Hollis Mugford is a sixth semester Professional Music major at Berklee. She is a pop, R&B, and country singer from Virginia. Her passion for writing and travel have inspired her to share her experiences and thoughts with the Berklee community and beyond as she embarks on her first semester abroad in Valencia, Spain.
Well simply put I think Barcelona is perhaps my favorite city I have ever been to. We left on Friday morning from Valencia and took the 8am train along the coast to Barcelona. Just the train ride itself was so beautiful, passing by all of these small private beaches lined with palm trees, just early enough still that the sun was still coming up over the water and the surface looked like it was dusted with diamonds.
The stay in the hostel was about 50% amazing and 50% lousy. The provided activities and students who ran the hostel were an absolute blast and offered to take all of the hostel guests out to the city’s best clubs every night with free entry. Not only were the clubs outrageous but the word free is every college student’s (especially ones paying a Berklee size tuition) favorite word. What wasn’t our favorite was having to share one tiny room and one tiny bathroom with four girls and four boys that all spoke a different language and all had very different ideas about hostel etiquette. Lack of sleep aside, the hostel was clean and for broke college students, just fine.
Our first day there we saw the beautiful Park Guell, perched on the side of the mountain range that lines the city, this whimsical little estate built by Gaudi in the early 1900’s was tens of levels of gardens, overlooks, and cottages all decorated with multicolored tile and Dr. Suess like turrets. And of course nothing was more beautiful than the view of the entire city from above.
Our second day there Ali and I were on a mission to see everything and anything in the city. Traveling always seems to feel that way, at least for me. It’s a definite stress factor that I’m only going to be in one of the most historic and beautiful cities in the world for three days. And I want to see everything. So being pressed as hard as we were, we decided the best way to see anything and everything was to take the 26 euro bus tour – which proved to be the smartest (and most touristy) travel decision I’ve ever made, but our goal was accomplished. We saw everything from Mount Tibidado (a cute little park and huge catholic Cathedral on top of a mountain, certainly posessing the most beautiful views), La Sagrada Familia (Gaudi’s life’s work that is still incomplete and under construction), Catalunya (the old town of Barcelona), and even the Harbor Port of Barcelona where easily over a thousand little sailboats are docked. That night we had drinks with everyone out on the patio at Lolita, right beside the colorfully lit carnival.
The third day was wine, wine, cheese, and more wine. Our whole group went to the Catalunya Wine Festival under the Arc de Triumph and I’m pretty sure we each probably consumed an entire bottle (if not more) each. But where else can you have a glass of the finest wine in Europe for 4 euro? This was as far as I was concerned, a once in a lifetime opportunity. So we wore our little wine festival hats and sipped away at merlot and champagne until the sun went down. That night was a night in to catch up on sleep and prepare for the next (and last day) in Barcelona.
The third day was rainy and cool, meaning of course that I had packed all the wrong clothes for the occassion and froze all day. But how can you really complain when you’re walking down a little narrow side street lines with homemade pastries, gelato, and swanky little boutiques? And that’s how Ali and I spent our final day – shopping and eating. My two favorite past times.
Traveling is always hard – it takes effort. You have to be a fearless eater, unbury your best internal compass, be alert, aware, and frugal with your money, attempt to communicate in a foreign language, and be prepared to probably walk more than you ever have in your life. However, at the end of the day when you crawl back into your bed at home (or your dorm in Valencia) it was certainly worth any trouble.
Barcelona was a dream and I can’t wait to go back~
Bailando En Barcelona from Hollis Mugford on Vimeo.
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