Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekend in Barca

My sister-from-another-mother BB came to Paris with her fiancé last week.

It was their first time in Europe and they planned to hit Paris, Madrid and Barcelona in 7 days so I was really excited to show them my city. Personally, I’m not one for whirlwind travelling. I think you need time to explore a city, to sit around and soak up the atmosphere. But I think it’s a typically American thing to country/city hop quickly to try to see as much as possible in the short time allotted. Its one of the many downfalls of life in the States. With 10-15 days A YEAR of vacation, how much of the world can you really see? No wonder only 20% of Americans have passports.

We hit up all the must-see tourist spots in Paris (without actually going inside most of them—a picture of the triangle in front of the Louvre works if you don’t have an entire day to spend inside), some of my favorite spots to eat (making sure they tried escargot, macaroons, sandwich grecs, tartes, fresh baguettes and viennoiseries from a boulangerie, all types of cheese and a crepe at my favorite place on Oberkampf, yum!) and a few of my local nighttime hangouts.

Dinner of bread, cheese and wine on Pont Neuf

After 2 days in Paris they left for Madrid. I was supposed to go with them (I’m dying to see Madrid, I’ve heard such great things about the city) but I had tons of work to get to that had gone neglected since their arrival. So we made plans to meet up in Barcelona on Saturday instead.

Now I’ve been to Barca twice for work and though I never really got a chance to explore the city, I never really felt particularly excited about the place. My chef friend Kelly moved to Barca from New York earlier this year and adores it. I had planned to stay with her and see her view of the city but unfortunately she was out of town that weekend. So this trip to Barca wasn’t really different from the last 2 times I was there—it was ok, a beautiful city with lovely weather but honestly, I’d choose 10 other places to visit before Barcelona any day.

The absolute highlight of the trip was going to the FC Barcelona v. Atlantico Madrid match. I am a huge football fan but have never been to a live game. So when A said he wanted to get us tickets (at 117 Euros each! And that's not even for the good seats) to see one of the biggest clubs in football, I couldn’t pass it up. Sadly, I couldn’t find a flight to Barcelona under 200 Euros for that weekend and I realized again how major this sport is around the world (hotels were nearly booked solid for Saturday night, not to mention they raised their prices). But the game was fantastic!! Camp Nou (the stadium) is massive and it’s so exciting to actually experience the energy of the crowd. The singing and chanting, flag waving, hissing... I loved it all. And Barca won 5-2 so the city was buzzing afterwards.

We spent the next day and a half hanging out at the beach, eating as much Spanish foods as we could get our hands on and window shopping—and BB and I had a chance to try out a nightclub (sucked but it was free) and sit at the chic rooftop bar at our hotel and have some serious girl talk before I had to go back to Paris on Monday afternoon.

On a sad note: its my last day in Paris before the big move to Italy so I'm swamped trying to get everything organized. I'm sending half of the clothes and shoes I brought back home to the States (summer things and stuff I finally realize I'll never wear—I wish I had thought about that before spending $50 in overweight luggage fees), plus a bunch of books I finished reading while I was here (I need a Kindle!). I fly to Florence on Sunday morning and my cousin Martine is flying in from DC today to spend the week in Paris/Italy with me.

I'm so nervous! And excited! Will update as soon as I can.

On verra! Ciao! :)


Gigi said...

Good luck in Italy! Keep posting those expat adventures for us!

Honey, you inspired me so...I moved right back to France and thus far, I've been ecstatic. I'm a fellow NY'r and I hear you on getting back to the simpler things in life.

Btw, if you have an iPhone, there's a free Kindle for iPhone application in the Apps store. I've been reading my computer books on there ever since and I love it.

rhonalala said...

Cool trip. I am excited to real all about your Italian adventures. Keep us updated.

Stacy said...

KINDLE FOR IPHONE?!? I had no idea! Thanks for the tip Gigi! I'm going to download it now :)
And congrats on your return to France-- where are you living?

Stacy said...

Thanks rhonalala-- will do!

kuesooM said...

Wow..just finished reading ur updates didnt realise u'd been back to Paris...all the best. I can totally relate, coming to the end of my time in AMS, and I am in 2 minds abt moving to back to NYC, trying to figure out where to next, might be in the UK for 3 months, but fill I really want to stay here.

I absolutely luv it here, and the quality of life cannot compare to NY. I luv it!

Cant wait to read ur Italian updates.

Dee said...

Hey enjoy Italy. I hope you won't miss Paris too much. I love reading your blog, yours and others here on the net continue to inspire me. Especially being an African-American knowing that others are taking the 'leap'. I have serious wanderlust but I am stuck in the daily grind. Can't wait to read your adventures in Italy.

UrbanTravelGirl said...

Stacy, BUON VIAGGIO!!! When you get a minute, e-mail me at if you're still interested in names of cool people to meet in Rome (including a good friend who's an American expat and owner of a fab B&B in the center of Rome). Ciao for now!


MansTouch said...

There are so many great places to see in France like Notre Dame and Eiffel Tower. Just to walk around is already an experience. Sipping a cup of coffee while cruising the Seine is one of the few things you can do to savor your trip. Of course no one should ever miss to visit the art galleries of world renowned painters.
The Truth About Paris

Anonymous said...

Hi, did you by any chance attend FIT?

Stacy said...

I did go to FIT. Why do you ask?

Anonymous said...

Oh because I think you mentioned in another blog post about FIT. Right now I'm a junior in high school and I'm debating on whether or not I should go to a traditional university or FIT. If I do attend a traditional university my parents want me to go to Vanderbilt, NYU, Swarthmore, etc. and I would like to major in International Relations or Business Marketing OR if I attend FIT I would most likely major in FMM but Im so confused I don't really know what to decide! :(

Anonymous said...

Btw, what did you major in at FIT?

Stacy said...

It really depends. If you want to work in the fashion FIT is one of the best schools to go to (I was an AdComm major). Not just for the curriculum and the professors, but b/c of the contacts you'll make that will help you get a great job in the industry once you graduate. But I don't know if I would advise it for someone interested in general business-- esp if you can attend a school that has a renowned business programs.
And going to school in a major city like NY is an entirely different experience-- you miss out on the sorority parties, football games and normal dorm life and become sort of a mini adult. While my friends at traditional campus were doing that, I was buying fake IDs in the Village, partying at abandoned warehouses in Brooklyn and sneaking into shows during Fashion Week. It was perfect for me b/c it fit my personality type. But either are great options (def take this year to visit all the campus you can), it just depends on what feels right for you. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! Good luck in Rome!