Exciting Espania: Barcelona

- Audrey LoPresti

When we got off the plane in Barcelona, it was mayhem...thank God we met Quim {pronounced KIM} who told us all the hot spots to hit, okay, so not all of them were so HOT...but we went anyway. We tried out his first recommendation: Bastial. Little did we know it was ITALIAN. Just a note: Don't ever eat Italian in Spain!! This food may have been 'delicious' for Quim, but not for girls who grew up on Staten Island - known for it's Italian cooking!! Copia Magazine Spain

We arrived at Hotel Arts...OH MY WORD...not only is this the most expensive hotel, but it's the most FABULOUS!! While we were waiting for to check in, we relaxed poolside...it gets better...in hammocks...wait better still...they brought us over little cocktails...even better...for FREE!! How great is this place? Already I felt like a Queen!! Then we got to see our room...or shall I say suite??!! We even had a beautiful view of the ocean!!

After a short nap, we were ready to paint the town red like the bull! We started off at La Taberna del Cura... this rustic, really over priced restaurant that was recommended by the concierge. We figured they must get some kickbacks for sending us...it cost us $115 Euro and that was per person!! They kept on bringing over weird stuff...I swear some of it wasn't even dead yet!! My chilian sea bass was good though!

The next day after our lunch at Bites we were off to the touristy section: "Las Ramblas" that they tell you to avoid, b/c everything is overpriced and they rip you off...OF COURSE you have to go anyway, you're in SPAIN!! It was beautiful and muy expensivo, but well worth it. As soon as we turned another corner, in front of the ever under construction Cathedral of Barcelona, there were street performers, and boy, were they Freakin Awesome!! We did go off the beaten path, to try & find the Arc de Triumph - yes it's not only in France!!!! It was Gorgeous!! It was the entrance to this phenomenal park with crazy trees. We stumbled upon the ports & there it was in great big letters "Luz De Gas"... we were sooo excited, it was sooo nice. It was a gas company!! Just kidding. Anyway it was a boat… a restaurant boat. We enjoyed a little tapas and some mojitos... compliments of some German boys. :)

Later that evening, and I mean much later, we ate at Barcelonata... another recommendation. People in Europe don't eat dinner until after 9 and they go out to party around midnight!! I got the paella this time, YUMMY!! Did I mention we lived on Sangria...? I think it seeped into our veins!!!! At Cinderella time, after my argument with the cab driver (it only cost $5 to go there and $10 to return), there we were waiting on line for Opium. We thought we had free passes... thank the Lord for back doors b/c we had no luck at the front. I loved this club!! It sort of had a NYC flair, and the music was fabulous!!

New day... we were off to La Gran La Florida. WOW WOW WOW. We were at the highest point in Barcelona!! There was a castle, an amusement park and an aquarium!! It was UNBELIEVABLE!! and so VERY, VERY ROMANTIC!! MUY ESPENSIVO!! BREATHTAKING VIEWS!!

This is where my spanish love began...our shuttle bus driver...Jordi {George}. He took us down the mountain and took back my heart...ahhhhhhhhhh...

An hour later at La Sagrada Familigia, Barcelona's most famous church, which was under construction, (aren't they all?) they were playing KEANE...my favorite band. We got to "trinket shop" at the stands which actually had reasonable prices! We also got to experience Spanish breads...YUM. Barcelona is similar to France, not only with the bread, but with the architecture... so beautiful. The buildings also have a bit of Louisiana flair to them with the pretty balconies and all {minus the flashing and bead throwing}.

12:10AM on the dot, Jordi was waiting to pick us up and go to Shoko... another AMAZING club...this one reminded me of AC/VEGAS with the dancer/stripper looking girls on stage. Once we began, there was no end...but when we had to leave Jordi bought us each a rose...how sweet is he?? Where are guys like this in NYC??

The next day, after our really expensive breakfast that consisted of eggs that resembled grits and croissants, was a day filled with sight seeing and shopping...of course shopping. You could see La Pedrera from the street...all of Gaudi's statues. It was quite a site, but I must admit they all looked pretty much the same, but still you have to see it. His other house La Casa Milla, however, is good enough from the outside. I wouldn't pay the $16 to get in. But the Gaudi Park is a must see!! All of his work in this unbelievable park!! Did you know that the word "gaudy" comes from "Gaudi" b/c his works of art are very flashy? -- Just a little trivia.

It was lunch time, which in Spain, after their 2 hour siesta, means Tapas. This time I had a "potato plate" at Beer D'OR. It was soo delicious & ridiculously fattening, but whatever, you're in Spain! Speaking of which, no time in Spain would be complete without seeing at least one Flamenco Show... so we had to go! Even though it's such a tourist trap, we had to experience it anyway!!! It was a really great performance, but I was expecting more flowy, colorful dresses and costumes, that wasn't the case, but boy, can they move!! They have some dancing feet and hips...lol.

Jamboree is where we were headed after the show, in this secret placa de cura...really cool. It had these underground caves with Jazz musicians downstairs and 80's music upstairs...too funny! After hours the Jazz switched to Salsa and Hip Hop, so we couldn't resist or maybe it was Brian from LA and Valencio from Brazil that we couldn't resist...haha. FYI: There are NO pretzel/peanut stands open 24/7 in Barcelona, so sneak a pack of cookies in your bag!

Sniff...sniff...it was time to go home.

So as I say ADIOS to ESPANA and say HOLA to JORDI who I think should move to NYC to marry me...:)

Buenos Noches muchachos...xoxo...Audrey

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