BarcelonaBarcelona was my entry point to Spain and I fell in love with the city. There was so much to see and plethora of activities to engage in. But, I had only 2 days to spend here and decided to cover the maximum of the city before moving out. On my arrival, I took a two day unlimited metro and bus pass from the tourist information counter at the airport. Barcelona offered a lot in terms of history, art, culture, beaches, and the delicious food. The city boasts of the architectural marvel of the Spanish architect Gaudi.I started with the famous Roman Catholic Church La Sagrada Família, designed by Gaudí. It is huge structure and is difficult to miss. As I entered, I was greeted with different coloured glasses on both sides of the main hall facing the Christ. The architecture of the church and its towers was worth admiring as I spent my next hour exploring the different parts of the church.Thereafter, I made my way to the Gothic Quarters which is located at the heart of the city. It is called so because it used to be the Roman village and thus has some remnants of its glorious past. The entire area was around 4 blocks with the narrow, winding streets that create a labyrinth. As I walked in these lanes admiring the history and architecture that exists so beautifully in the city, I reached right in the heart of the district. There is the huge Cathedral with a stunning courtyard full of plants and oddly geese. At the end of it are some good restaurants and bars to treat yourself while you relax and enjoy the surrounding.My trip to Barcelona would have been incomplete without visiting the famous and most beautiful street in the Spain, Las Ramblas. Famous and infamous for many things, you will find almost anything you wish for somewhere along the Ramblas, if not on Las Ramblas itself. There is an abundance of restaurants, cafes, live sketch artists, live performance, flower and craft stalls, fashion shops and many more. The best part which I loved was the La Boqueria market, also known as Mercat Sant Josep, a world renowned indoor market. The moment I entered, I was in for a treat. The market was full of candies, sweets, fruits, spices, meat and fish products (Oh the food!). At the end of it were some bars which served delicious cuisines and amazing drinks. It was full of people and yet somehow everyone was able to reach their desired shops with no problem. I treated myself with some of the delicacies and went out to explore the rest of the street
20 | Barcelona + MONTSERRAT + COSTA BRAVAKick off the visit with Gaudi’s pride and the most popular tourist sight in all of Spain, La Sagrada Familia then get lost in the alleys and nightlife of El Born. Barcelona is enjoyable year-round, famed for sunshine and tasty tapas. Take a day trip to nearby Montserrat, a monastery nestled in the scenic mountainside inland then head north towards Costa Brava to Salvador Dali’s hometown, the picturesque village of Cadaques. Great for food and cultures lovers. If you want to take advantage of the beach scope out a trip from late spring to mid fall.
Barcelona is notorious for pick-pockets and this is something I realized the hard way, in spite of being pre-warned and exercising all caution. So, my trip started with spending half a day lodging a complaint at the police station!
We parked our luggage at Kabul hostel and headed off to explore the La Rambla street- a lively promenade that offers a multitude of food and shopping options. The boulevard is best experienced in the evenings afoot, when it is all lighted up and filled with street artists and performers. Do explore the markets adjacent to the street- they are pretty cost-effective and extremely colourful.
There are free walking tours, for which bookings can be done online and it is one of the most convenient ways to get a head-start on understanding the history, culture, architecture or experience the local flavours. Some of the places to visit/experience that can be covered include:
Picasso museum, glass makers street, Cultural Centre in El born district, Ajuntament de Barcelona-the political heart of the city, Sagrada Familia, Mulberry Cemetery, Cathedral Barcelona, Santa Marina del mar church, Camp Nou, the Gothic quarter, Plaça del Rei, Park Güell, Plaça nova
The city-squares are surrounded by buildings of modern and medieval architecture. These are very lively and often crowded. Some host an antique market and sometimes, one can share a move with the traditional Catalan dancers here.
Day 3 was the trek up Mt.Tibidabo (courtesy Joey’s stories in Friends). It is almost a half-day uphill trek, through less trodden precarious paths amidst the jungles. But, the panoramic view of the entire city and the sea in the horizon makes it completely worth the sweat. Montjuic is another less-challenging trek and road uphill flaunts multiple attractions like the Olympic stadium, Miro Museum, amongst a few others.
Barcelona has the Gaudi’s architecture, it has the beach, it has the Football Club of Barcelona it has people from all over the world! You just can’t remain unaffected by the youthful vibe of this city!