/Journal

Kicking Off in Barcelona
/ 19 June 2014

“When I was a child my father often used to take me along with him doing his hobbies ‐actually he is still. One of his favorite things to do is laying back while cheering to the soccer match airs on the television. It’s naturally in my blood to relate Barcelona with its glorious soccer team, the one that has un-messy Messi as a super striker, the Barça FC. As I grow older and do traveling a lot, I know that Barcelona is more than a stadium full of people like my Dad.”

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A clear blue sky is welcoming us to enter the city that once ruled under the Crown of Aragon – yeah, we also thought this name was just a fiction. For visitors, this city has translated into a very modern, yet incredibly old city to be seen in the 21st century, where the new elements work to both preserve and celebrate the ancient. We enjoy walking and sightseeing around the heart of this beautiful city, embraced by its warm weather, should we pity ourselves for traveling solo?

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World Heritage Sites for Free
Barcelona has a great numbers of museums, monumental architectures, and epic parks. We love a little touch of art nouveau that can be seen here and there upon the surfaces of the buildings.

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The fact that we don’t have a bag full of euros won’t stop the urge to gulp the beauty of this medieval city. What? Let’s just say that we’re too passionate to see all of miraculous architectures in Barcelona, which leaves us with no extra time for seeing details. Refutes denied. Not paying the entry fees doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate La Sagrada Familia’s exterior with no cost, right? This vertical awesomeness is still under construction after more than 100 years. It may be unfinished, but it attracts million of visitors every year as also the most visited monument in Spain. Gaudí devised a temple that is able to seat 13,000 people, with the highest central tower above the transept that representing Christ, and the other 17 in lower height. The 12 along the 3 facades represent the Apostles, while the remaining 5 represent the Virgin Mary and the four Evangelists. I can see his characteristic dislike for straight lines – he said nothing in this mother nature were created in a straight shape‐ but actually all I really see is a massive‐stunning sculpture grows out of a brownish stone.

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Thanks to whoever it was, the remarkable landscape gardening Park Güell remains free! We were finally able to greet the psychedelic mosaic lizard that guards the stair‐entrance to the dream house of Hans and Gretel. It really looks like a gingerbread castle mixed with a colorful tree house mixed again with Katy Perry’s California Girl music video. But it’s a park with green urban environment, a park! Yes, Park Güell is as surreal as my confusing description. From the broad open space on the top of the main building, you will see Barcelona like a groundbreaking masterpiece of art.

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Tapas Bills Add Up
Tapas are a wide variety of dishes that served in a small size of plate. So no wonder we didn’t realize it when and where has our money gone. The most common meal with Tapas concept, not saying they’re not famous, are churros, patata bravas, olives, anchovies, and chopitos. In Spanish, dinner is usually served between 9pm to 11pm, which makes a pretty begging‐belly gap after work until dinner’s ready. That’s why Spanish people hop from office to the bar, so that they can have tapas and good drinks. Since tapas are made so that people can build up a conversation with no need to focus at the food, sometimes some bars serve tapas for free. While they’re catching up some stories, laughing at friends’ joke, they will refresh their exhausted body with a glass of sangria or grape juice. Never tell people that you’ve been to Barcelona without trying to dip the genuine soft churros into a cup of thick and warm chocolate. It’s. . .merciless.

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Treasure hunting in The Maze of of Mercat de La Boqueria
It’s a famous large public indoor market located near La Rambla landmark. The market consists an explosion of antique‐interesting stuffs, street gourmet delicatessens, fresh fruit, butchers, art performers, and many tourists who are just in awe like us. We discovered a rose‐shaped ice cream called amorino. It sounds and looks like a romantic ice cream, and we will dedicate this discovery to the best chaotic crowd at this present. Present for this present, good choice of wording huh? Okay, forget it.

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Enjoy the Healthy Ride!
One thing we love the most about getting around in Barcelona is its reliable transportation system. Yes, Barcelona looks like a city full of historical things, but you’re wrong if you think we still need to ride a steam car or even a horse carriage. All kinds of public transportation have an easy-to-understand map, fixed schedule, stop for each nearby location, and they are all integrated in a good way. I happily choose bicycle, since I’m not used to left‐side driving. Bicing is a well‐known bicycle sharing system in Barcelona, they provide more than 400 stations for the bicycler to lend or return Bicing’s bicycle which are distributed throughout the system. It is suitable for a one‐way ride, because if I borrow the bike from X to get to Z, I can just return the bicycle to the station nearest from Z. All stations are just a feet from every metro stations and bus stops –since you can only use it for 30 minutes to dodge the extra charge– so this bicycle system is very advantageous for people like me who just want to hop from one place to another. I can enjoy the city whenever I have time with no worries. Let’s go exploring merrily! Get messy!

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Words and Photographs by Aditya Arnoldi

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