Gaudi and Pickpockets

Lisa Stackhouse
Universidad de Cantabria, Spain
Major: Human Resource Management

Three…Two…One…. We take our final steps out of the Barcelona metro, turn and are astonishingly greeted with the breathtaking view of the Segrada Famila immediately in front of us. Naturally this causes us to enter a paralyzing stare while the swarm of people making their human traffic lanes get extremely annoyed with us in their way, adding to the size of the “Tourist” signs we figuratively wear on us with our Nike duffel bags and eyes almost full of tears looking at this architecture from Gaudí.

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

I soon snap out of my happy tourist gaze when Ally asks “Any idea of the exact address to our hostel?“ You see, we booked a hostel through the airbnb website (connecting travelers to empty bedrooms and homes in cities for a low cost) and were told to enter the building through an Irish Pub called Michael Collins, but the actual number and floor were somehow lost in translation and the excitement that we had booked our first hostel. We found the bar, and our problems were immediately solved when Dario, an Italian man in his late 20’s wearing a t-shirt and multi-shade purple parachute pants (a small growing trend for male Spanish hipsters) called out, “Ally!?” (Wearing that figurative tourist sign does some good every once in a while). Dario lives with his partner Veronica, a gorgeous blonde Spaniard and their Chiwawa Meme and rent out their extra rooms to eager young travelers like ourselves. They were nothing but friendly and loved to chat and recommend great places to go and helped us immediately start chiseling away at our long list of sites including Gaudí architecture, the Picasso museum, Parc Güel and the famous markets of Las Ramblas. Getting to all these destinations during one afternoon was no difficult task with the Metro system, although being in the pick-pocketing capital of the world we came in contact with one such scammer. An older man attempted to distract Ally by implying she was making a mistake purchasing her 10-stop pass all while simultaneously reaching into her wallet. Being the obvious tourists that we are we knew we had it coming eventually and she immediately slapped the man away and didn’t loose a dime. It was after that moment I started wearing my “travel-safe waist wallet” my mother bought me pre-departure (a sort of fanny pack you wear under your t-shirt). Best gift ever, mom. Shout out.

My girlfriend Morgan discovered she had a long lost uncle from Michigan she never met who now lives in the city, so we made plans that night to meet him for some pizza and wine. It casually turns out her uncle Is a Grammy winner producer named Frankie Gibbz whom we hit it off with and the night stretched much further than expected, leading to a studio tour and a show and tell of pictures of him and his wife with Mariah Carey, Shakira, Christina Agulera etc. and my inner teenage persona came out when he said he was part of the production of the Brittany Spears “Oops I Did It Again” music video. He shared all about his life and beliefs and how he fell in love with Spanish culture and Barcelona and never wishes to return to a life in the Midwest again. Easy to say Morgan and her uncle have a lot in common in that way, and this will be the beginning of a great relationship.

There is so much more to share about this weekend, and the beautiful historic sites I was able to see and experience but as I’m typing I’m falling into a slumber and can smell some Spanish Tortilla being made in my kitchen, so please excuse me.

Other important information:

  1. Catalan: the language spoken in Cataluña, the region of the country Barcelona resides in. It is similar to Spanish, yet impossible for me to understand.
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