May 3, 2013 · 9:30 am
The last of my travel diaries (for now). Sigh.
- Barcelona is so beautiful. For my entire time in the city, the rain was torrential and the temperatures were chilly; even so, I was blown away at the beauty of the architecture and the incredible greenness within the urban environment. I loved the little art nouveau touches that were everywhere- it really is Gaudi’s city. Also, Barcelona’s set up gave me a bit of deja vu- the proximity of city and mountains reminded me so much of LA. A gorgeous, European LA.
- Our hotel! I was so thrilled and grateful to be a guest of my friend Sara and her family. We stayed at a spectacular hotel that was situated at the very top of Mount Tibidabo, which overlooks the whole of Barcelona. During those moments when the clouds cleared away, there it was: mountains, city, ocean. At night, it all shimmered. Watching those clouds come back in was pretty cool, too. And meals at the hotel all faced this incredible view, as did the pool (which was thankfully partially indoors).
- Parc Guell. I didn’t post too many pictures of the park today… only because I plan on devoting an entire post to it in a couple of days. It was truly one of the coolest public spaces in which I have ever been. The Gaudi influence was, of course, pretty awesome, but what was particularly wonderful for me was the tranquility of the space. It really is this lush jungle, and aside from the perfect view I kept forgetting that I was in the middle of a city. I was too busy chasing birds, scrutinizing dew drops, and smelling the wisteria.
- Mercat de La Boqueria. Once we read that Boqueria is the biggest market in Europe, it was a done deal. We were not disappointed. It was certainly chaotic, but in the best way possible. Stands upon stands of fresh fruit, smoothies, produce, and Spanish candies. Sara and I both got fresh watermelon juice, and she tried dragonfruit for the first time while I tried this Catalonian marzipan thing that basically blew my mind. We also ran into a couple other of girls from our university in Paris which was pretty funny.
- The food. The Spanish love to fry their food, which I wasn’t crazy about, but overall the foodie experience was pretty great. I couldn’t get enough of the fresh fruit- I don’t get a lot of it in Paris, because most of it is imported from Spain, which makes it pretty expensive (it’s still a little early for local fruit). Other favorites were mostly in tapas form: patatas bravas (potatoes with hot tomato sauce), champiñones al ajillo (mushrooms with garlic), and pimientos de Padrón (fried pimentos with sea salt). On our last night, we had a gastronomic multi-course meal at the hotel, and the chef was lovely enough to accomodate a vegan! I ate so well and it was a really wonderful way to end my last trip. Oh, and the sangria. Enough said.
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