4 Days Spent in Barcelona

A little over 24 hours ago, I arrived back in New York City after spending 4 days in Barcelona, Spain. It was my very first time traveling to Europe, and most certainly not my last. In the short amount of time that I was there, I can say that Barcelona has risen to my list of top favorite cities that I have traveled to thus far. With it’s vibrant culture, rich history, and wonderful experiences, I am in awe of how much this city has to offer.

I traveled with two of my best friends from high school. We departed for Barcelona from JFK airport on Tuesday, February 23rd around 5pm. We took Aer Lingus where we had one stop in Dublin, Ireland both ways there and back for only $667 round-trip. The flight was seamless and extremely prompt. Our planes were clean, the staff was great, and the food was actually pretty tasty. My overall rating for this airline was 5/5.

We arrived in Barcelona around 10:00AM on Wednesday, February 24th and had no trouble getting our luggage after we got off the plane. We were out of the airport and in a taxi on our way to our Airbnb which was right across the street from la Sagrada Familia. The Airbnb was perfect. It was clean, cozy, and most importantly, it was in an amazing location which was around the corner from the L2 metro.

Day 1:

The first thing we did on the day one was getting most of our shopping done. We took the metro to the Passeig de Gracia stop where all of the high-end stores were located which reminded me of SoHo in Manhattan. We spent hours walking up and down the street and visiting the different stores. In between shopping, we took a break and ate at TapaTapa restaurant where we, of course, ordered multiple tapas and a pitcher of Sangria. After we finished shopping, we stopped and got a close look at Casa Battlo without going inside. We then walked over to the Arc de Triomf which reminded me of Washington Square Park in Manhattan. It’s crazy how many parallels I can make for Barcelona and New York City.

Day 2:

On Day 2, we ventured to the Gothic Quarter which was Barcelona’s version of Old City, and my personal favorite part of the trip. There, we visited the Picasso Museum, took a look around the flea market, and ate a late lunch near the water. This part of Barcelona had the most beautiful architecture and such a strong sense of history, met with modern restaurants and cafes. Later in the evening, we went out to a bar near the water where we had our lunch which was surprisingly quiet for a Thursday evening which is typically a big night to go out here in New York City.

Day 3:

Time flew by quick and all of a sudden it was already Friday. On Friday, we woke early to visit Parc Guell which was one of our most anticipated sight-seeing experiences. We walked throughout the entire park and avoided paying the fee to go inside of the area where the mosaic architecture resided. In Parc Guell, we enjoyed the beautiful view overlooking the city and experienced hearing some authentic Spanish music where musicians would play for the huge crowds of tourists. After a long day of walking, we went back home to rest before our real night of going out where we headed to Opium night club which was the most recommended place we heard about. It was definitely a touristy club which didn’t get actually crowded until around 1:30AM. We ended the night there and were exhasted by morning.

Day 4:

On our very last full day in Barcelona, we finally went inside of la Sagrada Familia. (My recommendation is to buy the tickets online first to avoid the lines, especially on a weekend to avoid the crowds. This was a tip we actually received from another American tourist we met while at Parc Guell.) The church was absolutely astonishing and completely worth paying to go inside. After nearly an hour inside of the church, we headed to Camp Nou to see none other than the amazing field that FB Barcelona plays. The field was amazing, and unfortunately, we didn’t get to catch a game (but they actually played on the same day that we left Barcelona). On the last night, we had dinner at a local restaurant near our Airbnb and packed up our suitcases and mentally prepared to leave our perfect trip.

Overall, we were able to do so much in only 4 days. There was still so much to see, but we enjoyed every minute of every hour that we experienced. Not a second was wasted and we took advantage of every opportunity despite how tired we may have been.

It was an unforgettable trip and I would go back in a heartbeat.

 

 

Two Weeks Until the Philippines

Recently, I’ve been very silent with using this personal blog to disclose my recent experiences and emotions. Instead, I’ve tried expanding my horizons to other Publishing platforms such as Medium, LinkedIn and EliteDaily. However, I can’t fully neglect the base for which I started my writing journey.

So, here I am providing one very large update. Although much has happened in the time since my last real entry, the largest piece of news that I have to offer is this:

I am leaving for my second-ever International trip to my parent’s home country of the Philippines in two weeks.

If you are familiar with my most recent travels, I went to Australia (my very first International trip) last August and it had opened my eyes to the wonders of traveling to a foreign country and being introduced to a different culture.

Personally, this trip to the Philippines is going to mean so much more than just being introduced to a different culture. In fact, it’s not quite different for me at all.

Being raised in a dual-culture environment was a crucial factor towards the person that I’ve become. As a child, it’s difficult to fully commit to one culture or the other, especially if you are a minority. You cannot hide your physical features no matter how hard you try. I’m a Filipino-American, and I was raised in a predominantly Filipino household. However, I more strongly identify myself with being American.

My parents would speak to me in their native language, however, I’d foolishly refuse to learn how to speak. I understood the language, but I chose English instead. It wasn’t until I grew older did I realize how important that part of me is.

I don’t want to say that I regret the choices I’ve made in the past, but I will say that I wish I had made a greater effort to learn my parent’s native tongue and be more immersed in my heritage.

Millions of people came to the United States to pursue the “American dream” Many of whom made this decision for their children; to provide them with opportunities that they could not have had in their home country.

I cannot begin to explain how grateful I am to my parents for coming here. I know that they made this decision for my sister and I. I also know that I will never be able to repay them for the sacrifices that they’ve made for us. However, I do realize all of the things that they left behind for us and I cannot say that it was in vain.

My family isn’t wealthy. We aren’t even on par with the majority of the Middle Class. However, we are happy with what we do have and what we have is something that most people strive for; a loving and supportive family.

Going to the Philippines will be an eye-opener for me. It will show me the bigger picture of where my parents came from, who and what they left behind, and why they are the way they are. I have a feeling that this trip will impact me in many ways and I couldn’t be more excited. There’s just something about going to your place of lineage and discovering your roots.

For many years, I was beginning to doubt if it would ever happen due to financial circumstance, but miracles can and do happen. Things only seem impossible until they are done.

Again, this trip wouldn’t be possible without the help of my parents. They came to America from the Philippines and now they are taking me and my sister back with them.

It’s going to be an amazing journey and I can’t wait to soak up as much as I can -Stay tuned for more

Return from Melbourne

I returned home from Melbourne last Wednesday and have been gradually adjusting back to my version of normality ever since. It’s not easy going from one way of life to a completely different way, but what I’ve learned is that it is necessary to step outside of your boundaries.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve been re-evaluating my life much more than I did before. There is no doubt that I was in desperate need of this trip – If you’ve been keeping up with my past blog entries, you should have noticed that I’ve been anxious for quite some time. I’ve been anxious for something more than what I was settling for at home.

Before I left, I read an article on Thought Catalog called, “The Hardest Part of Traveling No One Talks About” and I was so excited to get away from it all – my job, my friends, my family, my problems. When I returned, I re-read this article and it took on a whole different meaning for me. One quote that struck me was this:

“They call it the travel bug, but really it’s the effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you. Not English or Spanish or Mandarin or Portuguese, but that language where others know what it’s like to leave, change, grow, experience, learn, then go home again and feel more lost in your hometown then you did in the most foreign place you visited”

At first, I agreed with a majority of the article up until I read this quote. Yes, I left, changed, grew, experienced, and learned things, but I wouldn’t say that I am more lost. If anything, I see things much more clearly than I did before. I realized what I missed – my friends, my family. And that’s what pulled me back and helped me re-adjust a little easier.

I certainly loved being in a foreign place, seeing amazing views, and exploring, but if anything, the best part of traveling is coming back home.

It’s true what they say, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

(To get a deeper look into my trip, check out my Instagram)

Countdown to Melbourne

Whenever you make plans much in advance, you never really feel the weight of the reality until it comes down to the last final days before the big event.

Well, I’m officially less than one week away from my long-anticipated trip to Melbourne, Australia.

This is my first trip overseas and I couldn’t be more excited, A week ago, however, I was whistling a different tune.

2014 has been a very significant year of transformation for me. In fact, many of the major life events that have happened to me this year have revolved around my trip to Australia. I moved out of my apartment, moved back home, broke up with the guy I was dating, didn’t get to run the San Francisco Marathon, (which I spent $150 on) and cut way back on going out with my friends. On top of that, there were also hardships that occurred at the most inconvenient timing.

A week ago, I still had not received my passport (which I applied for in May). Trying to stay calm, I tried to reassure myself that it was in-transit and everything was going to be okay. Naturally, I began to panic the following day. The weight of the realities that have happened in the past few months all started catching up to me like a wave approaching the shore.

Fortunately, in these last final days as I’m getting closer to my trip, things started falling into place and my panic turned back into excitement once again. I received my passport, finished up last minute plans, and began to breathe again.

It never ceases to amaze me at how worried I get when things aren’t going as planned.

It’s been a rough year, but I’m banking on this trip to salvage all the hopes that I had lost for 2014. I needed something to look forward to, and now that it’s finally happening, I’m just crossing my fingers that everything will be okay.

After all, everything has always worked itself out in the past.

To follow my journey through Melbourne, follow me on Twitter or Instagram (Lindseyruns)

#australia2014 #lindseyinaustralia #lindseyrunsinaustralia