Zainie’s Spanish travel diaries: Beating through Barcelona

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[quote]By Zainie Qureshi
Opinions Writer
Graphic by Drew Danko, Photos by Zainie Qureshi[/quote]

Nine hour flight, five hour layover, five hour flight, 30 minute cab ride, and finally I arrived to the first destination of my Spain adventure, Barcelona. I forgot to mention that I, being as smart as I am, left my coat at home. (I mean it can’t be that cold, right, it’s Spain! Yeah, no. That was a huge miss on my part.

The weather seemed to be a reoccurring theme throughout our stay in Barcelona due to the fact that we sat on the top deck of a double decker tour bus for the most part of the day. Things were flying out of hands, hair was coming out of ponytails, not in the cute, messy way, and sunglasses were falling off heads; to say it was a little windy would be an understatement.

Although, of course, I can’t complain, the city we saw through the tour bus was stunning. The hundred-year-old buildings with people still living in them, the scenery alongside it with ivory climbing up the corners of old cathedrals, and tall trees framing the path walks were all major contrasts to the cornfields of Illinois.

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At first, we rode around in the bus for its whole route to get a feel of what exactly we wanted to see within our two days in Barcelona. Then having mapped out what we were going to do, we got off at all the right stops and went to some of the city’s most notable attractions such as the Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that’s constantly been undergoing construction for over 130 years. You can see where all the different architects came in and started their part of the project because of all the different artisan styles incorporated in the structure. We stopped at a port called the Ramblas de Catalenes, which had a strip of restaurants along the sea on one side and on the other it had a huge shopping area along with rides and other activities suitable for most everyone.I have absolutely no shame admitting that I went on a children’s bubble boat ride, whoops. Another thing I noticed as I was there was that no matter how old a building looked on the outside the inside was typically fairly updated and modern. I later learned that was because after time the insides became too hard to maintain and they would have to reconstruct it entirely. However, due to how much history the outsides held, they decided against tearing it all down and rebuilding it to look modern and sleek, which definitely added to the area’s character and vibe.

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The tour bus was by the company “Hop On, Hop Off”, which is also back home in Chicago, if you’re ever looking to see more of the city. Basically, there are multiple bus stops located throughout the main city area based around primary sightseeing spots, and once you get a ticket, it’s valid for the whole day or the following two days, depending on which one you purchase. You’re able to take the bus all through the city and get off on a specific stop and venture through and learn more than what the recordings on the bus give you.

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Overall, the city was gorgeous, the weather was gorgeous, and oh, yeah, the boys, they were also pretty gorgeous.