Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day 45: Evan in Barcelona

Last weekend I went on a trip with my friend Alicia to Barcelona, Spain. The reason it took me this long to make this post is

A. This has been my first full week of working and it's been pretty busy.

B. I took a shit ton of pictures that I had to navigate through and download on to my computer.

Please note that most of this blog post will be pictures so if that is the kind of stuff that disinterests you then kindly skip this post.

So here is my review of my experience in Barcelona before we get into more detail with the pictures. Barcelona was such a fantastic time. I've been very fortunate to travel this past summer and go to all these different music festivals and have all these wonderful life changing experiences. That being said, Barcelona was the first time in a couple years where I felt like I was on vacation. Just pure relaxation and fun. The cities architecture was beautiful, there are tons of things to do and eat there, and the night life is pretty wild. If there is one thing I'd complain about Barcelona is that almost no one spoke Spanish. It has become such a big tourist attraction that even though you're in Spain at some points of the trip when you're surrounded by a ton of people and in a city like setting it can be easily forgotten where you are.

So there are three main ways to travel to Barcelona from Madrid: 1. You can fly 2. You can take the train 3. You can take the bullet train. 
We took the bullet train.
Bullet train was 80 euros there and back which is slightly more expensive than taking a regular train but cuts down the travel time from 8 hours to 2 hours and yea we could have flied but... bullet train. I mean come on. I've never been on a bullet train before and we had no idea what to expect from this experience. Well basically it's like being in first class on an air plane. It felt very luxurious from the seats to the interior decoration. Every time you traveled from one cart to another there were these clear thin automatic doors that slid open that seemed super futuristic. Yes, I definitely walked back and forth through them a couple times. There was a nice full bar like every three or four carts which inexpensive drinks and snacks. It never felt like we were going fast unless you stood up and even then it wasn't too challenging making your way to your destination. The only thing that I think was really missing, although extremely trivial, was outlets to charge your electronic devices. Although not super important it seemed strange that such a high class train with all these amenities would leave out such a basic thing. In any case the travel was absolutely gorgeous. We got to see the different terrain that was in between Madrid and Barcelona and everything was so vast and beautiful. So many small hidden towns in mountains or in small patches of area on the way there.

A lot of this trip was set up and put together by my friend Alicia. She had lived in Barcelona in the past and was extremely familiar with its inner workings which came into great use when it came to booking things and find locations (so if you're reading this Alicia thank you!!!) One of the places she found was a hostel called Bed And Bike. Now this would be my first time every staying in a hostel. Now, I wasn't afraid to stay in a hostel at all but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little nervous. Not for my own safety or anything but you always here horror stories of all your stuff getting jacked when you're not around and this and that so I was a bit timid of what I was about to get myself into. In some hostels I'm sure I have a good reason to feel this way but with Bed And Bike that is just not the case. It was a big, clean, and really nice looking hostel with the friendliest people working there to help you with any need you might have. With every stay they had bikes that you could rent out for free which is pretty awesome even though we never took them up on that offer. They had a big kitchen with a big fridge where anyone could store their food along with a microwave, stove, and oven for cooking. As well as a big lounge area to relax and chill with a tv that was always playing some old school VH1 music. The rooms we stayed in ourself was a long room with about 6 or 7 bunk beds. Once you are checked in you are assigned a specific bed that is yours until you leave. Also in this room is a free locker you can claim to put your valuables in, we made very good use of this locker while we were there. Attached to this room was a unisex bathroom and shower area where anyone could go in at any time to do both. Odd but ya know, I went to college. I met some fascinating people from around the world. Each one of them had their own interesting story. Some of them had been traveling for a couple years just backpack around the world. Would definitely return to that hostel in a heart beat.

As some of you might know by now I have a huge love for street art. It is probably one of the best and most modern ways to express artistic value along with sending a message. What makes street art so valuable is that a lot of it is time limited. They get covered up so quickly you only are given a certain opportunity to see them before they are erased from history. That is such a crazy and wonderful concept. There was plenty of street art in Barcelona but I only took a picture of this one which was a couple feet from Bed And Bike. Talk about a picture is worth a thousand words. I stopped a stared at this almost every time we were in the area just soaking in, appreciating, and thinking about the message that it was giving. Try as I might, I couldn't find who the artist was who created this beautiful work but I think that's ok. Maybe that's the point.


So we got there Thursday mid-day and we decided that we weren't gonna do any crazy amount of traveling/sight seeing until the next day. So Thursday was all about settling in, eating, and then clubbing. I think I've previously mentioned this before but I'm not really big into clubbing. I use to be at one point but back at home for me was all about going to shows with my friends. None of the electronic artists I saw were at clubs because it was such a different culture. Call me pretentious, but it was a lot better of a culture.  In Spain though, when you're 18 - 30, you either go to a bar or a club, that's just what you do. Barcelona especially is world renowned for their club scene so as my Spain experience as a whole is a 'When in Rome' it was obvious to embraces the an important part of Barcelona's culture. The clubs.

All the clubs are right next to each other in Barcelona right on the beach. It's was awesome because you could club hop all night and then spend the rest of your night getting drunk with friends on the beach. You never had to worry about not having alcohol because if you chill on the beach long enough dudes will walk by selling you beer for a euro a pop. One of the clubs that I felt a certain obligation to go to was Pacha. Pacha is a really big part of New York City's club scene. I have been their multiples times in the past when I use to go to clubs. They got really big name artists but the club was tiny and they always over packed it. It also brought out (now there is no way to really say this nicely) scumbag bros and prostitots. Scumbag bros as in, I'm gonna get drunk and inappropriately touch girls without their permission and fight every guy I can and prosititots, which are 15 year old girls with fake IDs who dress and look like their 20 year old hookers. In any case I thought because Pacha was so big in NYC I thought I'd see what it was like in Barcelona. So I got Alicia and I in for free ( cause I'm cool like that ;) ) As you can see in the picture when you get to the club it's the small glass box you enter where you take a long escalator to the underground. This club was much bigger for one things with a lot more design and light set up. Although it seemed to attracted what seem to be a younger crowd you can tell culturally, that the kind of people it brought in were not the same as what you'd find in NYC. In the end, we weren't really feeling the music or the vibes so we didn't spend much time there before we decided to bounce.

I didn't take many pictures at the beach because I was there at night time and my camera just doesn't take great pictures in general so the night isn't excluded from that feature. I think this was something I should of thought about before moving to a new country to do a lot of traveling. Maybe that is something I should invest in or convince someone I love to get for me for my birthday *cough* hi mom *cough * hi dad * cough* The beach was utterly beautiful as you might expect and it was long but not too long which made walking it pretty easy. On the beach itself as you walked it were these different types of architectures built for display which were odd but also cool to look at. One of my favorite things I found as you can see was this random but awesome looking rope jungle gym to climb on. PS Alcohol + jungle gym = no bueno. The W building in that first picture is called, yea you guessed, it's called 'The W Hotel' and costs a whooping 400 euros a night.... yes, a night.



This was the reason for my trip to Barcelona. This was one of my bucket list goals in life. Salvador Dali is a surrelist painter and my number one favorite artists of all time. Words can't even describe how utterly weird, interactive, fantastic, amazing, (thesaurus outstanding) of a museum this was. Hands down the best museum I've ever been to. Dali himself help put this museum together and it is extremely obvious. I took a lot of pictures I'm about to show you and you should know even with all these pictures it doesn't even cover half of what was seen there with the hope that this will inspire you to go out of your way to check it out yourself.

The museum is located in a town called Figueres which was an easy hour and a half train ride from Barcelona.

This looked like quite the moooooovelous hotel. Thank you, I'll be here all week.

These came up at red lights so you can't speed through them. We need these in NJ and NY.

Oh hey Dali, what up!?

Figueres was the first town in Spain that felt like a super Spanish town. The architecture and vibe really made you felt like you were surrounded in the Spanish culture. It is a very small and quiet town in comparison to Madrid and Barcelona. But a lot of people were out and very friendly. I decided to not take a lot of pictures of the town so I could save my battery for the museum.

This is the front of the museum

This is the back of the museum where you actually enter from.

Well then.. lets jump right into it. 

The next 5 pictures is one of two courtyards in the museum. This one being the biggest one.

This was a gigantic mural. If you really want to grasp the size compare the picture to the people.

Here's it more up close. 

Fun fact: Salvador Dali is buried in the middle of his museum. Here's his tomb!

Yea. Idk.

So this happened.

The museum is huge. It's about four floors of goodness.

So in this room you walk in and see a bunch of stuff on the floor and it has steps in front of it. When you walk up their is this special mirror with hair around it and when you look inside it puts a face together. Super duper awesome.

 Below is probably my favorite piece in this whole museum. I couldn't even fit in one pictures the vastness and beauty of this huge mural that was on the ceiling in one of the rooms. The imagery and color use is just impeccable. I actually sat down for and just stared at it for a while because of how lost I got in its beauty.

This reminded me of Beetlejuice. Wouldn't be surprised if Tim Burton found a lot of his inspiration from Salvador Dali.

Also one of my favorite pieces of work that I now have as an awesome T-Shirt.

This led to one of the floors

Many people don't know but Dali was very much into stones and jewelry and made a lot of it. Here is one cool one I took. Unfortunately I couldn't get many more pictures because my phone was dying so the jewelry section is just something you'll have to go and see yourself.

Like I said, my pictures barely cover everything that you saw and got to do in the museum. There were parts where you had to put your face up to the glass to obverse an image in different ways. This museum was just everything I was looking for in getting to understand (or attempt I suppose) to understand the weirdness and brilliance that was Salvador Dali. If you haven't seen it, Walt Disney and Salvador Dali made a short animated video that's about 6 minutes long called Destino. The music and imagery is amazing and it's on Youtube for free! Check it out here:


Sagrada Familia

This was the other reason for my trip to Barcelona. This was also on my bucket list, although it was probably the newest entry on there. I first learned about this church from my friend Andy at my going away party. He showed me a picture and I just knew there was no way I was going to miss it. This was actually located in Barcelona and only 10 minutes from where we were staying, very convenient!

The Sagrada Familia is a large Roman Catholic church designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. They started building the church a 100 years ago and it's still being built today! Supposedly around 2020 it should be fully complete. Gaudi and his work is a huge presence in Barcelona but in my opinion this is probably his greatest piece. You definitely do not need to be religious to appreciate what this church has to offer as you're about to see.

The church is essentially a mix of old school and new school architecture and looking at it, it is pretty great to imagine what kinds of tools and technologies evolved over time changing how the completion and look of this church went about.

The outside of the church

This is what you see when you walk in

You can access the top of the towers in the church by taking an elevator with a group of 8 at a time.

As shown by Alicia here, when you get to the top of the elevator there is still a tight corridor to climb to reach the very top.

I don't know how well the pictures show it by you are very high up. I really enjoyed the view but my severe issue with heights got me extremely anxious and I didn't spend a lot of time up in the towers.

Free sermons are offered in the church as well.

The box head man reminded me of Dali!

Going on a Saturday was a tough choice. Soooooooooo many people.

There is a large underground to this church that I believe is only accessible by the Vactican where special sermons are held. It very deep down.

Sagrada Familia was definitely one of the most beautiful and complete pieces of architecture I've ever seen. I'm really happy I was able to go inside and experience it in person.

Parc Guell

Parc Guell is a well known park in Barcelona home to one of the many houses Gaudi has built all around Barcelona. A large park that was built in a very complex way that seems to be the signature of Gaudi.

One of the entrances to the park.

The is this staircase rock mound you can climb and when you get to the top you can see the rest of Barcelona. 

This was a huge platform really high up.

Gaudi's house.

Last but certainly not least! Here are some random shots I took of Barcelona while we were traveling around the city.

Someone did a great job drawing on my cappuccino. 

REAALLLLLLLLLYYY expensive apartments.

Another awesome house designed by Gaudi.

Not sure what the building is next to the Gaudi house but it's pretty cool looking too.

This is a fountain that supposedly if you drink from it you're guaranteed to come back to Barcelona at some point in your life. I drank from it.

Clothing store. I just love the art design.

This was a really big food market that you could literally get any type of food for a pretty cheap price. Needless to say we pigged out.

What a hoot!

Needless to say I had an incredible time in Barcelona and I already can't wait for the next time I return. I highly suggest making the trip at some point because it's well worth the experience. There is so much to do and never enough time to do it all! This weekend is Tapapies so expect another blog post to come soon.