For many years now I’ve been fascinated with the subject of human geography. My favorite class in all my 17 years of schooling was the AP Human Geography class I took in 10th grade. I remember being captivated by the stories and pictures I’d seen of people living thousands and thousands of miles across the globe from my sheltered northern Indiana town. Life in these parts of the world seemed so different from everything I knew. Having never even left the contiguous United States, it was almost hard for me to fathom that these people and places I was reading about even shared the same planet that I did. Ever since that class, the number one item on my bucket list has been to leave the country and experience another culture. This year, netlogx afforded me the opportunity to finally check that item off my bucket list and head to Barcelona, Spain for a week of experiences I will never forget.
After weeks of flight booking, Airbnb searching, and planning, my girlfriend Sarah and I finally hopped on a bus to O’Hare where we were to catch our flight to Barcelona. As with any major trip/vacation you take, something is always bound go wrong, and we did not get off to a great start. Our flight was scheduled to board at 9:00pm and leave O’Hare at 10:00pm. We ended up being the last flight in the entire airport to leave as we were forced to switch planes twice, change gates three times, and eventually took off a painstaking four hours later at 2:00am. Surprisingly though, this was the only real hiccup we ran into on the entire trip.
We landed in Barcelona around 4pm local time, made our way through security, and continued our trek to the Airbnb. After riding the airport metro to the closest station from our Airbnb, we walked up the steps to the street level and the first thing I thought to myself is “oh boy, what have I gotten us into?”. The crowded, bustling street was so much more intimidating than I had imagined it would be.
Here we were, two physically and mentally exhausted 22-year-old Americans with only a very basic understanding of Spanish, trying to navigate the winding streets of a foreign city. We knew the area of Barcelona we were staying in wasn’t the most “touristy”, but I don’t think either of us realized just how residential it was. We stuck out like a sore thumb as we rolled our incredibly loud suitcases through the residential streets and drew unwanted attention to ourselves. We finally reached our Airbnb which was on the top floor of an apartment complex with a balcony that looked out over the city. We met our host, Anna, she gave us some maps of the city, and then she left us to rest for the evening after our marathon of a travel.
We spent the next week traveling via metro, bus, and our feet to all the major destinations in Barcelona. We went to the beach (many times), Picasso Museum, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Arc Di Triumph, Mercado de La Boqueria, La Sagrada Familia, and so much more. My favorite parts of the whole trip, however, were spending an entire afternoon walking through the gorgeous winding paths of Parc Guell, taking an open bus tour around the city, and of course, the food. Parc Guell is a beautiful park that sits atop a large hill overlooking the city. From the top you can see most of the city and you can even see how fascinatingly laid out the streets of Barcelona are. The open bus tour was fascinating as well. It was a hop on / hop off tour, so we were able to get around to many great locations while absorbing the breathtaking scenery. And the food was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. From tapas, to fresh seafood paella, to pastries, it was all incredible. I believe I said to my girlfriend multiple times on this trip “This is the best bite of food I’ve ever had.” And it was so incredibly affordable as well. I was astonished by how much high-quality food we could buy for so little money.
I could talk for hours about all the destinations we went to and all the food we ate, but I believe I have a word count limit that I have already exceeded. This was a life changing experience for me and one that I will have to experience again. As my colleague Tyler predicted, I have absolutely caught the travel bug and am already planning my trip for next year. Thanks to netlogx, that’s one more thing checked off the bucket list.