Catalunya y Valenciana

Spain! I had been waiting for get to Spain forever. Ellie and I pull into Barcelona after a whole day of train rides from France. We arrive at our hostel, find out how truly miserable it is(the worst hostel we have ever stayed in) and immediately made a run for tapas and sangria. We found our favorite sangria bar and ordered a pitcher and it was some of the best sangria I have ever had. We were finally in Spain!

A short-list of our complaints about our hostel:
-they wouldn’t give us sheets, we got into an altercation about this
-Ellie’s top bunk bed was rotting through and she fell through and a wooden plank broke on my head
-There is no A/C in Spain in summer but there was also no fan or window so we slept only an hour at a time having to take cold showers all night
-There were no refunds and no receipts given
-Breakfast sucked and was all gone by 9am.

Aside from that Barcelona was pretty awesome. We saw La Sagrada Familia, some cool houses also done by Gaudi, and my favorite Gaudi piece which is Parc Guell.

Sagrada Família
Originally designed by Antoni Gaudí (1852 – 1926), who worked on the project for over 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life entirely to the endeavor, the project is scheduled to be completed in 2026.

The Casa Batlló

Hospital Sant Pau
This hospital, near from the Sagrada Familia temple, was built by Domènech i Montaner between 1901 and 1930. In spite of it’s an interesting touristic spot in town it still runing as an hospital today. The different pavillions are decorated with mosaics depicting mythological characters and some Catalonian history episodes.

Park Guell

A huge city park designed by Gaudi and one of our favorite spots in Barcelona.

This is the longest park bench in the world. It goes all the way around this open space and is made out of a beautiful mosaic of tiles.

The view from the highest point in Barcelona.

We went to the beach pretty much every day to beat the vicious Barcelona sun and every night we went to our favorite Sangria bar and had our pitcher of sangria.

There were a lot of cool sculptures all over.

Our last night of Barcelona was really memorable because we went to a restaurant which specializes in Spanish cheeses which is a dream of mine. The whole restaurant is based around cheese and we got a really great bottle of wine and a cheese board and some delicious pasta and seafood. It was fancy but amazing. Afterwards, we went to this great art opening in some one’s house where they had free drinks and everyone kept speaking Catalan to us. It was a really great night. Barcelona is pretty cool and we walked the whole city.

It was a little weird though how the neighborhoods that were considered off the beaten path were still very much on the beaten path with tourists. I think Barcelona in the summer had more tourists than any place we had been so far. The Gaudi art work and the Catalan language gave it a really good feeling despite the hoards of big family, Southern talking, picture-snapping Americans.


After Barcelona, we met up with Moon Sook in Valencia which is the last time we will get to see her on our travels. Valencia was really good. Hardly, any tourists and beautiful architecture and of course, it’s the home of paella. Paella is traditionally from Valencia and began when farmers used to take a big skillet of rice and meat to the fields with them to eat all day. Ellie and I arrived one night earlier than Moon. Our host canceled on us at the last minute so we got a 4* hotel room through for cheaper than a hostel.

We were loving the AC and relaxed for a bit before we walked around the city and went for some paella in the main square. It was pretty good and interesting to try something that is world-renowned in it’s place of origin.

Seafood Paella

Afterwards, we came home early to prepare to meet up with Moon in the morning. The next morning we met up with Moon and we walked around Valencia

We ended up going to the beautiful white-sand beaches during the afternoon siesta that the Spanish businesses take from about 2-5. The beaches in Valencia were even more beautiful than those in Barcelona and the waves were great.

It was a Friday night so we all went our later for tapas and made a great Valencia bar hop. Valencia had some of the best night life and it was so friendly and hip.

We really enjoyed ourselves and were sad to leave Valencia the next day.


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October 2008
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