Spain was like a breath of fresh air and had a great vibe when I got off the plane, from that moment I knew the weekend was going to be amazing. The beautiful fountains and flowers in Placa de. Catalunya (Catalunya Square) and lively streets made a perfect first impression. If you plan on going by plane I would highly recommend the Aerobus, the last stop takes you right to the center of town and each bus comes after every 5-10 minutes.
Fountain and flowers in Placa de Catalunya
Fountain in Placa de Catalunya
The first thing I visited was Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi's, Sagrada Familia. I pre booked the tickets to avoid long lines and make sure I had a spot reserved since only a limited amount of people can enter at a time. The Roman church had beautiful stained glass windows and a unique ceiling. I had a basic ticket so I didn't have access to the towers but the church and the museum were still worth it. Parts of the church were under construction but I didn't think it affected the visit too much.
Stained glass windows in Sagrada Familia
Stained glass windows in Sagrada Familia
The roof in Sagrada Familia
La Pedrera or Casa Mila was another unique building by Gaudi that was fun to see. People to this day actually still live inside, there are around 20 rooms for rent. The walk up the spiraling stair case from the ground floor to the roof was definitely a workout. Other visitors were resting in between flights to catch their breaths. The basic day ticket had an audio guide included so I really enjoyed learning a lot of new things about Gaudi and his creations. The rooftop of La Pedrera looked like something out of a dream. The undulating shapes were really expressive, it was the most unique rooftop I've ever seen.
The view of the ceiling from the ground floor
La Pedrera roof top
Inside La Pedrera was filled with small building models and organic items that influenced Gaudi's work, the apartments (the main house where the Mila's lived) were my favorite because each room was built so specifically. For example, I liked that the sewing room was built where it is so that natural light would fill the room.
The sewing room
On Friday I explored Park Guell, La Rambla, Ciutadella park and an old Absinthe bar.
There are two sections of Park Guell, the free zone and the monumental zone. I didn't pre buy tickets to the monumental zone since the first available online tickets for that day was for 1pm so I decided to just get a ticket at the door. But when I arrived the next available tickets were 5:30pm so I had no choice but to come back. I definitely should of pre bought the 1pm tickets when I had a chance but Barcelona is a small city so it wasn't that big of a deal. The free zone of the park is quite a large area of different paths and unique rock columns. The monumental area contained the Gaudi House Museum and two other buildings. The view from the top of the main terrace of the park over looks the city of Barcelona seeing as far out as the ocean.
The main terrace
View of Park Guell Monumental Zone from the terrace.
Free Zone in Park Guell
Ciutadella park is filled with sun bathers, families and street singers. The park also contains a zoo, the parliament house, a small lake and the Gaudi Fountain. The Gaudi fountain is spectacular with all the detailed sculptures and a golden statue on top.
The walk to Ciutadella park
The Gaudi Fountain
La Rambla is the main tourist street filled a lot of local market stalls and street performers. If you want to have extra large sangrias this street is filled with restaurants that serve them. It is a great place to explore and take in Barcelona from a tourist point of view.
While walking around the city I witnessed a thief almost running off with luggage from a distracted tourist who was eating her lunch at a table outside. Luckily a good Samaritan noticed and quickly grabbed the bag from him. It was such a close call and she had no idea her luggage was almost stolen since it all happened very quickly and discreetly.
Friday night a friend and I went to eat at a local bar away from the city center. We had basic Barcelona tapas of salmon tartare, calamari and a nice white wine.
After we went to an old absinthe bar called Bar Marsella where everything had about 3 inches of dust on it probably dating back to hundreds of year ago. Stepping inside was like time traveling back to the 1800s, the old bottles on the walls were perfect decor. This bar was definitely a great hidden gem in Barcelona away from tourists.
The dust on some of the old bottles on the wall
On my last day we continued to eat more Barcelona tapas of snails and tripe. I especially enjoyed the tripe because I liked the soft texture and spicy mix of chorizo In the dish.
The beach was crowded and moderately warm in late May. The beach is a really long horizontal stretch of man made sand and was packed with tourists. We didn't stay very long but it was a nice to lay in the sun for a bit and relax.
I could of easy stayed a full week in Barcelona so I could go to the mountain side and enjoy more local foods. I will definitely be back one day. With mountains, city, ocean and beach Barcelona has so many possibilities for plenty of adventure.