I finished teaching on April 12, then the next day I flew to Barcelona to spend a few days. I wasn’t expecting to like Spain very much; I’m not really sure why, other than the fact that I speak NO Spanish/Catalan and not speaking the native language of a place generally bugs me. However, I absolutely LOVED Barcelona. The weather was beautiful, there was unique architecture that I really liked, there were lots of cool things to see, there seemed to be a lot of nature within the city, and I found a lot of lookout points over the city, which is one of my favorite things. Also, sangria.
In addition, the people were very different from the French; they seemed more like Americans to me, but of course had their own uniqueness as well. Most people I had to talk to spoke English fairly well, there were more overweight people (Murrica) and they seemed to dress more like Americans than the French, and they spoke loudly and seemed very friendly. I think the combination of friendly people and beautiful weather gave the city a super strong vibe, which was rivaled only by Berlin in all the cities I visited. It felt like it was summer there already!
Okay, enough talking, let’s get to some photos. I’m going to try to cram the whole trip into one post… here goes!
Antoni Gaudi is a famous architect who designed a lot of buildings in Barcelona. One of his most famous is La Sagrada Familia, a huge, intricate church. I went and walked around the outside but didn’t go in, because it had a ridiculous 13.50€ entry fee! The church was under construction and apparently has been for a long time, as you can see from the cranes.
The construction just got worse as I got closer.
The other side was more impressive.
Gaudi also designed an apartment building called Casa Batllo. The detail on it was amazing!
Gaudi used a lot of colorful glass mosaics.
I also hiked up to a place called Parc Guell (pronounced guay), a beautiful park with lots of trees, cacti, other plants, and a few buildings designed by Gaudi. It was far up!
You can see Gaudi’s trademark style in the buildings and other architecture.
Besides the buildings and green areas, there were a few curved open areas with pillars that seemed to be designed just to hang out and relax in.
There were lots of people around! Parc Guell is a big tourist attraction for good reason. It’s a bit off the beaten track and a hike to get to, but it was totally worth it.
A picture of me to prove I was there! Or else I’m really good at Googling facts and photoshopping myself in pictures… you’ll never know. Muah haha
Another park a friend and I stumbled across (3 friends from Nice happened to be in Barcelona the same time as me) was called Parc de la Cuitadella. The first thing we saw upon entering the park was this…
Ping pong Table tennis (sorry Dad) tables! I love Barcelona. Why don’t we do this, America??
The park also had another one of my favorite things, a huge animal statue. We decided this one was a wooly mammoth.
There was also a huge, regal-looking fountain…
and some sort of Dragon Castle. At least, that’s what I translated the Spanish into. If I’m wrong, don’t tell me. I prefer to continue believing that either dragons inhabit the castle or it’s some sort of shrine to them.
As we made our way out of the park back to the main square where I would catch the bus, my friend and I saw a big arch in the distance. We were talking about what it was and I joked that it was the Arc de Triomphe and didn’t he know that we were in Paris?
He scoffed at me until we looked at the map. Guess what?? IT’S A THING, GUYS! It’s truly called the Arc de Triomf. See for yourself. Wikipedia doesn’t lie.
The place I went to the best view of the city was Mt. Tibidabo. I took the funicular up to the top, where there are lookout points, a big church, and even some amusement park rides.
Side note: Have I mentioned I’m really lucky? As soon as I got to the top I realized I didn’t have my gray hooded sweatshirt with me. It was so warm, I had it hanging off the strap of my bag! It wasn’t in the funicular so I figured I must have dropped it on the hike up to where the funicular started. I quickly walked around and saw everything I wanted to see, then headed back down because I HATE losing things. It was driving me crazy that I lost it. Luckily, after I got off the funicular and started walking down more, I found it on the side of the path! I must have dropped it and then someone hung it on the hand rail on the side. Lucky me 🙂
There was a really big church up there:
The amusement park included a plane that flew in a circle out over the edge.
And, of course, beautiful views of the city.
Another day, I decided to go to Montjuic, a big hill outside the city with a good view and a fortress. There’s a funicular up to the top, but it was crazy expensive and I had already paid to take the funicular to Mt. Tibidabo, so I did what every sane person would do and decided to walk. It was quite a hike and I didn’t make it all the way to the top, since I was going to be late to meet my friends, but I got to see the fortress, anyway!
Spring beautifulness was out in full force.
The funicular that I regretted not taking as I sweat through my clothes.
But seriously, the view was totally worth it.
Near Montjuic is the Olympic stadium from when Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992. I’m not sure why, but I LOVED seeing the stadium. I thought it was so cool to be there!!
Okay, I know this post is getting really long, but hang with me!! That was all the major stuff, just a few other random sights, like the Gothic Quarter:
La Rambla, a big shopping street (I wasn’t too impressed, I guess it used to be better. Now it’s mostly touristy trinket stuff):
The National Museum of Catalan Art:
A people-stacking competition I came across:
La Placa Catalunya, the main square where I caught the bus and where my friends and I met:
A cool bridge that I believe is called the Moll d’Espanya:
The Barcelona Arena:
A cool building with an owl on top for no apparent reason:
La Barceloneta beach:
And finally, my favorite Mexican restaurant in Europe and maybe the world. It had super cheap and delicious mojitos (3.50€, I believe?), super colorful and tacky decorations, and best of all, MEXICAN FOOD! I frequented this restaurant twice in my three-day trip, although the first time was just for the mojitos. On my last night, my friends and I went there, and it was amazing.
Phew, that was a monster of a post. Hopefully it makes up for over a week of not posting! If you didn’t make it through the whole thing and just scrolled down, in short: VISIT BARCELONA!