Buenas Dias thrifters! How’s everyone doing?!
I gotta tell you, it feels so good to be back! Not because my vacation sucked or anything (quite the contrary actually, more on that in a second) but after an entire day of going through airport checkpoints and boarding planes, it definitely feels great to be stationary and getting some much needed rest.
Well as you can gather from the title of this post, I just returned from visiting Barcelona and Madrid and, if you’d let me, I could seriously spend an entire day talking about how beautiful and amazing these places are – the sites and the people!
I won’t spend that much time but I will share what I think are some of the highlights of the trip.
I actually got back on May 4th and I wanted to do this post then while the memories are still fresh but I made the mistake of having 100+ auctions end on the day that I return and I’ve been packing items and playing catch up ever since.
Remind me never to do that again will ya?! Thanks!
Regardless, this past week has been amazing. I mentioned to Jessica (@JMJ697MN)) on Twitter the other day that I went to Barcelona and Spain for my trip and she replied that it sounds like the vacation of a lifetime. And you know what? I couldn’t have described it better myself.
It definitely was and hopefully some of these pictures will do the trip justice. Are you ready? Vamanos!
First: A Heartfelt Apology
The first comment I want to make is actually an apology – an apology to my high school Spanish teacher Profesora McCrary. This wonderful women spent 3 years teaching me Spanish and how do I repay her? What’s the best sentence I could muster?
This monstrosity: “Hola Senor, bottled agua’s. Cuatros por favor.”
Pathetic, so horrible. Profesora McCrary would’ve been ashamed at my performance there lol
In front of The Princess Sofia Hotel
According to our guide, the city experienced a boom in their economy immediately after the 1992 Olympics and the town has never been the same.
I haven’t seen the ENTIRE world (yet) but of all the places that I’ve traveled to so far I would have to say that Barcelona is probably the most beautiful place that I’ve seen.
There were so many great parks, buildings, and historical sites to see. The city is also in the midst of transforming into a “greener” city so there were always running and biking trails filled with people. Heck, they even have a beach community!
All this combined to really give the town a sophisticated and charming “feel” and I found myself simply walking around just in awe of how clean and beautiful the scenery was.
FC Barcelona Stadium
The FC Barcelona Futbol stadium was a block from our hotel. The love that the city has for their soccer team is pretty amazing. I’m not knowledgeable about the sport by any means but I regret not watching a game, just to be a part of the spectacle.
Photo Courtesy of World For Travel. Sorry, I couldn’t quite get this view but I wanted to show you an overview of what it looked like.
This place was, hands-down, my favorite site of the entire trip. Monserrat, which means “serrated mountain”, is a monastery/cathedral nestled high in the Catalonia Mountains.
The view was amazing and the air was so crisp – I could’ve spent the whole day there just walking around and taking in the scenery!
There was also an original Picasso in their Art Museum
The Monserrat Cathedral
One last shot of the View
La Boqueria Open Market
I loved this market! There were so many different stuff that I wanted to try but we just ran out of time.
Look how huge those Papaya’s are!
We spent 4 days in Barcelona and after an 8 hour bus ride we found ourselves on the last stop of our vacations: Madrid!
Now Madrid was a different experience than Barcelona was and if Barcelona was the most beautiful place I’ve seen than Madrid was probably the funnest place I’ve been to!
The vibe of this town was pretty awesome: plenty of historical sites, stores and boutiques for shopping and souvenirs, and I even got a chance to watch a bull fight – or six)!
3 days was definitely not enough!
(They seriously love their Paella! I don’t blame the, it’s pretty tasty!)
La Puerta Del Sol
I had a great time in this area. There were scores of people walking around so the place was buzzing, plus there were tons of shops and places to eat. It was a blast just walking around this place!
La Plaza De Toros
Bullfighting is banned in Barcelona so we didn’t get a chance to watch a match, something that I’ve wanted to see since Spanish class in high school.
It’s fair game in Madrid though!
As someone outside of the Spanish culture, it was definitely shocking at first to witness the brutality of the matches. The bulls get stabbed numerous times throughout the match and there was actually a person in our group who was in tears and had to leave the match early because she became emotional.
Sometimes, however, the bulls do get to exact some revenge. 2 of the first 3 matadors got gored and bloody by their bulls and their legs were gushing with blood.
Regardless of how you stand on the subject of bullfighting, there’s no denying the passion that the locals have for this event.
1 Birthday, 4 Cities: Heartbreak in San Francisco
As luck would have it, we left for home on my birthday, May 4th. To be honest, an entire day of airports and flying wasn’t how I wanted to spend my birthday.
However, being able to travel (even though it was only for a few hours at a time) to 4 different cities on your birthday is a pretty rare experience. So I at least took solace in the fact that this was probably something I’m not going to be able to do for a very long time – if ever!
We left Madrid at 6am and took a 2 hour flight to Germany. I wasn’t sure when I would get a chance to return to Germany so, on my birthday, I decided to treat myself to a souvenir.
I walked around the airport shops and I narrowed down the choices between the following:
A Boot Mug…because, well…it’s fricken awesome!!
And a set of 3 German beers
I eventually decided on the 3 German beers because I would be drinking now instead of later. Plus the beers also came with a large, Viking-style mug so it was the best of both worlds.
I didn’t want to, but I was prepared to drink all 3 beers on the 11-hour flight from Germany to San Francisco; not because I was that thirsty but because I was afraid of potential customs-issues with bringing beer from Germany into the US.
I was informed by the flight attendants, however, that it wouldn’t be a problem as long as the beers are packaged with the original receipt.
I already had a feeling that something was wrong in San Francisco because the TSA Agents set the beers aside and there was a crew of people, a meeting-of-the-minds gathering around my German beers.
I them what the previous flight attendants explained to me but sadly I was told that I was “mis-informed”.
Bringing the beers through checkpoint is not allowed and that I would have to check them in if I want to hold on to it. I seriously considered it but the thought of paying an extra $50 to bring in some beers made it illogical.
Man, I was so bummed walking through the San Francisco Airport – I really wanted to try those beers!
Oh well, just another reason to go back and visit Germany I suppose lol!
Getting Back to Normal – Slowly but Surely
Thanks to the jet lag, it’s been a slow and grueling process getting back to my normal routine, but I’m getting there.
I already received $1000+ worth of Paypal payments since returning and my 3 visits to Savers and Goodwill have been some of the best thrifting I’ve done all year – those items really accumulated since I was gone!
I apologize if I haven’t responded to your questions/messages yet, I’m going through all of them now and I will definitely get back to you.
Again, it feels great to be back. This trip was exactly what I needed and I feel re-charged and ready to crush it again on eBay!
Cheers and I’ll talk to you soon!