People watching in Barcelona

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People watching in Barcelona

The perfect people watching chair, in the middle of Placa Reial in Barcelona.

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Like riding a bike…

Having previously been to Barcelona and done a walking tour I opted for the bike tour with my sister and my best good friend.  There is the old saying, “it’s like riding a bike, you’ll never forget”.  This is all fun and games until you have to get on a bike for the first time in 9 years.  About 10 seconds into starting the bike tour I was in a serious dichotomy of pretending to crash to stop the tour, and actually crashing because I was that bad at riding a bike.  My noggin kicked in once I was going fast enough, but I still couldn’t help but look back at my companions and laugh, as they were all seemingly having the same interior monologue of cursing our decision to do something different.    Besides the fact that my sister is borderline Peter Dinklage height (hovering around 5ft) and could not reach her  bike pedals, the bike tour went  pretty smooth beyond the whole stopping, going, not getting run-over thing.

We covered a lot more ground than we would have and we got a free beach-side beer.  In hindsight, it also got us prepped for the crazy bikers of Holland, which I firmly believe would have ended with something getting hurt if we did not have the calmer streets of Barcelona to get back our childhood skills.  Along the way we had pit stops at various cultural parts of the city, including the Gaudi fountain, which in my eyes is second to only the famed Sangrada Familia in terms of his work.

On the trip we also went to the Gaudi park, which was beautiful, but way to crowded and seemingly overrun by gypsies, even for a 35C day. Another spot I was a fan of was the La Boqueria market which had an array of homemade juices, pork, and lunch items.  Very colorful, very inexpensive, very good.

Sagrada Familia, getting Gaudi in Barcelona

If I ever make a bucket list, mass in a completed Sagrada Familia will be up near the top.  I have been inside twice, and the second time was just as breathtaking as the first.  In terms of photography it has been overshot but that does not take away why it is one of the biggest tourist draws to the city of Barcelona.

While on a bike tour of Barcelona I talked about the church so much that it changed the plans of a few people that were on the tour.  If you are ever in Barcelona, this church is a priority of awesome touristy things you will talk about after your trip is over.

RazzMatazz… The best worst club I have ever been too

The saying “best club in Europe” gets thrown around a lot when you are traveling for a month.  It seems that every city has the well known clubs with the huge covers, huge lines, and way to many other Americans.

Razzmatazz was supposed to be the anti-tourist spot during our time in Barcelona.  An authentic Spanish night club loved by locals but not frequented by the endless sea of tourists that flock to Barcelona.  While discussing plans we heard things like “3 separate DJ’s, Crazy rooftop bar, cheap drinks”.  We went 0 for 3 in those categories.  Spirits were high on the line as we were walking in because no one was speaking English.  As we walked in a very eccentric DJ was on the main booth playing of all things a Miley Cyrus song (a guilty pleasure of mine when out) I thought of this as the best possible start.   We figured lets do a lap around the whole place before we settled in the first room, because there should be 3 DJs…  As we walked through the entire complex there were 0 DJ’s, and when we reached the rooftop section it was nothing more than a glorified smoking area with a halfway decent view.

At this point we are still good to go, I mean the first song was “Party in the USA”.  It’s the forth of July, things are good.  As we ordered our 9 Euro drinks (cheaper than the 10 Euro drinks from the night before) I had to laugh to myself, as I started to realize that the choice was not a wise one to leave the touristy bars that I love so much.  As we hit the dance floor we realize the DJ is a maniac.  He is rocking cut up skinny jeans, a tight tank top, a 5 o’clock shadow, and a perm.  He had a Mac and a huge fan directly in front of him.  His set would have made an amazing soundtrack for a 2006 chick flick, with hits from Katie Perry, Miley, and any other top 40 pop rock from the last 7-8 years.

The entire night he would pick a song from his seemingly female driven, yet impressive iTunes playlist, let the song play out as he danced in front of the fan that was next to his computer. He was clearly having the best time out of anyone in the club.  His hair was blowing the entire night.  After a few hours of nonsense, his dancing could no longer hold my astonishment and attention, and we had to try to get out of there.  Luckily before we started leaving the club had a forth of July celebration, where a bunch of 18 year old Spanish people were dressed in American flags and the entire club sang the national anthem, all to a permed backup dancer…

Lessons from this night:

1) I will never, ever have a perm

2) Someday, I might be able to use my impeccable party playlists to make it to the big show

3) Not even a great Gin and Tonic can fix some nights.

Loud, Obnoxious, & American… 4th of July in Barcelona

This trip to Barcelona was a much different experience than my trip last November, primarily because it was summer.  We spent the 4th of July on La Barceloneta, trying to be as American as possible.  It seemed that everyone there was holding something that was red, white, and blue.  One student from Texas thought well ahead when he packed for his study abroad program and had a 3′ X 4′ American flag.  He ran up and down the beach enough times to get a group of British travelers next to us screaming out lines from Team America.

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On the beach we sat next to a group of girls who were studying abroad.  Every 5 minutes or so 1 or 2 people would walk up to them, trying to sell them tickets to one of the many beach clubs or events that was going on.  My patience wore thin as one “beard growing, ripped pant wearing, guitar playing, spending mom and dad’s money to do nothing for a few months” moron was pitching how they shouldn’t be spending the 4th of July with Spanish people and that he knew of a party on a secluded beach that would be with a “bunch of cool, down to earth people, no bros or assholes”.  After sitting down and talking with them for a few minutes he said thanks and left them his Facebook email.  As he walked away he had some serious pep in his step and most likely gave himself an inner high five for how cool he was.

After about 2 minutes of planning in my head, I grabbed a beer and walked over to the girls, ready to throw them the best pitch they heard all day.  As I stopped I excused and introduced myself as a failed study abroad student who was now living the dream in Barcelona.  I immediately gained respect for the bearded kid from a few minutes ago, from a few towels over these girls seemed cool and collected, but I felt like I was about to get something thrown at me.  I talked for a few  minutes how my best friend (pointing at Joe) laying down a few towels over was a struggling artist but he was really good, and how we were putting together a beach stage for him later that day.  I stood strong for as long as I could before starting to crack up and tell them that I was kidding.  Luckily they started  laughing and I told them that they were actually making me feel bad about my beach body, because no one had invited me to any secret hidden beach parties all day.  I made a request that they throw some parkas on, and that might let them sleep on the beach in peace, although the tan lines would look weird.

As I walked back to my Midget sized, hostel beach towel, my sister had that look that I have come to love, the “What the hell is wrong with you” look.  I love you Barcelona, see you soon…