Forca Barca = Up with Barca!
A.K.A what Nicole and I were screaming at the top of our lungs at the Camp Nou Football Stadium on Wednesday night. That’s right! We were lucky enough to attend a real Barcelona soccer game. It was absolutely insane. We sat high up in the stands with the strong energy, loud crowd, and non-alcoholic beer (apparently their fans used to get so rowdy they stopped selling any alcohol, probably the smart move). We were even so into it we bought hats and scarves. It was a huge experience and a great way to start our trip.
From the Barca game Nicole and I slept in our (first and, unfortunately, only,) hostel. We were in a room of 8 people, 7 girls and 1 guy, and slept top and bottom to a bunkbed. The hostel itself was very colorful and young. They took their residents out for dinner and to the clubs and had different activities every night, it was a bummer we were only able to stay for one night.
Day 2 was our sight seeing day. We started at the ~famous~ Brunch and Cake and it was maybe the most beautiful food I have ever seen/eaten. I ordered a salmon burger on an avocado bun with, do you see the picture, strawberries and marshmallows for decoration on my plate. We ate like rich Instagram famous girls, the waiter tried out her California accent on us, and we saw at least 10 Weiner dogs waddling down the boardwalk. Win.
Our next stop was Park Güell. You might not recognize the name but I guarantee you would recognize pictures, the really pretty bench over looking Barcelona thats covered in beautiful stained class? Designed by Guadi? It was stunning, 70 degrees and packed with tourists just like us. Luckily, we found an open spot on the bench and tanned for near an hour while we, what else, people watched.
The next morning we walked to Las Ramblas Street. A street that seemingly goes on forever and is lined with an endless string of street vendors selling souvenirs, tapas and caricatures. We sat and ate humungous pieces of pizza, from the cute Pizza Circus found on a side street, while watching the vendors try to coax tourists in with their friendly attitudes and promises for uniqueness. We stayed stationary for a few hours, enjoying the views while recovering from our late night out. If you want to hear about more Airbnb problems we had (why do we suck?), I wrote about our second night in Barcelona at the bottom of this post.
Once we gathered enough strength, and endured the angry stares of the man who owned the restaurant we were sitting at for not purchasing anything but water for long enough, we made our way to La Boqueria, the Las Ramblas Market. Which everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone, would love. It was filled with hundreds of vendors selling huge slabs of meat, colorful smoothies, fresh empanadas, spices, hot bread, seafood, thousands of fish, fresh vegetables– literally anything you can imagine was bound to be somewhere in this market. We spent at least an hour walking through and getting samples of stuffed olives and peppers and cheese and freshly squeezed juices and looking through handwoven baskets and bracelets and wishing we had more time.
The 11 people we were staying at the Airbnb with and I went to a music festival called ‘Abroadfest’ hosted at several clubs along the water. I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating when I say every person who is abroad right now was there. I saw people from my high school, from MSU, people I knew through other people and people I had never met but also go to MSU. They brought out drunk Patriots icon Rob Gronkowski and played loud EDM music while the crowd danced with huge glow sticks and confetti in our hair. How ever you think it sounds, we actually had a good time.
Nicole and I left Saturday morning, missing the last day of the festival, to travel home to Thessaloniki so we wouldn’t miss a school funded-field-trip the next day. After about 10 hours of travel time and an AWFUL, rocky, terrifying flight from London later, we got home and passed out immediately only to wake up at 9am the next morning and bus with the rest of our program.
Stop #1 was the Edessa Waterfalls. About an hour drive from Thessaloniki, we stopped at a tiny town and walked through seemingly nothingness until we reached a mini Niagara Falls. An insane amount of water was coming off this cliff and spraying everything in it’s way. We were able to walk under the water fall and down to the bottom. It was stunning.
Stop #2 was the Pozar Hot Springs. The Hot Springs included 2 water fall mini pools on the edge of the river, 1 outdoor swimming pool, a track and a 5 hour hiking trail that led up the mountain. Everything thermal of course, because “not a chance any Greeks would be swimming in anything that isn’t heated at this time of the year” as my program director said.
Overall, it was such a fun week/weekend. And don’t worry Mom and Dad, I’m getting back into the swing of going to class 😉
Airbnb Thursday night:
430am: Miraculously found 10 of of the 12 of the group while trying to hail cabs to head home. We didn’t realize until arrival to the apartment that we had somehow lost the key in and the only person that had an extra was the 1 missing girl. We called, we texted, we pounded on the door, rang the doorbell, everything, until we resorted to sitting in the hallway, half of us passed out, half miserable.
6am: Walked to a cafe down the street and ordered coffee and toast. We sat around 3 tables in the otherwise empty cafe while a sweet old Spanish man filled our cups for free and brought us biscuits.
730am: 4 of us moved to a different cafe down the street and while Nicole and I ordered more coffee, 2 of our friends tried to buy alcohol to beat their hangovers, only to be denied by the liquor store because it was too early.
8am: Spencer, here on his Spring Break, couldn’t take it anymore and cracked. He bought a room at a hotel across the city.
9am: Everyone minus Spencer has migrated back to sitting outside our Airbnb when our neighbor comes up and asks us whats going on. We explain the predicament and this angel sent from God unlocked his door and says, “Well you can sleep in my apartment if you want” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
930am: 11 people tangled together on a pullout couch in a random Spaniards apartment while he goes to class.
940am: We get a text from the girl with the Airbnb key saying “I just woke up, where are you guys? I’m here”
945am: Passed out asleep harder than I’ve ever slept in my whole life.