands, the locker rooms, and even a chapel located in the players’ tunnel. Check it out:

It's known as "La Orejona".

That means "More than a club".

This chapel is actually located in the players' tunnel.

On Friday night we went to a hilltop where we saw the sun set over all of Barcelona and it was beautiful – unfortunately, I did not have my camera with me! On Saturday we had planned on going on a bike tour, but were late to the meeting point, so we walked around the city instead and were able to explore the beach, the main port, Las Ramblas, and enjoy a fine Spanish lunch consisting of “paella” and “sangria”, a classic Barcelona combo! Here’s a picture:

On the Barca coast.

In the afternoon we visited Gaudi’s park, where we saw some of his masterpieces, and then had dinner at an excellent “tapas” restaurant, and ended the night by listening to a street performer play his guitar who ended up being an American citizen himself! Here are some Gaudi pictures for ya:

Those are Gaudi's famous arches.

Gaudi's house...very Disney-esque!

Finally, on Sunday we went as a group to mass at Sagrada Familia, which was quite a moving experience, and took one last group picture in front of the Spanish “Arc de Triomphe” with our excellent tour guide, Mo Khosravanipour:

The group on the last day!

Finally, no story is worth telling unless it ends on a happy/funny note, so it turns out that we took a train back to Paris to then take a TGV back to Metz, but the train to Paris got delayed 50 minutes and made us miss the last train back to Metz. However, and thankfully, there is a man whose name is Andres Borda who negotiated with the conductor and amazingly managed to get the SNCF (French train company) to pay for a night at a free hotel and breakfast so that we could leave the next day on the earliest TGV back to Metz! Thus, although at first it seemed that 21 GTL students would be hopelessly stranded in Paris, the story turned out just fine and yet again we completed another week in Europe, all members accounted for. I will be writing my final post in about 2 weeks, so stay tuned to see how this crazy Euro trip ends…I promise it’s going to be an exciting finish to the “Tour de Europe” ;)

Hasta la proxima,

Andy

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Comments»

1. Java's - March 4, 2012

nice view…
i wish one day i’ll be there


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