This past week went by so quickly and was a whirlwind because I felt like my two worlds, my one here and my one from home, collided together (but in a good way)! My uncle, aunt, and family friend came to visit me on Thanksgiving and for the weekend. It was so comforting to see them, and have family here, as this was the first time that I was away from home for Thanksgiving. My uncle and aunt have been to Barcelona in the past, so I tried to come up with an itinerary that was not for the typical first-timer tourist.
However, once they landed and I met up with them, it became clear that they did not want a jam-packed weekend filled with activities. They wanted to eat, drink, and relax during this vacation, which I was not opposed to at all :D. On Thanksgiving day, we first went to lunch at Bar Mut for tapas. As a budget conscious study abroad student, I was so excited for a weekend full of wonderful meals. We got tapas such as foie gras, butternut squash risotto, and egg yolk with shrimp which were a satisfying change from the typical croquettes, calamari, and patatas bravas. They were all seriously amazing, and I am drooling just writing about them. Then we made our way to Passieg de Gracia to see the exterior of La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, and then all the way to Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter. It was a little annoying that the sun set so earlier, but the Christmas lights all over the city had finally turned on, so it was actually a very beautiful and festive walk. Our thanksgiving dinner was at La Paradeta, which is a restaurant where seafood is made to order. The setting was a little casual, and though I love seafood and the food was great, it cannot compare to some good ole’ turkey and mash. What can I say? You can take me out of the US, but you can’t take the American out of me.
The next morning, my family met at Quimet & Quimet for lunch. It is in the Poble Sec neighborhood which I haven’t explored much of yet, so it was cool to see. They had these amazing bocadillos, which are sandwiches, with many different toppings on them. My favorites were the smoked salmon with truffle honey and yogurt, and the brie with onions and mushrooms. After, my family and I separated, and they went to visit the inside of the Sagrada Familia, while I went Black Friday shopping. I had no idea that Black Friday existed in Barcelona, but it was great because I have not done much shopping yet since I’ve been here. Most stores in the city center were 20% off the whole store. Once my family finished the tour, we met at Pl. Espanya since they also have not visited that yet. We were a little early, so I showed them Las Arenas as well as brought them to the top where MNAC was, to get a view of the city. Finally, we saw the light show at the Magic Fountain. It was such a relaxing way to end the day. For dinner, we again walked to Poble Sec because there was an area full of pinxtos restaurants. We decided to do our own “pinxtos crawl”, and visited three different restaurants trying a couple of pinxtos at each place. I had so much fun getting to try a different form of tapas.
Lastly on Saturday, my family had a late start to the day because they slept in. In the early afternoon, we met up at La Boqueria again, to purchase some Iberican jamón, which Spain is known for. Lunch was at Tapeo, which had some delicious and different tapas. My favorite that day was the squid ink fideua (nom). I would totally recommend this place! We then explored El Born neighborhood where we staked out at this bar called, Creps al Born. The atmosphere of the place was super fun and happy. The bar consisted of really friendly and outgoing waiters, amazing cocktails, and upbeat throwback music. At around dinner time, we left to see the Santa Maria del Mar church before walking along Barceloneta beach. The beach was so peaceful and empty, which is a nice change from the summer crowds. My last meal with my family was at a random restaurant we chose near Barceloneta. I ended up having paella noodles which were delicious, and a variation of paella if you’re sick of regular kind.
At the end of Saturday, I was sad to say good-bye to my family, since they were leaving early the next morning. Though I went to places that I had already visited that weekend, I was able to explore new neighborhoods and try new restaurants and foods. It was actually somewhat of a vacation for me too. Along the trip, it was also interesting and surprising to see how much I actually knew about Barcelona, and how much insight I could give to my family. I was showing them a little piece of me, and the home that I’ve made here. Though it’s only almost been three months, I feel like I am a local in the making. Talk soon!
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<p>Hi! My name is Chirlien and I am a native New Yorker, going to school at the at the University of Rochester. While I am a science student, I also really enjoy writing, photography,and journalism. I am so excited to be studying abroad in Barcelona this fall. Come with me on this journey as I try to learn the ropes of Barcelona's unique culture and people-hopefully I don't get too lost!</p>