Photo Diary: A Spanish Summer

Thursday, October 24, 2013 Sarah Unes 0 Comments

“Hables Ingles?” ; my most used phrase on my trip to Spain, which was often greeted with great confusion. (Understandable, I must have sounded extremely abrupt and arrogant as that actually means SPEAK English not “Do you speak English?”).  

After much debate myself and a few friends had finally settled on the joint decision to visit Spain for a fortnight this summer, one week near the beach in Cambrills, a fishing town a little away from Salou –  tourist central, and one week in Barcelona.  This way we could hopefully cater to all of our completely differing ideas of a holiday, whilst trying to strike the perfect balance between doing absolutely nothing whilst exploring our surroundings.
CambrillsOur apartment in Cambrills was a stone’s throw from the beach, which was great and something we all really looked forward to for months actually. On arrival we all got into our swim gear straight away and ran onto the beach and into the ocean- as you do.  
Some firsts for this trip :
Riding/falling off a bike.
Trying Absinthe.
Falling asleep in a Museum
Near Death Experience (sort of)
Port Aventura
Flying with Ryan Air
We also visited Tarragona ; a truly spanish city, rid of all of the tourist attractions of Salou and Cambrils can often be full of, was a truly cultural experience. I often find, wandering around with no direction quite liberating- it feels like much more of an achievement finding a hidden gallery, a kitschy bar or unusual architecture.(But don’t get me wrong, when i’m in a rush I need my Google Maps. With any of my internships/ life experiences it has been my saving grace.)

Barcelona was much more my speed ; eclectic and tons to do, things to see and places to shop. Our apartment, a half an hour walking distance from central Barcelona so we could literally walk everywhere.
The cities side streets boasted quaint bars and pubs, which we would spend our evenings testing Spanish cocktails. Our time in Barcelona was extremely Gaudi-centric. Making sure not to miss out on any of the tourist stops in Barcelona, special effort was made to visit Gaudi’s famous Park Guell, the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo . Let me just say that getting all the way up to Park Guell was a feat for me, especially in 35 degree weather but was all worth it.  Gaudi was buried at the Sagrada Familia, which has dipped in and out of building over the years, and is currently set to be finished in 2026 after nearly 150 years of construction!

This is a little embarrassing, but I can’t ride a bike. Or I can just not near any obstacles or in close proximity to people and other riders.  I was more of an indoors child and for some reason never learned. So here’s me, and my tiny frame with a huge bike infront of me , in the dark on a beach in Cambrils. My friends try to be patient while I try to be patient teaching myself how to ride the bike. After about an hour – I can ride the bike for longer than a minute so we all set off on the bike path along the beach together. Bad idea on my part.  
 For future reference ; newly learned, nervous bike riders + the dark + narrow double lane bike paths + German tourists do not make the best combination, and equal bruised Sarah’s for the remainder of the trip.  I guess it’s quite funny looking back. But in short :
 I went home as my friends enjoyed a lovely bike ride under the stars around Cambrills.
Prior to this trip, I’d never tried Absinthe and the most I’d heard of it were the little green fairy references from Baz Lurhmann's Moulin Rouge. We ventured out to one of the few bars specialising in Absinthe drinks, and on the walk over were glared at by several confused looking call girls. I can’t imagine why. On arrival to the bustling little hideaway, we were seated and immediately served with what looked like a goblet of Absinthe without even asking for it.  Obviously I can’t say it was the best tasting drink in the world and opted out of diluting the awful taste further with any of the provided water or sugar- I just wanted it gone. I’d still recommend it, but as soon as we left the bar I was in need of a cheeseburger to get the taste out of my mouth.
Half of us on this holiday enjoyed this museum ( that’s two people) and the other half loathed that 5 hours spent in a history of Catelena museum, and in turn, yes actually took a little nap. It’s pretty in there, really interesting actually but generally covers a history of mankind from point zero so can drag a little, especially through 5 floors.  But its free for students – 70% of the museums we visited (there were a lot) – just make sure to bring your student card, it doesn’t even need an expiry date.
Whilst on the metro one night in Barcelona- something really bizzare happened. Our train took an immediate halt, and a smell of gas filled the carriages which were locked shut.  My friends and I sat in complete shock and confusion for about ten minutes hearing the odd spraying noise, contemplating whether we should just get out of the carriage or stay put. Not that we could the doors were sealed shut. I can’t say I was not panicking inside playing out what the hell was happening outside. A figure appeared briefly outside the window with a spray can. Somebody thought it would be a great idea to jump into the platform, stop the entire line and just go ahead and spray some art onto the side of the train, but clearly underestimated the time it would take to complete. Getting Sunburnt
I’d never been sunburnt before this trip. And ignorantly assumed it would be harder for my Asian skin to burn.

 Theme parks are always great but by far this is the best theme park I have ever visited. Port Aventura houses the tallest rollercoaster in Europe, as well as the tallest drop ride in Europe; we had to. I would highly recommend a fast track pass on admission to Port Aventura, it saved us bags of time in an understandable jam packed park. Through the summer Port Aventura is actually open through to the late evening and night- so visitors can ride rollercoasters in the dark! I unfortunately did not stay for that but really wish I did.  Unlike many other parks I have visited (if not ALL), there were no breakdowns at Port Aventura.

Ok a bit of a boring one but prior to this trip I had never flown with the budget airline and had heard SO many horror stories about misprinted names and extra fees. But the staff  were really lax with hand luggage- although I’m not sure if that was just dumb luck. Understandably the flight was extremely cramped, but you get what you pay for I guess? It was a super short flight so I am not complaining. I am also one of those really weird people that love airport security. 
Have you ever visited Barcelona or Port Aventura? How were your experiences?