|This may not look perfect, but I think it has so much life and passion inside it all! Just give it a chance and live!|
|The tapas here are endless of selections and flavours in Txapela! Go and experiment with the tastes and discover!|
During the night, we went shopping. You know Zara clothing brand? Well guess what?! Zara is incredibly affordable in Spain! Obviously since this is where Zara came from! In Philippines, it's expensive due to the shipping and import fees, etc. But in Spain? Shopper's heaven! I was able to get almost a complete wardrobe adjustment in one go just because the clothes here were so damn cheap and affordable! Now I know why so many people just love shopping! Imagine: do you know that a suit with the long sleeve polo inside in Manila can cost up to PHP10,000 to PHP 20,000 ($ 200-400 USD) in tailor-made or sold in boutique shops? JUST ONE. What if I told you that with PHP 20,000 ($ 400 USD), I was already able to get not only a suit, but also 12 other pairs of clothing and pants in Barcelona?! How's that for convincing you to visit this amazing country?!
Spain has had a recession and parts of the country are still suffering that, which is why the prices for some places have dropped dramatically. So if you wanted to go to Europe where shopping is much more affordable, then Spain would be one of your best bets! My sisters felt relieved that I was able to get new clothing for myself since my outfits have been monotonous and repetitive. I was happy in a way that I got such great deals. We decided to end our day just walking around Las Ramblas and eating even more tapas at the restaurants nearby such as Txapela. Yes, there was limited English speakers there. But the great thing is that their menu is translated 8 TIMES! English included! They are all numbered so the servers know which one you want. How convenient is that?! Really, it was scary at first to be in a country where English is limited, which is why I studied Spanish and other languages so I could somehow find my way around the world. But really, even if you did not speak the language, there will always be people who are willing to help you out!
The next day, we woke up really early in order to be able to find the place since we already have gotten lost on previous trips. We used Google Maps to find the place and were really rushing to get there cause we did not realize how intricate the streets of Barcelona were! I was the one asking all the questions since I could speak and understand some Spanish. While we were hurrying up to the place, I asked a lady who was working at a cafe for help in Spanish. One useful phrase to say in Spanish when in need of guidance is: "Ayudame, por favor." (Help me, please.) The lady was cleaning the cafe before opening it. I peeked through the window and showed the lady the place we needed to go to. She went outside and then I said that help me phrase, along with this phrase in Spanish: "Where is this place?" And then she points out to me in Spanish, and try my very best to understand the essentials like to the left/right or "A la izquierda/derecha." I give my utmost thanks and blessing to her, and my sisters and I head to the direction she said and BOOM! Found it along with the other participating tourists in the trip. "Never be afraid to ask for help and directions from locals."
We finally started the tour and got to meet our tour guide and the other people that were with us in the group. I met our tour guide and she was quite the character! She was quite the character and she was a native of Catalonia as she spoke Catalan first before Spanish and even counted the number of people in the group in Catalan. Her name, if I could remember, was Sonia from Viator. Others that were with us came from USA, Australia and Hong Kong! We toured first the streets of Barcelona and then hopped on a bus to Sagrada Familia and I swear it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in the world! This church has been taking 150 years and counting to finish, but once you are there, you will see just how magical and grand it is! As I step foot inside this amazing church, I begin to feel the intensity of it all inside it! So much life and artworks inside with roofs taller than anything I have ever seen before! This place must not be missed in Barcelona!
There is an area near the entrance where angels are carved into in the center that represents the angels and disciples of God and inside is even more grand that I could ever imagine! Cathedral windows so colorful from anything I have ever seen along with arches that have so much height to it! Yes this place is not yet officially done being built, but I feel that this place just keeps getting better and better! What I saw on television growing up such as the churches in Discovery Travel and Living as well as from the movie Hunchback of Notre Dame gave me a clue on what the appearance was. But it was overwhelming to be actually in front of it! Really. I never thought I could experience something so grand and beautiful. If you have the chance in Barcelona, go inside this place, and be amazed by it! The effort to get inside past the tourists is worth it!
After going all around the area of Sagrada Familia, the tour guide decided to take us around the area for a lunch break. My sisters and I decided to eat at a paella restaurant and it was wonderful to experience our first official paella in Spain! Thank goodness because we had not eaten much since the arrival! We went into a restaurant that served very tasty Paella, and of course whenever I am at a new restaurant, I always ask for the recommendations for today! I simply asked them using the word in Spanish, "Reccomendacion?" and almost immediately, they reply back with a face so thankful that I am able to speak their language! We ordered a seared tuna fish tataki dish, and two types of paella, one that is tomato-based (picture below) and one that was coloured black also known as, Paella Negra. One thing I admire apart from the fresh quality of the seafood in Spain is the fact that they love to squeeze some lemon juice on top of most of the dishes they consume! So good! It breaks down the greasiness of the dish and adds a different level of flavour! Need water for that? No worries! Just say in Spanish "Quiero un vaso de agua, por favor/Agua, por favor!", which means I want a glass of water, please/ Water, please! And to say cold, warm or hot, just say "Frio, calentar, o caliente!" I normally ask for cold! "Muy frio con hielo, por favor!" or very cold with ice, please! And then when it's time for the bill, just simply say "La cuenta, por favor! Gracias!" I love the shocked face that most Hispanic people give to me when they hear me speak Spanish! It makes me feel like I am breaking cultural barriers and connecting! I guess growing up in a former Spanish colony, we use many words derived from Spanish even until today! Oh and having a boss from Peru helps! It all just makes me feel so happy and excited!
|It actually FEELS GOOD to go shopping here at Zara! That's coming from someone who rarely shops in their own town!|
|The pastries here in Spain are so soft, buttery and heavenly! It's no wonder I drooled when I saw them!|
|Can you see how I excited I was to have arrived there?! It was so overwhelming to be around Sagrada Familia!|
|Imagine being inside here during service and listening to a heavenly choir performing with sunlight shining!|
|These are the intricate sculptures and artworks carved outside of the church. The outside alone already gives so much life!|
|Life is so short. Live a little and see the world outside of your comfort zone if you can! The world is a lot bigger than you think! Go for it!|
|Seafood Paella or Paella con Mariscos in Spanish! Piping hot goodness with extra lemon juice on top! Divine!|