Seven psychology students with a week off from class decided to embark on a vacation in Spain. I had an incredible time seeing the cities of Barcelona and Valencia, such an incredible time I am going to dedicate separate posts to the two cities. Here is the first half of my amazing trip, spent in the amazing Barcelona.
First, the adventure of getting there with planes, trains, and automobiles.
On February 20th we had a flight at 5:00 leaving from Eindhoven, which is about three hours away from Groningen. We hopped on a train at 11:15 thinking we had given ourselves plenty of time to make it to the airport only to discover what naïve thinking that was. We had to switch trains in Rotterdam but once we got there we came to find that the train we planned on taking was delayed. The only other train we could take would get us to the Eindhoven train station three minutes to 4:00. We would then have a 20 minute bus ride to the airport, adding in time waiting for the bus we knew we wouldn’t get there until 4:30. Problem: our gate closed at 4:30. We still had to get our passports verified and go through security. Fearing we were going to miss our flight we called our airline, Ryanair, to see if there was anything they could do for us like rush us through security. The first call we made was a blatant no. The second go around we were directed to call the Eindhoven airport. One girl in our group, Ramsha, was making the calls on one of the guys, Ken, cell phone. She dialed the Eindhoven airport, spoke with the individual on the other line for a solid minute only to find out that she didn’t quite reach the airport. Somehow she had called Ken’s mother and had a full conversation asking if she could hold the plane for us/rush us through security. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. Ramsha began the conversation asking who she thought was an airport employee if she spoke English, even verified that she was talking to the Eindhoven airport. I don’t know how the conversation went on as long as it did, but it ended with “why are you calling me on my son’s cell phone?” an awkward realization, and hanging up on Ken’s mother. Turns out there was something wrong with the airports phone number and it won’t receive calls from cell phones, so the call had ended itself and Ramsha’s face must have pushed on Ken’s most recent call and redialed it. Needless to say we never got a hold of the Eindhoven airport. With some quick thinking we realized our next stop on the train (before the Eindhoven stop) was close enough to the airport to hop off and grab a taxi. Hastily we called a few taxi companies until we found one that gave us the best deal and was willing to rush to pick us up. Finally we made it to the airport with time to spare, the taxi got us there 30 minutes before the train would have. After much concern that we weren’t going to make it to Spain at all, we were all ecstatic to get on the plane and fly to our vacation in the sun.
We rented a flat for our four nights in Barcelona, the self-proclaimed “Buddhist Flat.” Although ridden with quaintness and character, it was a little cramped for seven people. With only one bathroom that flooded every time someone took a shower and a kitchenette located in a cramped hallway we all got really close real quick.
Friday was our day to roam around without reason. The major thing we saw was Placa de la Sagrada Familia, or the Sacred Family. This is a main attraction in Barcelona, it’s a large Roman Catholic Church that has been in the works since the 1880’s and is still not quite finished. Although under construction when we saw it, it was still an incredible sight. The detail is absolutely breathtaking.
Saturday was the big day in Barcelona, 13 hours walking around and seeing so many amazing things. We began the day with a walking tour through the “old city” of Barcelona. We had the opportunity to learn so much history about the city, see gothic architecture, walk around the old Jewish quarters, and take in the city.
Our awesome guide
Picasso at his finest
Various stops on the tour
From there we walked Las Ramblas which is a long shopping street that ends at a monument for Christopher Columbus and leads to the harbor.
Mirador de Colom – Columbus monument
After that we had the opportunity to see inside of the catholic church and cathedral, another breath-taking sight.
After that we rushed to Font Magica de Montjuic, The Magic Fountains, and caught the end of the show. It was absolutely magnificent.
Sunday was spent walking through Parc Guell, a park designed by a prominent architect Antoni Gaudi. We were able to go to the highest point of the park and see an incredible view of the whole city of Barcelona.
The next day we were off to Valencia, to be continued…
“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of your journey.” -John Hope Franklin