Tuesday, July 14, 2015

New Blog!!

Hello! If you haven't already heard, I have moved! I've updated my site and changed platforms, my new site is ashleymungiguerra.com. All of my content has moved, so you can still read all of my previous posts. If you are following on Bloglovin, you will have to change to follow my new site, but I hope you all keep reading!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Barcelona Part 2

After our quick getaway to Madrid, we were back in Barcelona for two more days. But, since our first day back was spent on the beach (and I do mean all day) most of my photos are from our last day.

Despite being on the water, Barcelona's main beach, Barceloneta, is man-made. But I'm not complaining- I'll take a beach day, any day.

Since our overnight bus dropped us in Barcelona so early, we figured we would head straight to the beach and start soaking up the sun before anyone else arrived.

Barceloneta, all to ourselves. 

After lounging on the beach a little too long, we wandered back to our hostel, where we stumbled upon Gaudi's Casa Batlló. While we didn't go inside (you can see Amanda's tour here) we did stop to snap a few pics of the exterior. 

Monday morning, we were up bright and early for our last day so that we could finally tour Park Güell. But first, we had to trek up....

Yes, those are escalators in place of sidewalks. I told you this place was rough...

Note the Catalan flag hanging on the building. During our entire three days in Barcelona, I did not once see a Spanish flag- I only ever saw Catalan flags. We didn't spot a Spanish flag until Madrid. 

Catalonia, the province where Barcelona is located, has been fighting for independence from Spain for years. You can tell how fierce their national pride is- art and architecture are filled with Catalan symbols and the flag flies all across the city. 

If I bored you with a little politics, here's the real attraction- the park. We arrived around 9 am and the clouds hadn't yet cleared, so the pictures aren't exactly Pinterest-worthy but you can still see how impressive the park is. 

Usually you can see the beach and the ocean in the distance...

Trying to avoid the pigeons (even if it looks like I'm feeding them- believe me I never would). 

We found this little guy in a sea of pigeons! 

After the park, we headed up (literally, straight up) to Mount Tibidabo, where an amusement park sits atop the mountain. We thought there was a castle on top (you can see it from pretty much anywhere in Barcelona), but it's actually a cathedral.

A well-deserved dinner after our climb up the cathedral. 

I loved Spain and would 100% visit again. I would love to explore more and see so many other, smaller cities. As a history nerd buff, Spain is a goldmine for exploring and learning about past empires. Until next time, Spain!

P.S. I hope everyone has a happy 4th of July!! I'm off to New York for the weekend and I hope y'all enjoy the holiday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


After our day in Barcelona, we hopped on an overnight bus (note to self: NEVER do two overnight buses in a row) to Madrid. This isn't the best form of transportation but it is cheap, and it saves you both travel time and money for accommodations. We wanted to see more than one city since we had four full days in Spain, so we took advantage of the bus to hit Madrid for the day.

I really wish we had planned out things to do in Madrid, because the sights seemed limited and we ended up doing a lot of wandering. The one thing I wanted to see, the Prado museum, had a line wrapped around the building to rival the Louvre, so we opted to skip the Spanish masters this time around. 

But, we still saw a good chunk of the city, and I really liked Madrid. It is a lot sleepier than Barcelona, as it is the capital and not located near any partygoer-filled beaches. There is so much history in Spain and I wish I could explore it all. 

The Plaza de Cibeles. 

I have no idea what most of these buildings are, but the architecture in Madrid (and throughout Spain) was stunning. 

We accidentally stumbled upon what we thought was a police parade, and ended up following it all the way to the palace, where we caught a glimpse of (what I can only assume was) the Spanish royal family on their balcony!

The Royal Palace. 

Santa María la Real de La Almudena Cathedral, the seat of the Archdiocese of Madrid. The palace had a looong line (welcome to Europe), so we opted to climb the near-empty cathedral instead. 

The view of the palace from the cathedral, which sits just across the courtyard. 

This was the most colorful church I had ever been in! The outside looks like a traditional cathedral, but the inside is brightly colored with modern patterns and designs. Building began on the church in 1879, but, like so many things, was halted by the Spanish Civil War and did not begin again until 1950 (this is part of the reason Sagrada Familia has taken so long). The church was completed in 1993, when in consecrated by Pope John Paul II. 

After exploring the cathedral, we wandered down to Parque del Oeste, where the Temple of Debod is located. The temple is an Egyptian temple, built around the early second century BC. In 1960, when the Aswan Dam was being built, the temple was under threat of destruction, along with several other archaeological sites. UNESCO stepped in, and Spain was awarded the temple for having previously helped to save the temples of Abu Simbel. The temple was disassembled and reassembled in the park where it now stands. 

After the temple, and wanting to kill a few hours, we wandered over to the Buen Retiro Park, where we decided spur-of-the-moment to rent a row boat. Granted, the little pond isn't much, but the views and people watching were great. 

Plus, where else would you get this great shot of me attempting to row the boat (Tori was captain most of the time)? 

Our captain. 

After all that hard work of rowing, I figured I deserved a margarita!

That night we were back to Barcelona, where we hit a few last sights and the beach! To keep you entertained until then, you can always watch this again.