Toledo, Spain – a City in a Castle

 

February 2, 2014

{The sad part was that I woke up homesick because I was going to be missing my brother’s birthday and Superbowl Sunday.  I didn’t really care about the game, to be honest.  I mean, I wanted the Broncos to beat the Seahawks, but I sort of checked out two weeks ago when the Niners lost.  Regardless, I was homesick.  My family always has a party and I was missing all my cousins and brother and sister.  I woke up exhausted, and still feeling the effects of the WORST DAY EVER (link), but I was excited because there were people down to explore TOLEDO!}

To give you some background, Toledo is this cool suburb of Madrid and former capitol of Spain.  It’s this architecturally beautiful city because it’s a melting pot of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish culture. During the medieval times, Toledo was known for it’s handcrafted swords and daggers and became the leading distributor for weapons to the crown.  The city is surrounded on three sides by the Tagus River, which really helped them out in the medieval times when everyone was trying to conquer everyone else.  This allowed Toledo to become a haven for religious freedom during a time when tolerance was uncommon.

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La Rambla and La Boqueria Market, Barcelona

 

IMG_1283We all overslept on the Saturday following our first night out in Barcelona.  I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m a brat about sleep and hostiles definitely take some getting used to.   When we all finally woke up and ate our massive American style hangover breakfasts, we went straight to La Rambla.

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Parc Guell, Barcelona – The Most Worth It View I’ve Ever Seen

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After we saw the Sagrada Familia, we continued our trek through Barcelona towards Parc Guell.  Amit was the leader because his phone had the map.  One thing about Barcelona – it’s a giant hill leading up from the ocean.  One thing about Parc Guell – it’s at the top of the giant hill.  The whole time we were just thinking there’s gotta be an escalator or something.  We could see where the park sort of started, but there were just stairs on stairs leading to a wall that led to a turn that led to more stairs on stairs.  Basically we all agreed Gaudi was an asshole.

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Sagrada Familia – Barcelona is Gaudi’s Canvas

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We landed in Barcelona around noon and immediately hit the city to explore.  I wanted to see Parc Guell and La Sagrada Familia, because I’ve been super curious about how one artist could legit take over an entire city.

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Casa Batllo – Skulls, Bones, and Lights

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Everyone was having a siesta to get ready for the night, but I wanted to see everything I could in Barcelona.  After all, who knows when I’ll be back, and I feel like the excuse “sleep” is something that I might regret later.  Amit was down to see the Gaudi houses, so we walked from our hostel to Casa Batllo.

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Rockers Nightclub: We Partied Until the Sun Should Have Been Up

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There’s this floating club called Rockerz that randomly makes appearances in other clubs to have “Friday Rock Nights.”  Andrew and his friends were going, so I decided to jump on.  The venue was pretty cool.  It’s underground with bars surrounding a huge dance floor.  The DJ was up close and personal, occasionally coming down to dance with the throngs of people rocking out around the stage.  Champagne was everywhere, the music was lively and loud, and the people were great.

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How to Score a Sandwich in Barcelona

(If you don’t want to know, don’t read it.)

Step by Step.

1.)  Go to La Rambla.  It’s located right off of Plaza Catalunya.  You can’t miss it.

2.)  Identify someone selling beer.  They sell more than beer.

3.)  Approach and inquire.  They will tell you to meet them off the main street.

4.)  Find the nearest bushes in the alley where they told you to meet.  Walk to them.

5.)  Search the bushes.  Have you ever played Zelda?  Link has to go cut bushes to find rupees.  This is the same.

6.)  Locate the sandwiches.  They will be hidden

7.)  GTFO.  Bounce before the guy gets there. 

8.)  Enjoy your sandwich.  Watch out for sandwich haters.

My experience.

I was walking back with Sora around 4am.  I desperately needed water, so we decided to combine my search for water with a hunt for sandwiches.  In our drunken states, we went up to a few people and asked if they knew where we could find any, to no avail.  Finally, some sketchy little round man came up and said he could help us.  He told us to meet us in the alley off the main street.  We watched him walk towards a potted plant in the alley square and looked around in the bushes.  Eventually, he came up on a small bag of sandwich.  We made the trade and GTFO.  In the future I’m just going to the giving bush and finding it myself.

It is much easier in Madrid.