Saturday, April 1, 2017


>>> Hello Besties and Hello Barcelona <<<

Remember that one time I went to Ireland with my BGSU best friends? Well, after that five days was too many days apart, so we met back up in Barcleona, Spain last weekend. 

Kelsey, Mary, and I got into Barcelona late Thursday night. Their flight from Madrid landed about a half hour before mine, but by the time I switched terminals they had waited almost an hour for me. Thanks for that, pals. After figuring out the night buses that would take us to the center (not our proudest public transportation navigation experience) we finally made it to our hostel around one in the morning. 

We stayed at the Hostel Sun & Moon... it wasn't my favorite hostel, but I've been to some really great hostels and some really terrible hostels this year... this was neither extreme. It was 10 euros per person per night with a modest breakfast included, and the location was hard to beat in the Gothic Quarter right off La Rambla; I'd say it sufficed. 

Oh yeah, this part isn't cool 
It's worth mentioning that this was the first time I've experienced travel semi-injured. Wednesday night, the day before I left for Barca, I took a rough hit in a soccer game coming out for the ball. I got the ball, but the girl definitely got me as well. Immediately after the hit my right shoulder was throbbing. My natural reaction was to stand right up, but when I put weight on my right shoulder to stand up, I immediately went back down in loads of pain. Cue lots of tears, mostly for the pain but partially for the disappointment because this is NOT the time in the season to get hurt. 
My team cares about me a lot, so they insisted I get x-rays immediately. This went against everything my "shake it off" upbringing taught me, but after putting up all the fight I could, I realized they weren't going to let me talk them out of it. I pride myself in being pretty tough, so I guess if I were in their shoes seeing me cry like a little girl was probably a terrifying testament to how badly I was hurting.
Anyway, the doctor more or less said I was fine, and just needed to ice religiously and take 7 to 10 days of rest. He said I injured the ligament between my shoulder and my collar bone, and gave me pain medicine. Cool beans. For me, this was all I needed to hear. I'm not broken, therefore, I am fine. Right? Not exactly... Traveling with a hurt shoulder was low key the worst.
In less dramatics, being injured meant my teammates had to finish a tough game without me. It also meant a painful momentum shift for us at a really crucial point in our season. It meant my teammates took me to the hospital at midnight on a school night, and translated everything for me the whole time. It meant feeling super sick because of the pain medicines to the point that I couldn't take them anymore, and relied on Ibuprofen to get me through the weekend. It meant sleeping terribly because every movement caused me to wake up in intense pain. It also meant majorly regretting saying "No" when the doctor asked if I wanted a sling. Luckily, I'm turning the corner and feeling a lot better now, but this was definitely a worst case scenario. 
Moving on.... 


 was high key gross... It rained on us from morning to night, and as optimistic as we were, it was still a pretty miserable experience wandering through the streets of Barcelona in the pouring rain. In the morning, we toughed it out and headed down La Rambla to the coast. We enjoyed a covered street fair when we got there, and it was fun to see the little trinkets for sale. We let ourselves be saved from the rain at a few points throughout midday and the afternoon by wandering into La Boqueria, a really amazing street market full of fresh foods, and finding a nice place for lunch in the Gothic Quarter. At lunch, I quickly realized how far euros stretch even in "an expensive city" in Spain, and that was really nice. Throughout the Gothic Quarter, we also enjoyed browsing our way through a number of cheap clothes stores. It's a good thing I'm working with luggage constraints because otherwise I could've definitely justified a few of those dresses at the prices they were selling for. 
My raincoat has lost most of its waterproofing abilities by this point in the year, by the way.

Chelsie met us in the evening on Friday when she was finally able to fly in from Nantes, France. Then, we spent the rest of our night more or less hiding from the rain inside a tapas bar where we found great paella for dinner, and then back at the hostel where we met some new friends and played a pretty memorable game of Heads Up!. As a side note, I think every British bachelorette party in Barcelona crossed paths with us that Friday night... It was so very strange and so very entertaining to observe.

Saturday was everything I wanted my time in Barcelona to be

We started our day early, knowing we had ambitious goals for this one day of beautiful weather. First off, we looked online and got our hands on tickets for Sagrada Familia for the afternoon. Then, we headed to Park Güell. These tickets can (and should) be bought ahead of time as well, but we got there early enough in the day that we only spent about fifteen minutes waiting in line. The tickets were for the next hour, which gave us just enough time to locate some churros and chocolate, a Spanish specialty that Kelsey and Mary are definitely spoiled with in their study abroad.
Apologies for the terrible snapchat filter on this... but really, this is heaven.
Barcelona is littered with Antoni Gaudí's art... It's great stuff because it's pretty weird, but it's definitely not boring. Gaudí's Park Güell is beautiful, and if you're with friends who like relaxing and walking through pretty parks, I definitely recommend stopping by if you ever find yourself in Barcelona.

Here are pictures from our visit to Park Güell:


After Park Güell, we made our way down to La Sagrada Familia. This cathedral was absolutely amazing. Its construction was started in 1882, and it has yet to be completed to this day. I think the aspect that I found to be most interesting about Sagrada Familia was the interaction between the style on the outside compared to the inside. I'm not proud to admit I'm probably competing for the least educated traveler when it comes to architectural styles, I suppose art history in general, but maybe some of you will understand what I mean.

Here are a couple photos to illustrate how amazing this place is:

After being touristy inside Sagrada Familia, it was about 3pm, which seemed like a perfect time for a picnic lunch. We headed to the Carrefour right on the corner, then we found a great spot to enjoy sandwiches, strawberries, and snacks with a perfect view of the cathedral. Picnics aren't uncommon to me while traveling because we end up saving some money and getting to enjoy the cities a bit more, but I have to say this was definitely my coolest picnic yet.

I think we spent about an hour and a half in this spot just enjoying the beautiful weather and yummy foods. We played Barcelona by Ed Sheeran a couple times throughout that time, and particularly enjoyed trying to capture a short video of Kelsey and Mary acting out the lyric "dancing around La Sagrada Familia".

Once we were sufficiently stuffed, we headed back to our hostel. We definitely talked about siestas, but I can't recall whether we actually took naps or not. I think we did. 

Our hostel had a cool deal with a restaurant nearby, so for dinner we went and enjoyed a full meal for the price of one drink (they did specify that it could be anything besides water). This was great for all of us except Kels, but being vegetarian and allergic to tree nuts naturally creates limitations. 

After the dinner, we continued our evening at the hostel for a bit. Everyone had plans to go to a discoteca, but I knew it probably wasn't a great idea to join. I needed to leave the hostel at 4:15am to get to the airport for my flight to Venice, Italy, and it was also the night of the "spring forward" time change... this meant I was effectively leaving the hostel at 3:15am, and people don't even go out to discotecas until around that hour to begin with. I did sacrifice my sleep to join the girls in heading to a fun shots bar, where the walls are lined with all different types of shots you can order. We tried the boyscout shot, roasting marshmallows over a fire on the bar before eating them and taking a sweet shot. There was another shot where you drank through a straw from a flaming orange... I don't really understand the point of these, but whoever comes up with them has quite a wild imagination. Study abroad is all about experiences, so I'll add this to the list of them I suppose. 
Boy Scout shots
I'm not sure why fire is so involved, but this was fun to see as well.

After the shots bar the girls walked me back to the hostel before heading out. They got home just a bit before I left the hostel, so it wasn't a huge night for them either, although everyone had a great time. 

I was definitely tired heading to Venice, but a really nice thing about having traveled so much this year is that I know myself pretty well. I can power through tired travel days because the cities and experiences are always so worth it. I slept the entire flight Barcelona to Venice, asleep before takeoff and until landing.

That's all! Thanks for reading! My Venice blog will be up soon! 

Love, Jules

"Wander with wonder and the whole world becomes home." -TKG
There's no one I'd rather spend rainy Barcelona days with. (:

P.S. My shoulder is feeling significantly better, and I'm optimistic in my ability to play decently tomorrow. I have a team dinner tonight, and our game is tomorrow... We've worked so hard leading up to this game, and I've definitely been feeling nervous all week. Wish us luck!

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