Archives for posts with tag: fiesta

I think I got more sleep this weekend than I have since I got to Barcelona. But it wasn’t because I didn’t have anything to do – it was because Munich wore me out.

We arrived in Munich around 3 p.m. on Friday and immediately met up with our friends who are studying abroad in  Italy – Eric, who is in Rome, and Caroline, Tori, Kelsey, Kate and Olivia from Florence. Our first stop, naturally, was a beer garden. We all ordered beers bigger than our heads and spent a good hour or so catching up. When it got dark we moved indoors and made a stop at the world famous Hofbrauhaus for dinner and more beer. (Beer is actually considered a food in Germany!) Since I have the taste buds of a 5-year-old, I stuck to pretzels while everyone else tried brats and weinerschneitzels. At both the beer garden and the beer hall, I was amazed by all of the people wearing lederhosen and beer girl outfits. Apparently those aren’t only in the movies. We were all cashed by 10 p.m. and in bed by 11 – the earliest night I’ve had in the last four months.

Saturday morning we woke up early to meet up with the girls before our bike tour. We climbed to the top of the St. Peter’s bell tower for an amazing view of the city and watched the Glockenspiel go off at noon. Then we split so we could go on Lenny’s bike tour around the city. I got the sparkly blue and pink bike because it was the only one where I could touch the ground. We biked around for three hours, stopping at the Marienplatz, Munich Residenz, English Gardens and Chinese Tower, among other places.

We met back up with our friends Saturday night for the Starkbierfest at Löwenbräukeller. It was an experience to say the least. We got to the beer hall around 7, and everything was pretty tame. Most people were eating dinner, dressed in lederhosen. But by 9:30 the Germans were dancing on tables, so we followed suit. We met a ton of great people and even got to dance on stage with the band. Munich is definitely another underrated city that greatly exceeded my expectations.

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When I told people I was going to Dublin, and not even for St. Patty’s Day, I got a lot of blank stares. I could tell a lot of people were wondering why the hell I would ever want to spend a weekend in Ireland. I really didn’t even know why I was going there. We found a cheap flight and booked it on a whim. But after going, I can confidently say it is definitely somewhere I’m going back to someday.

There isn’t a lot to do in Dublin, and that is exactly what makes it so great. When I went to Paris and Rome, I was constantly running around trying to fit everything in. In Dublin, we wandered around until we found something that looked interesting, and then went to a pub for a few hours. So the first day, Friday, was our only “touristy” day, and it wasn’t even that touristy. We took a Wild Wicklow tour to the countryside, where we visited DunLaoghaire, Sally Gap and Glendalough. It was actually breathtaking. I hate when people say that, but it’s the only way I can think to describe it. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m going to post a ton of pictures instead of trying to explain the scenery.

Saturday we did a lot of eating, and even more drinking. We started with breakfast at Brick Alley Cafe. Spain doesn’t really do big breakfasts, so scrambled eggs and a bagel was amazing. Then we wandered around for awhile until we stumbled upon the Guinness Storehouse. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but it was actually really cool. It was only 11 euro, including a complimentary pint. The whole place was really interactive, and the Gravity Bar at the top with a 360 degree view of the city made it worth the price. The rest of the day was basically pub after pub after pub. We hit all the big spots on Temple Bar – Gogarty’s, Temple Bar, The Auld Dubliner and Quay’s – and wandered off to some of the more local spots. I’m officially obsessed with live Irish music, and we made friends with a ton of locals. Overall great night.

Our flight didn’t leave until 6 p.m. on Sunday, so we had another great breakfast and went to Trinity College. Then it was pubs and shopping until about 4, when we had to drag our feet to the airport. We all went into the weekend with no expectations, and we all left contemplating moving to Ireland.

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Last night was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. The parade in Barcelona was cool, but Carnival in Sitges was absolutely amazing.

Sitges is about 30 minutes outside of Barcelona, 25 miles south along the coast. We got to Sitges around 9:30 p.m., and the parade had already started. There were huge floats, and everyone was decked out in extravagant costumes and soo much glitter. It was the Barcelona parade on steroids.

The people in the parade weren’t the only ones dressed up, though. Every single person there was wearing the most elaborate costume I have ever seen. Halloween has nothing on Sitges Carnival. Some people were scary, some were funny, and a lot were in drag, but no one was in street clothes.

After the parade, everyone moved to the beach. Words can’t even describe what it was like to be there. There were probably half a million people, from the wall to the coast, from end to end. The DJs blared music and lights came and went over the crowd. I don’t think there was a single person there that wasn’t having the time of their life.

Worn out, we finally headed back to Barca around 4 a.m. Carnival was an experience to say the least.

My program took my group to Madrid for the weekend, and I don’t think I could have seen less. I didn’t make it inside Museo del Prado, or Palacio Real, or Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. But I did have an amazing time.

We took the train there, which I had never done before. Grace was feeling a little under the weather and ended up throwing up on the train. The toilet was filled with this nasty blue, fizzy disinfectant, which naturally ended up in little spots all over Grace’s face. One of the highlights of my day for sure.

Our train got in around noon, and after checking in at the hotel we went straight to 100 Montaditos, the place we were obsessed with in Sevilla. It was the first of three trips to this little sandwich place throughout the weekend. After lunch, we walked to Parque del Retiro, a huuuuge park in Madrid. We sat and people watched most of the afternoon, but it was a lot of fun.

The next day, we went back to 100 Montaditos and back to Retiro. We tried to explore, but it didn’t work out too well. The weather was beautiful, so we ended up sitting outside all day. I spent a lot of quality time with the park  last weekend.

Saturday night we met up with some of my friend Ryan’s friends and went to Kapital, the biggest club in Madrid. It was insane. There were people dancing on stage, lights everywhere, a woman who did an acrobatic act in the middle of the dance floor, breakdancers, and huge puffs of cold smoke shooting from the ceiling. It was nothing like anything I’ve ever experienced in Barcelona.

Sunday morning, before catching the train back to Barcelona, we found a new park to sit at and people watch. I’m not sure what it was called, but it was near Plaza Mayor. By 2 p.m. we were dead and ready to come back to Barca. I loved Madrid, but I’m still glad I call Barcelona home.