September 17, 2012

Confessions of the Euro-fluenced: Days 71-72

Well, after waking at 6 in the morning and taking the taxi to the bus to the metro to the plane to the train to get to the next hostel in Barcelona, we very quickly realized that our luxurious Toledo-hotel-vacation-by-the-pool was over. It was great while it lasted.

We finally arrived in Barcelona, tired from traveling, but eager to see the city of which we had heard wonderful things about. And while Barcelona was indeed very beautiful and unique,  we realized our expectations had been a bit high.

Actually, we found Barcelona to be an unexpected surprise. 

For those of you unfamiliar, Barcelona is most famous for its very unique, and sometimes gawdy, architecture (so sorry, pun  intended). 

(If you don't get it, don't feel bad!? I wouldn't either. Just read on.)

The brains of Barcelona's architecture was a man by the name of Gaudi (pronounced by most Americans as GAW-dy).  The history books say his style was controversial, and certainly, witnessing it in person, I could see why. They call it the modernist movement. I call it, well, bubbly, colorful, slightly psychedelic, and most like a bad dream.

What was Barcelona thinking when they allowed Gaudi to design the city?

Don't get me wrong, I'm the first one to call something super ugly and still actually love it. I'm all for weird, being out of the box, being different. These types of things stretch us and help to make life interesting. 

But even I wonder what kind of substances Gaudi and his friends in high places were using when they made such decisions.

 Barcelona's political substance abuse epidemic is even more evident when visiting Parc Guell, one of the city's largest parks. Supposedly, the park was initially designed so that rich folk could build their big houses around it. That never happened, and instead, the park continued to grow in a mismatched, hodgepodge sort of way.

After a very warm welcome upon entering the park on the escalator (refer to escalator picture below), we soon discovered many potential reasons as to why those rich folk never built those big houses. As much as the park deserves to be made fun of for it's patchwork gawdiness, and for as strange as it is, we both actually had a great time exploring it. It's like we never knew what to expect when we turned the corner.... Another candy house? Or roman ruins? Or three stone crosses on a hill? Maybe even Mickey and Minnie?

You just go ahead and enjoy the pictures and assume that any building which looks slightly different is part of Gaudi's modernist movement.

We decided to utilize the hostel's kitchen and make our own meals most nights. However,  we did have our fill of tapas and fruit juice at a cozy vegetarian joint called Juicy Jones. I very much enjoyed drinking my freshly juiced apple juice, while Andrew enjoyed his carrot-orange juice. 

I think when I grow up I'm going to buy a juicer. Weren't they trendy in the 80s?? That sounds about right.... Time to bring them back.

Other than that, and of course living off of little to no sleep thanks to our 10 partying room mates (seriously, what is there to do until 6 in the morning??) Barcelona was anti-climactic. The one thing we had been looking forward to, walking down exciting Las Ramblas, turned out to be nothing but a very, very long tourist trap. I'd take Parc Guell over that any day!
>Food .5
>Location 1
>Activities .5
>Comfort 0
>Hostel 0
The Turner FLACH Rating? A gawdy 2 stars.

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