One of the coolest things about studying abroad is all the new friends you meet so quickly. On our first weekend here in Spain, five other girls and I decided not to waste any time and go take a trip to Barcelona. We were laughing at the fact that we had just met each other a week ago, and yet there we were already traveling together. I honestly think traveling with people is one of the easiest and quickest ways to bond, and I think we can all agree we bonded a lot that weekend.

Let’s just say we definitely didn’t have the best of luck throughout our little trip to Barcelona. Between a forgotten passport and wallet on the bus that almost caused us to miss our flight, a crazy woman on the bus cursing loudly in Spanish for an unusually long amount of time, getting off our bus way too early and having to walk an hour to our hostel at 2 a.m., and a stolen backpack in an empty cafe at 7:30 a.m., it was quite the interesting weekend. But despite all these mishaps, it was still an absolutely amazing weekend full of some great memories. Plus, we have since had some good laughs about it all, and definitely have some funny stories to tell now!!

Our first day was jam packed. When you only have two days in a city as iconic as Barcelona, there’s really no time to rest. In the morning, we explored La Boqueria market, walked along Las Ramblas, and explored the Gothic Quarter of the city, where we got to see the Barcelona Cathedral and listen to a street performer play some Spanish guitar as we took in the view. In the afternoon, we were able to go on a free walking tour through our hostel, where we got to see Gaudí’s famous Sagrada Familia (so impressive we bought tickets to tour the inside the next day, I can’t recommend it enough!), and also take a hike up to the top of a mountain where we were able to get an incredible panoramic view of the entire city and watch the sunset. Plus, before hiking up we stopped at a little convenience store and bought a bottle of cheap wine to enjoy at the top. ;) I think that was my favorite memory of the entire weekend. Sitting and watching the sunset over the whole city in the company of my new friends was unforgettable.

We also visited some of Gaudí’s other famous architectural masterpieces, including Parque Güell, Casa Milá - La Pedrera and Casa Batlló - all of which were beautifully unique in their own ways. I can easily say I’ve never been as impressed by any other type of architecture as I was with all of Gaudí’s amazing designs.

We ended our last night with another amazing sunset, but this time on the Barceloneta beach. It really was one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen, and there was even a rainbow over the ocean as the sun went down. Honestly, it was like something out of a movie. All of us Midwestern girls (plus one L.A. girl!) were just happy to be by the ocean.

Another thing I’ll add is that it was my first time staying at a hostel, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect because I have always heard mixed reviews about them. But honestly, I couldn’t recommend it enough! Not only is it cheap, but you get to meet so many like-minded, travel-loving people from all over the world. After returning back to Cáceres that weekend, I had made new friends from Portugal, South Korea, Australia and Argentina. Plus, often times hostels include a lot of really great perks. Not only did we have our free tours, but we also got free dinner, as long as we helped make it. We definitely took advantage of that, so Friday night we all joined in the little kitchen to make some Spanish tapas together. It was a lot of fun, and enjoying them over a glass of wine while talking to people from all over the world was so cool. Basically, if you’re trying to save some money and meet some really awesome people, hostels are the way to go They may not always be as glamorous, but they’re much more fun. You’re bound to make some memories there for sure.

All in all, it was a weekend for the books. Here’s some of my favorite shots. :)

*** I will update this post with more photos once I get the rest all uploaded and edited. Unfortunately my laptop is broken right now, so doing it all on my phone when I have thousands of photos takes quite some time!!! But there will be more to come :)

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© 2020 by Maddie Leopardo