After a slow and unsuccessful first night, we headed out into Barcelona with a mission on Wednesday. Our apartment was just a kilometer or so from La Sagrada Familia, the unfinished Roman Catholic church designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. It was a beautiful sight, but the cranes and surrounding construction make it slightly less attractive. It is predicted that the church will be completed sometime around 2026.
We spent the afternoon down at Las Ramblas, the most-known street in all of Barcelona. The streets were lined with restaurants, shops, and all of the basic tourist traps, but the architecture was beautiful and the people-watching was entertaining. The Boqueria is a large open-air market with anything you could want, whether planning for a large family dinner or just looking for a snack before heading off. We grabbed a handful of mojito-flavored gummis and made our way to the back where we spotted a restaurant with a sign that read, “Organic is Orgasmic”. The marketing pitch did it’s duty, as we shared a dish which included seasoned rices, queso, and vegetables all wrapped in a steamed tortilla. While in the market, we ran into Matt Schwartz and some of our CMF filmmakers from Emory University; proof that this world is smaller than you could ever imagine. We continued on our walk down Las Ramblas until we reached the water of Port Vell, where everyone can see the city allegiance to FC Barcelona, as Christopher Columbus points across the water while sporting a FC Barc jersey. A walk around the port and a stop at a park café helped us transition just down the street to the Picasso Museum. The museum was highly entertaining (and only 6 euros if under the age of 29) as it moves from Picasso’s childhood until his latest pieces. His story is told well, breaking down his work by seasons of life and patterns in his work. A few hours showcases some of his finest work, as well as a few unsuspectingly unique paintings that bring the heralded artist back to humanity.
Everyone I know that has spent time in Barcelona raves about the nightlife of the city; it’s a cultural point for many study abroad opportunities, although I’m beginning to question how much studying actually happens. I’m not into the crazy nightlife, but felt the need to embrace this culture. We rested up for a few hours before heading out around the standard Barcelona time; 1AM. Our first stop was Dow Jones, an American-friendly bar with the most-unique drink system. When you stand at the bar computer monitors flash rows of drinks in rows of beers, cocktails, and liquors. Next to each drink is a price and a stock quote. All drinks have a high and a low price, and the current price varies depending on demand in the bar. So if the 20-year olds next to you all buy mojitos, the price is going to go up a few euros, but the price of a 50cl Amstel Light is going to drop down until someone buys. At random parts of the night, the stock market crashes; sirens go off and flashing lights whirl around the bar. Everyone heads the bar and tries to get their orders in, as the prices for all drinks hit rock-bottom. This game-like strategy is very entertaining for all parties. After an hour at Dow Jones, Caitlin and I walked a few kilometers to Razzmatazz, Barcelona’s largest night club. There was a big party going on that night and if you got in before 2AM it was only 8 euros. Unfortunately, our walk got us arriving around 2:30AM, where there were still tons of people trying to get in (hence the Barcelona late-night culture). We pushed through the crowds and spent a few hours dancing amongst strangers. It wasn’t until a few hours beforehand that I had realized this night was going to help me cross of a bucket list item; go to a large rave. This party was anything but average and a lot of fun as confetti sprayed the crowds and people danced around as the DJ took center stage.