I’ve been to Barcelona twice before but this trip was by far my favourite.
I went to meet up with my friends, Kate and James, who were travelling around Europe over summer (and managed to join us on our Greek sail) and Micu, who was travelling in Spain while on gardening leave. It was only a quick trip (two and half days is far too little time in Barcelona) but it was just long enough to enjoy some tapas, soak up the Spanish culture and feel the warmth of the sun again.
To me, Barcelona is such a vibrant and wonderful place to visit. It has amazing art and architecture, incredible food, a really interesting history and culture, great nightlife, cool boutiques, beaches and lots of sunshine. Out of all the places I have travelled, Barcelona is one of the few that I could see myself actually living and working in. That said, it would be hard to work when there are so many other fun things to do!
The weekend was quite relaxed (although we didn’t end up sleeping very much!) but we still managed to squeeze in a few tourist activities, lots of food and some partying.
A trip to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without some Gaudi so we ventured to Park Güell on Saturday for an early morning walk before the crowds arrived. Unfortunately it was quite overcast and glary over the city, so the view of Barcelona wasn’t as nice as it could have been but the park itself was just as amazing as the last time we were here.
We also went to the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló. I had never been inside the Sagrada Familia because I was always put off by the long lines but this time we booked in advance to go in early, before all the tourists were awake.
I always thought the outside of the Sagrada Familia was pretty incredible but the inside is absolutely breathtaking. The first thing you notice is the height – the twisting columns towering precariously high above you, branching out like trees – then you see all the colours from the stain glass windows (which are fairly inconspicuous from the outside) creating beautiful patterns on the walls and casting an almost magical light inside. And then you begin to notice all the other little details – the intricate carvings, the subtle changes in colour and light, the ever-changing geometry, the symbolism. Gaudi’s attention to detail is truly amazing. The inside is so futuristic looking that it feels a bit surreal being there – it’s almost like you are on the set of a Star Wars movie! The photos really do not do it justice at all; it’s definitely something you need to see for yourself.
Casa Batlló is another one of Gaudi’s masterpieces – this time in the form of an apartment block which he completely refurbished in the 1900s. From the outside, the building is an interesting series of curves and colours, with the façade covered in mosaic tiles and glass, which make it shimmer in the sunlight. The building itself is said to represent an animal with it’s skull-like balconies and a spine along the rooftop covered with large tiles that change colour as you move along the terrace. It’s pretty unique on the inside too with its giant light-well covered in blue tiles and curved lines everywhere.
After Casa Batlló we met Kate and James for an incredible lunch at La Paredeta, just a street away from the Sagrada Familia, upon the recommendation of one of Kate’s friends. It may have been one of the best seafood experiences of my life. It’s a self-service restaurant so you basically go up to the counter, pick whatever seafood you want in whatever quantity, they cook it and you pick it up from the kitchen. It’s no frills (reminiscent of a school cafeteria) but seriously delicious and incredibly good value. We got pretty excited by all the fresh seafood on offer and may have over ordered, but for only €60 (split between 4) we got huge servings of grilled prawns, grilled squid, calamari rings, mussels, crab and octopus, plus drinks. Definitely worth it if you ask me!
We spent the rest of our time wandering the streets and alleyways, exploring the Gothic Quarter and enjoying all the food delights Barcelona has to offer.
Thanks for an incredible weekend, Barcelona!
Photos by Micu and I.
© 2014 Fiona Tregeagle.