It only took about two and a half months but I finally decided to venture out of Italy! Spring Break has finally arrived, and I had been anticipating this since I booked it in January! I had heard so many crazy things about Barcelona as far as nightlife and culture, I couldn’t wait to spend 6 days here and see for myself!
The week leading up to spring break was more hectic than any week I have had since being abroad. Professor cramming in exams and assignments as well as dealing with transportation strikes had most of us study abroad students bustling to find time to complete our assignment AND pack on top of it. When Thursday at 1:30 arrived I could not wait to get on that bus to the airport and head to Barcelona!
So, we all know how my first experience flying went…I was a little bit nervous boarding a plane I only paid 30 EURO for. Shockingly, the flight wasn’t bad! I even got to sleep a little! It took us a little while to figure out the bus system to our hostel, but once we figured that out we entered what made half of my trip as good as it was. For anyone who maybe planning a trip to Barcelona I strongly recommend staying at Sant Jordi Mambo Tango Youth Hostel. The staff, the type of people it attracted is what made our trip as enjoyable as it was. Us four girls decided to stay in an 8 person mixed suite, skeptical about rooming with strangers…its part of the experience traveling the world. We got really lucky, because we met two boys, Belwin and Grant, from Australia who are enduring Europe through lesuire. They were genuinely nice people, probably the nicest I have yet to encounter not only abroad but in my entire life. The six of us became so close that other members of the hostel thought we have bene friends for years. The environment in Sant Jordi reminded me of Nichols College, everyone just gathered around the common areas and socialized, it was a very fun spirited hostel. Our hostel owner was someone who seemed like he was a guest at this very hostel, he was out-going, loud, hilarious, and very knowledgeable about Barcelona!
Our first night we decided to take it easy and go out for an authentic Catalonian meal, we stumbled upon this small Mom and Pop place that had a very welcoming atmosphere with jazz music and delicious smelling food. We open the menu and we were all puzzled on what to order, everything sounded so exotic and delicious. I chose a buffalo pastry puff with prosciutto and vegetables. We all sat and talked after dinner, and the owner of the restaurant brought us shots of authentic Spanish liquor, made exclusively in Barcelona….it tasted like gasoline. We called it a night and prepared for what was sure to be the craziest 6 days of my life!
As I mentioned earlier in my posts, there is no such thing as breakfast in Italy. I mean, there’s pastries and espresso’s and that’s about it. The first thing we stumble into when we set out to go site-seeing is a place exclusive to American breakfast. I think angels sang. We made this our breakfast place for the remainder of our trip!
We roamed around Barcelona, seeing parts of Las Ramblas (a commercial street for kiosks and Spanish food), and found Port Vell. This gorgeous port had sailboats, cruise ships and other marine garnishes everywhere! And the water was so clear that you could see the fish and sand sharks swimming from the surface! Taking in this scenery, we relaxed on the port for a little while and then headed back down Las Ramblas. I was amazed at the many assortments of Spanish food they had, one restaurant next to another all had striking specials that made our whole group desire this delicious food. Not mention, we were in BARCELONA who is going to leave here without having their famous Sangria? While taking in our surroundings, we spot what we have been deprived of these past three months – A DUNKIN DONUTS, and a Starbucks? Was this heaven? We sure thought so!
After a day of exploring, we decided it was time to sink our teeth into the nightlife people rave about. We found ourselves (after getting lost a few times) at a club called Shoko; also came highly recommended from a friend! Shoko was better than most clubs I have been to in Rome (and yes, this means significantly better than any club I have been to back home). The music was lively, and the club wasn’t filled with creeps! Drinks were kind of pricey, but they were definitely strong! The best part about this club is that it was right on the beach! When the club closed out, you can only exit through the beach side. This meant that there was about 2,000 people on this beach now instead of inside. It turned into an extravaganza at 5 in the morning! There were vendors walking around on the beach selling sandwhiches and beers to club animals that lingered out in the sand. The night ended back in our hostel at 6:30 in the morning, but we had a to rest up, the next day (Saturday) was St. Patty’s Day, and because of the expensive accommodations to get to Dublin we agreed long ago that we would bring St. Patty’s day to where ever we were instead. And oh boy did that happen.
Saturday, and headed straight to our favorite breakfast place and started our afternoon off with some Guinness. And then headed straight to Port Vell to continue our festivities! Our day was filled with card games and sun, making this one of the best St. Patricks Day’s and THE best day I have had abroad. St. Patricks day, as I expected, was not widely recognized in Spain, however, if you walk into an Irish Pub you would swear you were in Ireland! After “doing as the Irish” all day long, we decided to take a nap to recharge and then head out again for the night! A girl I was on the trip with had the last name of McCarthy, and ironically there was a very reputable Irish Pub in Barcelona called “McCarthy’s” we decided to go there until the clubs opened. Bars close, when the clubs open in Barcelona…yes this means we did not get into the club until 3-3:30 am. We chose to go to Razz-Ma-Tazz, a very famous club not just in Barcelona, but in Europe. Perhaps we should have gone on a different night, because this night in particular was pretty underwhelming. The club had 5 other clubs inside of it, so that made up for the horrible music the DJ on the main dance floor was playing. I actually got lost inside for a while, yes this was possible. There were directories showing you where you were and where the other clubs where located. If the music on the main dance floor wasn’t Indie Rock or Punk music (who plays that a club, honestly?!) Razz-Ma-Tazz would have been the best club I ever went to.
The next day we decided to lay out on the beach, some relaxation was certainly in order after our crazy St. Patty’s day! The beach was just GORGEOUS. The coast line looked like it belonged in a magazine. There were lively young people tossing footballs and girls tanning, and vendors circulating the beach selling scarves, sunglasses and beer. We didn’t spend our whole day on the beach however; we decided to further explore Las Ramblas! This avenue cannot be put into words, there was so much going on at once it was hard to stay away from all of the excitement. We got StarBucks and enjoyed the rest of the day, walking around and exploring. One’s natural mind set, is that it’s Sunday, and to take it easy. Well, our zany Hostel owner wanted to bring us to a club that he knew the promoter of. How can this be possible that clubs are even operating on a Sunday? Well, it was! We went to a club called Sweet and it was pretty intense. It was pretty upscale but very fun! They mainly played Latin music from main streem artist like Pitbull, and infused it with some house music beats. It was pretty insane considering it was a Sunday!
Monday came, our time was winding down at Barcelona. We chose to go ahead and sightsee! We discovered the open market on Las Ramblas, which I was blown away by. So many assorted candies, smoothies, fruits, cheeses, meats, chocolates and so many other mouth watering kiosks. Not to mention 1,50 Sangria! We found our way to some beautiful fountains and of course found our way into some shopping! We also made our way to La Sagrada Familia, and I was blown away. This was a gorgeous castle, in the heart of Bacelona. This amazing architecture is actually a church, which has been under contruction since 1882…and will continue until 2026. YES it is that beautiful.
Our hostel owner offered to cook us all dinner that night, without hesitation we accepted! It was 2 euros, and you get at least two servings! Done deal. This dish I would like to think of as a Spanish spin on Pasta Fagioli, it was DELICIOUS! Thoroughly satisfied, and ready to take one yet another crazy night in Barcelona! After dinner, one of the two Australian boys we met introduced us to a new card game called MICKEY! He in fact got the entire hostel involved, it was like Kings, only with dice, and a very dynamic set of rules that sucked in everyone’s attention! After this game we made our way out to my favorite place I went to in Barcelona, and so far in Europe – Boulevard.
We walked into to Boulevard unsure of what to expect, especially because our hostel owner, once again, took us here. This club reminded me of a far less sketchier version of a New Haven club. The music was on point, the drink specials were all night, and the people it attracted made this club everything a club should be. I made a lot of new memories and met a lot of people from different countries this night. After closing the club down, we bid Barcelona a farewell and left for Porto, Portugal the next morning!