It was 2 years ago when I was contemplating whether to live in Barcelona or London – clearly, London won. Not because of it’s beauty, or it’s energy or it’s people, but simply because of it’s language – being born in a small country such as Slovenia, I wanted to perfect my English as it seems to be very much needed in nowadays world. Needless to say it went horribly wrong, as I now own the dreadful Aussie accent. Looking back, I would never change my decision – because it’s where I met Dave. However, Barcelona remains to be my love, mi amor. 🙂
We didn’t have much time in Barcelona, because I had to be at Uni on Saturday, but we made the most of what we had – we were super busy running around all day, every day.
One thing I love about Spain is it’s art and with Gaudi being one of my favourite architects (not that I have many) we started our trip by visiting Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, also known as The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. It has been work in progress since 1883 and it still hasn’t been finished. Gaudi itself worked on it for 43 years, until his death. Nowadays, the construction has been financed by donations and contributions by thousands of people. Being a Tour Guide in Spain, I could go on and on about the architecture, but I will just make it simple for you. Even if you don’t love architecture, you have to like this:
If you want to know more about the Sagrada Familia itself click here. This is also the site where the top photos are from, as I (clearly) haven’t taken these. I wish though. But here’s a photo we managed to take:
….Same same but different?
We continued to La Rambla, very famous, touristy street/boulevard in Central Barcelona connecting Placa de Catalunya and Columbus monument. If this was a street in London (like Oxford Street), I would usually avoid it as much as possible, as it equals hell. However, La Rambla is such a lively and vibrant street, that you simply have to visit it. The avenue is filled with restaurants, different artists, small shops and human statues.
I need to warn you though: beware of the the pickpockets!
While looking around, being completely distracted by the beautiful buildings, art and people trying to “lure” you in their restaurant it’s easy to forget about that wallet in your back pocket.
As for the dining on the boulevard itself, I would suggest eating somewhere else, but I guess it is a tourist must do and restaurants do offer a lot nowadays. Just don’t expect the food to be amazing. 🙂
I need to warn you though: beware of the the pickpockets!
I would strongly suggest you stop at La Boqueria, one of the best markets in Europe and get a refreshing drink or a bite to eat, as it literally offers everything you could possibly ask for in Spain. 😀
After having a small bite we walked through the narrow allies on the other side to Ciutat Vella, also known as the Old city with the beautiful Barri Gotic and Cathedral de Barcelona. Just to give you and idea of how majestic the Cathedral is, here is tiny me with the notsotiny Cathedral:
The square in front of the Cathedral is a good place to sit down, relax and enjoy the street performances. Soak it all in. We returned to Rambla and walked all the way down to (previously mentioned) Columbus statue and had a nice walk next to the sea side and Port of Barcelona, before (finally) having some delicious tapas (small Spanish finger food/dish). I am obsessed with the bread with tomato, so we always had to get that, but we also had some jamon iberico (their cured ham) and small squids with parsley and garlic. Beautiful. 🙂
Eventually I gave in to Dave’s complaining about needing the beach (jk, I desperately needed it too), so we basically went and had a nap at Barceloneta beach. If you’re planning to eat or drink at the beach, be prepared to pay quite a lot (you can find better things for a better price just a short walk away). 🙂
We were quite tired on that day, as we only had 3 hours of sleep the night before, so we walked through the Parc de la Ciutadella and slowly headed home. We spend the next few days discovering more work of Antoni Gaudi, such as Casa Batlo and Casa Mila (which I have seen uncovered for the first time in the last 3 years yaaay!!) and also my favourite, Park Güell. It used to be free 3 years ago, but now you have to pay to “chill with the lizard” and sit on the beautiful benches. We were quite unlucky as it was sold out on an extremely sunny day and we had to return the next when it was raining. Even so, even in rain, Barcelona still takes my breath away. We spend one of the days walking around the park, practicing our Instagram posing, as we seem to be horrible at it (mission failed btw) and me working on my photography skills (less bad).
It’s a bit tricky to find, but if you walk to the top of the park, there is a tower with a beautiful view of Barcelona. It was quite busy, so we didn’t spend much time there. We also knew we were going to Tibidabo later in the day, so we didn’t bother taking a good photo. I tried taking a photo of Dave (top middle) and a guy nearly pushed me off a tower to take a selfie, so I quickly gave up. Life over selfies for me, please.
Like I mentioned before – Tibidabo. Everywhere you look, it will be shown as extremely complicated to get to. You can get a direct Tibibus from Placa Catalunya when the amusement park on Tibidabo is opened.We had to combine a few things however – it will sound complicated, but I promise, it’s really easy. Take the line S1 or S2 to “Peu del Funicular” and then take the “Vallvidrera Funicular” (located in the same station!) to the top and then a really tiny bus 111 (literally just outside the station every 30 minutes). Why go through all the trouble? First of all, it doesn’t take much time and second of all, it’s all included in the Travelpass. The 3 day Hola Barcelona was around 20€ and included the train to and from the airport as well (bargain!).
When you get to Tibidabo, it’s literally a platform on platform on platform. Make sure you climb the first platform and then walk inside the church and you can take a small elevator to the top, all the way up to Jesus (it will cost you 3€). On the next platform (haha), you have to continue walking up to get to the next platform to continue walking up to get to the top. It’s worth it though, the view is amazing. 😀
One thing you have to visit as well is Placa d’Espanya – Dave absolutely loved it. There are so many things you have to see there – the bullring (bullfighting is illegal in Catalonia) now converted into a shopping center, the Venetian towers, Palau Nacional and also Fontana Magica. The Magical Fountain show only ran on Fridays and Saturdays, by then we were unfortunately already home. The timetable should change anytime now though. If you think looking at a fountain for half an hour is boring, trust me, the show is really amazing and the time passes by really quickly.
We finished the day with traditional tapas, paella (rice dish with basically everything) and sangria (wine drink with fruit).
One thing you can do while visiting Placa d’Espanya is walk a bit further and you will get to Poble Espanyol (Spanish village). It is a village (Sherlock Nastja) with a selection of full-scale replicas of buildings from different parts of Spain, also known as the architectural museum. There is Estadi Olímpic Lluís Company nearby as well, built for the summer olympic games in 1992.
We also spent quite a bit of time in non-touristy parts of Barcelona having delicious tapas and wine – quite cheap even in restaurants. If you’d want to know more about that – let me know in the comments!
And just to convince you, it’s beautiful even in rain, here are a few photos from the stunning Park Güell;
Did I mention I am going back in a month as well? It will be a 6 day trip, so there will be more time to visit every single thing this beautiful city has to offer. 🙂
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Thank you for reading.