Whether it be social, recreational, or professional, some of what represents me is here. Post a comment, or contact me at should you so desire.

The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Three Days in Barcelona!

Ola! This past weekend, I had the chance to go and see the beautiful city of Barcelona and attend my friends’ wedding! It was a brief, but really fun trip, and I’d like to share it with you!

There was a lot of extra excitement surrounding this trip! For my girlfriend and me, this was our first time in Spain, in Catalonia, so we were really excited to add that to our list of visited countries. Additionally, a few of my fellow ISU classmates were joining us, and we were looking forward to catching up after almost three years apart.

The travel went well, after one initial hiccup. All of my tickets and email notifications said the first part of the trip was a flight from Strasbourg to Paris, but when we got to the airport, we found out that it was, in fact, a train ride. Back to the train station we went, and thankfully were not late.

We landed in Barcelona on Friday evening, and went straight to the hotel. The room was air conditioned, thankfully, as the temperature was an uncomfortable 30°C. Still, I took the time to look out from our balcony, and get my first real feeling for the city.

Don't worry, you'll see more, and better pictures, later
Barcelona is an old, but lively city. As you’ll see in my pictures below, the architecture provides an interesting juxtaposition as old forts are home to shopping centres, and castles house pubs. The sounds and activity of the people below fit into my preconceptions concerning the city; a place full of people and music. Late into the trip, I made a funny video for my friends, sort of a “trailer”, and I think it’s only appropriate to share it here and now.

My apologies for filming that sideways, classic mistake.

After that, we went out to meet our friends. I found the metro and bus system very convenient, timely, and well-run, except for the fact that buses only accept change, with no possibility of paper or credit. Seeing everyone again was a real joy, and I found it very nice how quickly we settled in. There was no awkwardness or hesitancy associated with being apart for so long. I was happy to note that everyone seemed to be happy, and prospering. I met a few new faces, and the smiles continued.

Photo credit: Prateep Basu
Later, we went for a walk downtown. I mingled, moving from person to person, enjoying the ability to catch up that a crowded table rarely provides. Drinks, more drinks (I had water, but my girlfriend and others had sangria and mojitos), and then some tapas! I had heard of it, but never had the chance to try. It wasn’t exactly the healthiest dinner I’d had in a while, but our potatoes and nachos certainly were excellent!

The following day, after breakfast in the hotel, we went for a walk to the beach! Juliette and I did not have any swim gear; her not being a real beach person and me not having the desire to swim, but we enjoyed our time anyway. We rested under an umbrella and talked and joked around while people took turns in the water. We took a walk along the water, and we managed to get some nice pictures.

Isn't she lovely?
This looks like I'm trying to mansplain the beach

At one point, a few of us moved off to grab a drink, Juliette’s pina colada sin alcohol was quite good, and so was my iced orange juice! After pleasant conversation, I learned that a friend of mine was making a change to seek employment more fitting in with his life goals. It was a big step, and a decision he had been considering for quite some time. I wished him luck and Juliette and I made our way toward the city. While the others were planning to be there for several days, Juliette and I were leaving Sunday and wanted to get in our sightseeing when we could.

Umbrellas in hand and sunscreen in place, we made our way through the hot, sunny streets. We saw some living statues, which Juliette really did not like, but I did admire their creativity, not to mention their endurance in surviving the weather. The streets were lively, with merchants, jugglers, and musicians. It was tough for me not to dance as we walked, a fact Juliette and her rolling eyes (and sly smile) did not fail to notice.

Photo Credit: J.G. Fender

Photo credit: Prateep Basu

There are many basilicas and cathedrals in the city of Barcelona. We did not enter any as the queues were quite long, but the exterior was quite picturesque.

Photo credit: Prateep Basu

Photo credit: Prateep Basu

Photo credit: Prateep Basu

Photo credit: Prateep Basu

Photo credit: J.G. Fender
"Hey Dallas, what do you think of the architecture?"

Returning to the hotel, we showered, changed, and made our way to the wedding. Now, I did not have the chance to review the history of the city, or the region, before the trip, but an important detail must be made mentioned here. You may have noticed that I mentioned Catalonia earlier, as well as Spain. This is because a sizable area of Spain, known as Catalonia, and many of its residents, see Catalonia as a discrete and separate nation.

Catalonia in red
There is a strong history there, with a unique language and traditions, and it was an important detail for the rest of us to consider as we were not attending a traditional Spanish wedding, but a Catalonian one.

However we label it, we cannot overlook the beauty of the venue. It was one of the most beautiful venues I had ever seen. A wall of flowers, beautiful trees, and a semi-enclosed area where the nuptial would take place, covered over by a splendid canopy, it was an impressive, yet refined and elegant locale.

We took our places, and awaited the event. The wedding went off without a hitch, mostly in Catalonian, but there were a few moments translated into English, which was very thoughtful. I don’t have any pictures of the bride and groom, as I was too busy enjoying the moment, and my other friend was recording the entire thing, but they both looked very lovely. His dark suit had a subtle paisley pattern, her dress was elegant but functional. She had a sort of Greek goddess motif to her dress and that of her bridesmaids, and I especially liked the golden wreathe she used to affix her hair in place.

After the kiss, we mingled and dined. The snacks were exquisite: bacon, and cheese, and shrimp, with wine and drinks always at hand. The dinner itself was as I expected; many courses, and all excellent…although I have discovered a food that is the nemesis to myself and Juliette; a sauce of tomatoes and strawberries, which I and Juliette dislike, respectively, that accompanied the first course. 

Toward the end of the meal, we called Isaac and Georgina over to present them with gifts. First, was the card we had all signed, and second was the envelope containing a 2-day spa package for two! One of my classmates had the idea of getting them a spa day, to help them relax after the stress of moving and planning their wedding. It was a lovely thought, and well-received.

Then, came the dancing! Oh, how we danced! We danced until 3am! The DJ did a good job going back and forth between genres, dipping into classic rock, pop. and back to samba every now and again. My friend recorded probably close to 5 hours of dancing, which he's compiling and editing now, so I may show you later. In any case, it was a lot of fun!

The following day, Juliette and I took a quick tour to the Sagrada Familia. With Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture, commenced in 1882, it was designated a World Heritage Site in 1984, with an expected completion date in 2026. It was very impressive to behold and my pictures do not do the building justice.

Photo credit: Prateep Basu

Photo credit: Prateep Basu
After that, it was time to go home. The travel back was very smooth, and we arrived in the late evening where we just collapsed on the couch. All in all, we had a lovely time in Barcelona. The city was beautiful and historic, the people were friendly and energetic, the food was delicious, and while the weather was way too warm, it was full of sunshine!

I am very lucky to be in a place (both physically and financially) that makes trips like this easy and convenient. I hope to do more traveling in the future, and look forward to sharing my adventures with you.

Thank you very much for reading, be sure to check out my other work on the left and right sides of this post, and try to stay positive out there, no matter how difficult that may be.

1 comment:

  1. miss you, sending some pics by facebook. thorough post as always :)