We began our day by enjoying the scrumptious breakfast buffet at the Pestana Arena Hotel in Barcelona. Like every morning, we could choose from a wide variety of options. Without a doubt, my favorite indulgent treat was the chocolate-filled croissants – they were fantástico! Fueled up for the morning, we departed for a brief walking tour of the city, visiting attractions such as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, the Plaza Mayor, the Christopher Columbus Monument, and La Ramba, a beautiful outdoor shopping mall popular with tourists.
We returned to the bus and drove to one of the most recognizable buildings in all of Spain: La Sagrada Familia. Designed by famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí, this Roman Catholic Church has been under construction since 1882! Although incomplete, La Sagrada Familia is an unimaginably beautiful and grand structure. As a team, we took a tour and learned about many of the intentional and symbolic design features of the building, such as its Southeast orientation, specific dimensions, and beautiful stained glass windows. Not only was our visit interesting and informative, but it was also emotional and breathtaking. Personally, it was definitely one of the highlights of entire trip.
After purchasing postcards and other souvenirs from the gift shop, we split into smaller groups and enjoyed free time for the rest of the afternoon. Many people returned to La Rambla to continue shopping and grab some lunch. My group enjoyed a delicious meal at Bar Lobo, a small and modern restaurant in the heart of the city. While walking back to our hotel, we decided to cool off with a few scoops of gelato. As per usual, it was delicioso!
With a long day of exploring and shopping behind us, our team embarked on our final journey of the trip: the farewell dinner. We ate at a beautiful restaurant atop Las Arenas de Barcelona, a formal bullring turned shopping mall. Celebrating our final day in España, we enjoyed tapas and dessert with our teammates and tour guides. Before departing for the hotel one last time, we gave our beloved guides – Marta and Rebecca – some Case Western Reserve University gear and thanked them for planning such an incredible and unforgettable trip.
We are all a little sad to be leaving this incredible country but could not have asked for a better way to end our international adventure. Adiós, Spain. Cleveland, here we come!