Has it been a month here already?! I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by! There are so many things I love about this city. There are a few specific places that have really screamed “home” to me. After a long day in class or after a long weekend of travel, it is nice to see the familiar subway stop, or grocery store across from my apartment.
(1) The grocery store is a regular place for my roommates and me now. We go there just about every other day to pick up our meals for the night or grab a snack. We have also noticed that the same employees work there almost every time we go there so we have grown fond of seeing familiar faces. They know when we check out to ask us very slowly in Spanish if we would like a bag or not.
(2) Another place I have visited quite frequently is the beach. I come from a state where we don’t have beaches, so it is nice to have the opportunity on a daily basis to walk along the water. I tend to stop there after class and just walk along the beachfront area called Barceloneta.
(3) My roommates and I have been to two FC Barcelona games now and have had the opportunity to sit both up high and down low. From both perspectives, the games are just as exciting. We were literally YARDS from Messi this past game when we sat in the 5th row behind the goal. We were in a little bit of a celebrity shock.
(4) I haven’t been to one restaurant many times but rather a mix of many different places to try new things everywhere I go. There was a new place I went last week called Tacos Tacos. The boys in our group recommended it and it’s a very festive Mexican style restaurant. It has really vibrant colors and has a theme based around Day of the Dead. They serve mini tacos, burritos and nachos, so you tend to order a few at a time. They also have delicious margaritas!
(5) My roommates and I made a trip to Mount Tipidabo which was absolutely breathtaking. It is the highest point in Barcelona situated on top of a mountain. This hands down has been my favorite place so far in Barcelona. It has an amusement park as well as a large church at the top and is illuminated at night so you can see it from miles away. You can even see it when you fly into Barcelona at night. Not only can you see the entire city of Barcelona while standing up there, but you can also see neighboring cities and more mountains on the backside. I was lucky enough to go around sunset so we snapped some pretty amazing pictures of the sun setting over the mountains.
(6) Passeig de Gracia is also a place that my roommates and I have visited pretty frequently. It is a long road with stores upon stores. It is definitely the place to go if you want to shop. They have high-end stores like Gucci but then also some more affordable places like Zara or Mango. It is also just a nice street to walk down because it is so open and grand. It is adorned with a large fountain in the center that is all lit up at night along with the entire road.
(7) La Boqueria has been a popular spot off La Rambla which I love to stop by and purchase a 1 euro juice cup. It is a huge open market with fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, and more. It is so lively and colorful. It is a bit out of the way from my apartment, but is definitely worth the extra travel time.
(8) I would have to say my school is another one of my favorite places in Barcelona. There are two campuses, but I have all my classes at one campus so I don’t ever have to transfer between the two campuses. I have class in this BEAUTIFUL building that is part of a larger complex called San Pau Hospital. The architecture has such character and the building is constructed beautifully. There are many colorful tiles on the interior and even a little café to stop and get a café con leche (coffee with milk and sugar).
(9) Placa d’Espana is a place I have found myself ending up more often than not. I don’t necessarily plan to go there but for whatever reason I am drawn toward it. I have been there a few times for a couple of my classes, and also with my roommates. Placa d’Espana houses a few pretty monumental sites. It is right on the backside of Montjuic and the Olympic village. It is a large plaza with a central fountain that is beautiful during the day and at night. It has an old bullring that has been converted into a shopping mall that you can pay 1 euro to go to the top of for some pretty good views. It also has the MNAC museum, which is a Catalan art museum. It is a grand building located higher than the rest of the plaza and has a grand avenue leading up to its entrance. Along that same avenue there are these “Magic Fountains” that have an amazing water and light show but only during evening hours on the weekends. It is quite a unique place because the actual plaza is very updated and modern, but the minute you step out of the main area, it has very old neighborhoods that have a lot of character.
(10) The last place on my top 10 is most definitely my apartment; my home away from home. There is nothing better than walking into my second home at the end of the day and laying down on the couch or my bed. Not only do I love the “homey” aspect of the apartment but I also really enjoy the design and layout of it as well. I am lucky enough to have a balcony just outside my bedroom that is nice to just sit and enjoy a glass of wine on.
It is hard to narrow down all my favorite places but so far these have stood out during my time here. I am learning more new things everyday and I hope to continue to learn about the ins and outs of this city. I am excited to have a few visitors from the US visit me in the upcoming month and I am anxious to show them around and teach them some of the things I have learned here!
Bailey is a current student at St. Cloud State University studying at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain during the Spring 2015 term.