Good morning, friends! This week is going to be especially full and lively for me - it's the week of my 21st birthday (how did it get here so quickly?! how did it get here so slowly?!), it's the week in which assignments actually start piling up, and it's going to be a week full of surprises and wrap-ups here on the ol' PC.
Get ready, get set, and... go!
We'll begin this Monday with a final post on Barcelona, the city that effortlessly captured my heart and that has yet to return it. On our third and last day there, we woke up bright and early, and started a looooong trek to Parc Guell. Somehow, we had the genius idea to walk the entire day. The pedometer measured over 25,000 steps and was flashing the number so furiously, it's like it has never seen us walk so much before (it hasn't).
I consider myself to be quite the walker, but even I found this distance to be quite excessive, as we also added La Boqueria, stops at Zara and Mango, and the Barcelona Cathedral to our itinerary as well. Nevertheless, traipsing through more authentically Spanish neighborhoods was more than worth the future podiatry bills. Fingers crossed.
Parc Guell is gorgeous. It's a residential park designed by Gaudi, who we've already established to be one heck of a masterpiece creator. I think his work - and especially Parc Guell - can be described as a blend of Dr. Seussian whimsy, Candylandian colors and playfulness, and a decent dose of a unique Spanish touch - and with amazing panoramic views of Barca.
Next, we strolled all the way back down to Las Ramblas and the island of happiness right off of it - La Boqueria.
Chocolate covered strawberries, fresh squeezed juices and smoothies (pineapple and coconut was my favorite), Iberian ham and manchego cheese, salmon croquettes and calamari, and some fun chocolates as well - we had it all. If this isn't magic, then I don't think I'd like to even wish magic to be real.
After we fully and happily stuffed ourselves to the point of combustion, Nick dropped Lauren and me off at a Zara, where we browsed contently for a bit, before deciding that we needed a quick detour to the hotel for a nice little siesta. I mean, you've got to immerse yourself in local traditions, right?
Not long after, we once again relied on our handy dandy legs to take us to see the Barcelona Cathedral. We arrived minutes after the rain stopped, and were treated to a fading rainbow, a little reminder that nothing can ever be so beautiful as nature.
Except gin & tonics, which we imbibed before hitting up Ziryab, a fusion tapas restaurant. HOLY YUM, you guys. It's a tiny little restaurant that packs a whole lotta power - starting with their famous mojito and tinto de verano.
Would you please just look at this incredible spread? The left is a trio of dips - all really tasty. Then, there's a really flavorful halloumi. To the right is a cheese platter featuring a number of amazing goat cheeses. The one in the center was my favorite - the top was caramelized and honey-like, and so very good. And then on the bottom right is quite the little showstopper - a flavor bomb of caramelized onions, an addicting glaze, and a buttery, flaky cod. Once again, holy. yum.
I then insisted that we find some ice cream to cap off the meal, because a meal without dessert is like a country with no government. Complete disorder.
I chose Amorino, a gelateria that shapes your gelato into a rose. Presentation makes perfect, man.
And then, finally, because we realized that we'd be too embarrassed to go back home without any fun bar recommendations other than our hotel bar, we stopped by Espit Chupitos, a shots bar that came highly recommended to us by mutual friends.
Embarrassingly enough, we stayed for maybe 10 minutes. Something about the dark and the music and being with the youth made us miss our elderly traveling mentality. But we did try the Harry Potter shot (on the right) and the Boy Scout, which was my top pick. They set it on fire and give you a marshmallow to roast on top of it! I tried to eat the marshmallow and leave it at that, but the bartender gave me a stern look, and I had to act my age and take the shot as well.
Super delicious. Pure sugar and fire, but I'll take what I can get.
We cheers'ed to being a fantastic traveling trio, to a most stunning and wonderful city, and to a safe journey the next day.
With that, it was to all of Barcelona, a good night.