What a busy little bee I’ve been the past two weeks, travelling to two major Spanish cities: Barcelona and Valencia.
|As excited to tell you about my escapades as I was |
when I was stood outside La Sagrada Família
First, I’ll tell you about Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, famous for its art and architecture. From where I stand it certainly lives up to its reputation of being a cultural gem. In the short time I was there, I got to see the fantastic works of Gaudí including his Casa Batlló, Milà (also known as La Pedrera) and of course La Sagrada Família - the unfinished yet stunning basilica. We also visited the incredible Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia, toured the gothic quarters of the city, wandered around the famous market, bustled our way down La Rambla, and tried the traditional Barcelona foods.
|Gaudí's Casa Batlló|
|Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia|
|Gaudí's La Sagrada Família|
As part of the Erasmus experience, we took part in a gigantic flag parade through the city, painting flags on our faces to represent our home countries. We began at the beautiful Arc de Triomf and under the rays of the sun made our way across the city.
|Representing Northern Ireland, England and Poland|
|Notice the independence flag with yellow and red stripes, |
and a blue triangle with a star in the middle
I would absolutely love to return to Barcelona for a third time because it’s so beautiful everywhere and there is still so much left for me to see! I’d love to wander around Park Güell, Parque de Monjuïc the inside of La Sagrada Família and other works of Gaudí as well as returning to the parts I’ve already visited and discovering more fantastic places to eat and drink.
The following weekend, I travelled with Sasha to the wonderful city of Valencia. Convinced that nothing could now top my weekend in Barcelona, I was quickly proved wrong… The buildings that make up the city are just as beautiful, and the atmosphere during Las Fallas was just something else! During the festival, each district of the city proudly displays a professionally made structure depicting various characters, people or animals. On the last night of the festival, each of the sculptures apart from the winner gets burned to flames while the townspeople gather round to watch and cheer.
|A selection of some of my favourite Fallas, |
especially the one featuring Donald Trump
The last days are spent celebrating with parades through the main streets, where the roads are closed off so that people can oogle the townspeople dressed up in traditional Valencian clothing – floral fitted dresses and suits, lace, jewellery and spiral hairpieces – who are followed by bands playing traditional music.
The most famous parade is known as the Ofrenda, where they walk towards the Plaza de la Virgen to offer flowers to the Virgin Mary. After the last day of the festival, we visited the square and sure enough there stood proudly a giant Virgin Mary made only of flowers!
|The building of the Virgin Mary made of flowers|
|The finished floral Mary|
|Flags a'flyin' in the Valencian streets |
(in the top picture if you look closely you can see the drummers playing,
including the half-naked man who seemed to be their "conductor")
|Both inside La Lonja: take note of my happiness |
to be in such a beautiful place in the springin' spring
|All at the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias|
The most surprising aspect of the whole trip to me was the way that young children were all given their own box of fireworks and firecrackers to freely set off in the street, often without supervision. This resulted in being made jump pretty much every 5 seconds and dashing about the place to avoid losing a limb. Luckily we both returned to Murcia with all fingers, toes, arms and legs in tact! I don’t know whether I can say the same about my nerves though, I think they’re lost somewhere in between the Plaza de Toros and the Estación del Norte…
|Plaza de Toros|
|Estación del Norte train station|
Despite there being so much more I could talk about regarding both of my little adventures, I’ll leave it there so that you don’t all fall asleep (if you haven’t already)…
I’ve loved my past couple of adventures and am super excited for the many escapades that are still to come during my time in Spain. Upcoming getaways include a trip to Madrid next weekend, a short stay near the beach in the middle of May, and a trip to Alicante at the end of May. Although I’m sure many unplanned good times are in store for me in the meantime!
|Inside La Lonja, Valencia|
Until next time chicos 😊