I have no clue what exactly the comment, "Barcelona is the Europe of Spain" means, but I cannot count how many times the lovely folks of Andalusia said exactly those words when they found out I would be visiting the city of Barcelona. On our December Puente I was planning a solo trip to Barcelona because I love traveling solo and plenty of people speak English so getting from point A to B would not be to difficult.
About a week before a new friend asked if she could join and I agreed without hesitation because sometimes company really is nice. We had a wonderful time and I was thankful for her ease with asking three strangers in a row if the directions we had received from five other strangers were correct so as to make sure we always knew where we were located and moving towards. Since we are new friends it was great getting to know each other and our conversation did not become stale or forced at any point. More importantly she did not judge my zealous desire to eat Barcelona whole in three days.
The plan according to all the advice and research I completed was to visit as many historical sites as possible and devour all the European style eats as possible- tapas are not free in Basque country and if I'm paying for the food I'd rather it be in large quantities.
So we walked and we visited and we ate, and we ate some more. Over all the trip was great, I definitely plan to return AND that is not an empty threat. Breaking down the places and spaces works better than trying to fit everything into a essay style analysis with witty commentary, so read what you want and comment when you want.
SitesBarcelona: Seriously. The architecture and layout of the city is very different compared to the other cities of Spain. There are no Pueblos Blancos and Plazas have a different layout style. The buildings are different stone and the way they loom over the street gives way to a very gothic mind frame. After discussing with some Spanish friends it was explained to me that Barcelona is a Modernism city, one of two that fall under Spanish rule ( the other is actually located in Africa).
La Sagrada Familia: I was amazed at the genius that designed and built this Cathedral or Basilica. While the design and idea belongs to Guadi due to his unexpected death others have worked on the completion of the Cathedral for the last 100 years. At this time the area they are working on is a carving of an open book with the phrase, "Our Father Who Art in Heaven" in 25 different languages. Very powerful. While I was able to enjoy La Sagrada Familia I was not able to shake the notions that the Chapel was not meant to be downstairs. That Guadi meant for those attending to worship with the light flooding in many different colors and the presence of nature surrounding all present. He built La Sagrada Familia as a man of faith wanting to enhance the worship of others with the beauty of nature and that is not possible to do when the building is a tourist attraction. While I know that service is held on Saturday and Sunday, and I respect the decision of where worship service is held and tourist roam I cannot help but wonder if Guadi would be of the same respectful mind frame.
Guadi House: I was just fascinated in being able to visually see Guadi transform in his work and goals of design. Anyone interested in how much nature and faith played a part in his work life should definitely visit the house. Unfortunately I have no picture inside due to not knowing how to turn the flash off of my camera (ha!).
Park Guell: Take the elevator. Don't second glance the welcome sign for tourist ( not welcoming at all) and enjoy the views. Also, enjoy the lady playing the homemade harp. You are able to see the entire city of Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and Guadi House. All while surrounded by some beautiful wooded area. The park is named after the man who funded many of Guadi's projects. Guell intended for the area to actually be a housing complex were the house were small and the gardens large. The entire area screams "Guadi built me, enjoy"!
Picasso Museum: Picasso in his youth was a force to be reckon with, take note. I would definitely suggest the Audio Tour so that you can truly understand the images you are seeing. My favorite part was seeing the Picasso take on other famous works featured in the Prado in Madrid.
Eats and Treats
Poppy: THIS.PLACE. This sweet, dream circus of a playhouse. If I could have moved in I would have, but I doubt the regulars and staff would agree to such an agreement. The food was rich, the Swiss Coco had melted chocolate and homemade marshmallows. And that Carrot Cake, damn.
Kiosko: A burger the size of my head- I measured. You will wait in line. You will drool at those eating already while you wait. You will then check-off the ingredients that you want to fill and progressively fall-out of your burger as you eat. You will order, hunt down a spot ( no worries all are conscious of the quick life span of their seat, 30 minutes max), then sit in that spot and watch the counter until your food starts floating towards you in the hand of a nice server. Then you will eat the burger the size of your head. With your choice of fries, potato wedges, or papas bravas. While you eat you may or may not add one of the four sauces mixed in city and all good- your choice again. Everything is your choice, your wants, your desires and yours to enjoy.
Milk: I expected, Minimalism and clean cut. Wrong. First off all after walking to the end of Barcelona and taking an exit right before the ports you will find this place in what I later realized was El Born. The mood was more dive bar, speakeasy style. Which is perfect for me, especially since the lighting still allowed me to see the cute bartender. The burger involved onions caramelized in balsamic vinegar. Enough said.
The Pub: An English Pub located in the middle of everything. A great place for those strictly traveling to take a break- a little getaway. But honestly, really just a place to go if you do live in Spain after living somewhere else and know that other beers exist outside Cruzcampo.
Name Unknown: To the sweet little cupcake shop and legit pizzeria, I apologize that I was so focused on eating your deliciousness I did not pause for details. Sincerely, I'll make it up to you the next time I visit. Promise. Both are located in central areas and the cupcake shop was celebrating its grand opening to great success.
Aide and AdviceAsk your Spanish friends, ask your friends who have lived in Spain, ask people who know people who have study abroad in Spain and then ask friends whose parent traveled in Spain during their 25th anniversary. Once you've compiled a first witness account start doing some research on the World Wide Web and feel free to stop by the following places that gave me a little helping hand.
Pinterest: Seriously, this place rules the world, so of course traveling the world guides are in abundance.
City Blink Blog: Thanks for the hangover suggestion places, but more importantly the introduction to Milk and Kiosko.
TimeOut: Honestly, if you plan on traveling to any city in Europe I would suggest stopping by the TimeOut Blog for some tips. They're considered for the Hipster crowd only, but honestly I just like that they think outside the box of places to visit.
Driftwood Journals: This blog is written by a gentleman who actually lived in Barcelona for some time and not only does he provide places to visit, but some cheap tricks to boot. For sure invest in the Metro card he suggest, you will need the metro to get to some Tourist spots AND from the airport/train station into the city.
If you've yet to visit I hope this little blurb helps you figure out where your headed and what to eat AND if you have visited feel free to add tips and tidbits to the comments section- the more the merrier! Below are some photos to thank you for your time and bearing with this very long winded blog post.
Hope you're enjoying the holiday season, Until Next Time . . . Adios, Hasta Pronto, Be Blessed!