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Barcelona, the city of excellent beaches and fantastic weather! My first weekend getaway while studying abroad was to the lovely city of Barcelona. My friends and I spent 4 days/3 nights here and left wondering how quickly I could come back.

We arrived on a Thursday afternoon and found the transportation from the airport to our hostel quite easy. We grabbed the train from the airport into the city before switching lines and grabbing the subway/metro to our hostel. We stayed at the Casa Jam Hostel and loved it. We arrived about 2 hours prior to our check-in and the receptionist welcomed us in, gave us a map and a quick rundown of how to get around and what monuments were nearby. We stored our luggage and hit the town. We walked down the famous Las Ramblas, stopped in a couple shops along the way, grabbed a bite to eat and spotted a few famous Antoni Gaudi architectural works. Before sunset we ventured to the Montjuïc hill via the Telefèric de Montjuïc (cable car) to snag a panoramic view of the city. Conveniently located near the cable car station was the 1992 Olympic Park. We took our time walking around the park visiting the stadium and the torch. While on our walk home from the Olympic Park we walked through the Plaça de les Cascades where we also grabbed €5 takeaway sangrias. Later this evening we ate tapas at Restaurant El Glop which was conveniently located beside our hostel. Considering that prior to visiting Barcelona I had never tried tapas, I really enjoyed our seafood tapas.

Friday morning we got up and spent our morning on a 3 Hour Guided Biking tour of the city. This was a great and fun way to see Barcelona. Our tour guide Lorenzo was amazing and definitely made our experience. We were in a group of 10 people and Lorenzo took the time to get to know all of us. He was entertaining and hilarious. He even took my BeReal for me! On our tour we visited the beaches, La Sagrada Familia, the Gothic Quarter, Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona, and the beautiful Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella. Pre-dinner we grabbed some sangria and appetizers at the Hotel Colón Barcelona rooftop bar. I could have stayed here all night. The weather, the food, the sangria and the energy in the air that night was immaculate! Later we headed towards the beach for dinner where we indulged ourselves in yet another lovely tapas dish.

On Saturday we got up early to visit Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia. Park Güell is just as beautiful as it is in pictures and it could easily be considered the 8th wonder of the world simply due to its architectural complexity and attention to detail. Just as equally breath-taking was the inside of La Sagrada Familia. Originally we were not going to go inside but our bike tour guide recommended it so highly that we decided we should. I am so thankful for Lorenzo! Easily La Sagrada Familia was one of the most impressive architectural structures I have ever seen. Every detail is so intricate and precise, no wonder it has taken them 140 years to build and they're still not done. We opted for the self-guided audio tour and I would highly recommend this option. It was easy to do. You just download the app, bring your headphones and once you're in you can start at your own leisure. The audio guide starts from the past, speaks of the present and delivers their plans for the future. La Sagrada Familia is truly an amazing structure! On this night we went on a Tapas and Cocktail Walking Tour! Our group for this excursion consisted of individuals from London, Berlin, and America and everyone became friends by the end of the experience. On this tour we visited 4-5 bars where we were fed all kinds of food (not just tapas) and what felt like bottomless wine and sangria. For anyone traveling to Barcelona with their friends, I would highly suggest this tour!

We spent Sunday traveling back home to Florence, Italy while we reflected on what an amazing first weekend getaway we experienced. All I could think about was when I was going to be able to come back again. Everyone in Spain was friendly and welcoming to us and encouraged us to immerse ourselves in the culture of Spain. Spain, I cannot wait to see you again!

Fun fact: The famous architect who is responsible for all of the famous buildings in Barcelona is Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí purposely built the Sagrada Familia to be only a few centimeters shorter than the tallest hill in Barcelona. Why!?? Because Gaudí believed no one and no man-made object was above God. This means he didn’t build the church to be higher than the hill because the hill is a symbol of god and his man-made cathedral is not above God.

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