Barcelona: Gaudí and Italian Lessons

FRIDAY IN BARCELONA:

After waking and showering, Katherine and I were excited to get a start on our Gaudí day!

We went in search of a cheap breakfast, so we bought a baguette from a bakery and a fresh tomato and fresh cheese from a market. We found a place to sit and enjoy our breakfast, and it was delicious!

The bakery where we bought the baguette!

This guy was awesome! And the baguettes… Yum!

Afterwards, we took the metro (I love the Barcelona Metro— it’s the most well-organized and cleanest I’ve ever been on!) over to what we thought was the closest stop for Parc Güell. We ended up walking for FOREVER (“forever” lasting approx. 2 hours), going around the hill before we finally got to the Parc, but on our way we got to see some beautiful views! (click link to see)

MetrooooooGreat views while trying to find Parc G.

The view from the very top of the hillThe closest I got to La Sagrada Familia.

Parc Güell itself was impressive, to say the least. Gaudí was brilliant!

I love his style, using organic shapes for his architecture, how imaginative he was, and all of the colors & tiles he used! His works look like something that would go really well in a Dr. Seuss book. And all of the tourists were going gaga for it— snapping pictures of everything, and I was no exception. It’s no small wonder why he’s Barcelona’s favorite son. One of my favorite parts was Gaudí’s Drac — the colorful dragon guarding the entrance to the Parc. It was such a mission trying to get a picture with it! You had to hurl yourself onto the Drac before the next person tried doing the same, and it was a madhouse. But I got my picture! Victory!!

That looks really safe!Chillin' with my old buddy Drac.

The Man lived here for 20 yearsThe famous tiled benches of Gaudí
The area under the famous tiled benchesGingerbread houses?
Entrance to Parc GüellEl Drac!!! :)

After leaving Parc Güell, we continued on our way downhill to see the Gaudí houses. When we finally reached the first house, it took my breath away. Casa Batlló was absolutely gorgeous! It was completely covered in the most beautiful mosaic of shimmering tiles that captured light and color differently depending on your perspective, and it reminded me of fish scales. It was waaaayyyy too expensive to go in (Barcelona is NOT wallet-friendly), but I really enjoyed what I could see from the outside.

After admiring Casa Batlló for a period of time, we made our way further South to Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera. We did go inside this one, because it has a really cool roof! It used to be an apartment building, but now serves as a tourist attraction and a kind of mini-museum to Gaudí.

La Pedrera

The inside was pretty neat — not a single sharp angle to be found! — but the best part was definitely the roof. Katherine and I had bought these pizza-type things from the bakery we had gone to that morning, and now we decided was as good a time as any to enjoy our late lunch. I mean, really late lunch. Yes, the sun was starting to set as we ate lunch. But that’s ok, I didn’t mind, given my aesthetically pleasing surroundings.

Coolest door ever.

The coolest location I´ve ever eaten at.
After our meal we walked all the way back to a large plaza called Plaça Catalunya, and when we got there we decided we were really tired from all the walking we’d done that day, so we took the metro back to our hostel. The meal we’d had on La Pedrera hadn’t filled us enough, and I had a huge craving for real pizza, so we stopped by an Italian restaurant and shared a delicious pizza as the 2nd half of our ridiculously late lunch. Even after that we both agreed we could’ve eaten something more, haha. There was just no satisfying us!

Fancy water fountainAnother goddessPlaça de CatalunyaEntrance to the Metro

We got back to our hostel and chilled there for a bit, recuperating our energy from the day. After a few more hours, everyone was starting to get ready to go out, but Katherine and I weren’t in the mood. I think she still had a half of her bread with cheese and tomato sandwich, so Katherine ate that, but I didn’t have any more food, so I went down to the corner of the street to buy something from this place called Ravi Kebab — similar to all of the Döner Kebab chains that have taken over Europe. I got a dürüm (Turkish word for “roll”), which is like a wrap, but stuffed with tons of pork, lettuce, veggies, etc.

Feast your eyes on the glory that is a dürüm!

After eating that puppy, I was definitely satisfied! Katherine and I stayed chatting with Mikael (fully clothed this time!) for a bit while I was eating my dürüm, and he tried to convince us to go out and party, but we just didn’t feel up to it. At this point, I had discovered that there were Brazilians working in the hostel, and I got super excited to practice my Portuguese with them. I ran upstairs to get my handy-dandy notebook so I could write down anything they might teach me, but by the time I had come back down they had gone. Alessio was working the receptionist desk for the night shift again, and I marched up to him and asked where the Brazilians had gone. He told me they had left to take the group of hostel kids out to a nightclub, and I was disappointed.

But then, I was struck with a brilliant idea: I might not have Brazilians, but I have the next best thing.

An Italian.

I then proceeded to order Alessio to teach me as much Italian as possible, and he happily obliged, because he missed speaking in Italian and it amused him to see me trying to learn it. Katherine, Alessio and I stayed up talking for a really long time, and at around 5:00 AM Katherine was starting to get sleepy, so she said goodnight and went to bed. I was so happy with all of the new Italian words I was learning that I stayed up chatting with Alessio and scribbling madly in my red notebook for the next 3 hours until the end of his shift. He was really surprised and happy with how quickly I was absorbing the information and learning it. By the end of his shift, I had 4.5 pages completely filled with Italian words and phrases! Afterwards, he left to go back home, and I trudged upstairs to my bed to nap for a few hours before starting the next day in Barcelona.

Alessio & me, sleep-deprived at 8:00 AM!

Alessio & me, sleep-deprived and making crazy faces at 8:00 AM

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