After four days in the quiet town of Siurana, we ventured to the big city of Barcelona. Our first task was to return the rental car, no small feat considering 1) most signs are in Catalan 2) most people speak Catalan and 3) people drive like crazies. We hopped on a bus and made our way to the center of the city and our hotel, our home for the next four-and-a-half days. Our first task was to determine what we wanted to do each day. We were concerned about the weather projected for the weekend, which included rain, so we made a plan to get a lot done in the days leading up to that. We certainly came to find that we had more than enough time to get done all we wanted to, which was quite different from our previous European trips. That is, while we or originally worried that borrowing time from this trip to climb would hinder the Barcelona experience, both Brian and I mentioned the fact that we could have stayed in Siurana longer. This just gives us a reason to go back (Is June too soon?!).
While in Barcelona, we took utilized our tourist skills, brought about courtesy of Brian’s inherent desire to explore and the many tips and tricks of “Rick Steve’s Barcelona.”
Some of the things we did while in Barcelona were as follows:
- Catedral de Barcelona and Las Ramblas: This beautiful old church in the heart of the city and the a pedestrian-only street were so very Barcelona, the epitome of what the city is. We people watched, enjoyed the architecture of the old city and found a bit of gelato to enjoy while out ambling along Las Ramblas.
- Montjuic: We rode the funicular and then took the cable car to the top of the city where the old castle is open to tour. After taking in the city from far above, we then made our way down the hill, stopping at sites along the way.
|a portion of the castle|
|looking out to sea|
- Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic: This stop along the Montjuic stroll is the venue where the Olympic Games were held. We were able to venture inside and take a look at the stadium and explore the entire area thereabouts. We liked it so much that we went back a second day.
|in front of the Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic|
|proof I was there|
|inside the stadium|
- Sagrada Familia: This church, the brainchild of Antoni Gaudi, and a project more than 130 years in the making; it’s projected completion date is the 100th anniversary of Guadi’s passing, 2026. It was absolutely gorgeous inside with the lights shining through the stained-glass windows. Being there reminded me of being in Italy.
|walking into La Sagrada Familia|
|the view from the tower|
|the floor marks Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem|
|capturing a moment in time|
- Picasso Museum: though neither of us are artists, we did appreciate the museum. It's like transcending time and space when you look upon works of art created centuries ago. Despite being total novices, both Brian and I took note of and commented on the great changes that occurred in Picasso's work.
|no pictures allowed inside, so the entrance had to suffice|
- Parc Guell: This extremely crowded park, another contribution Gaudi made to Barcelona, is home to many interesting architectural pieces. We enjoyed lunch (and thankfully didn't have to share our seats or sandwiches with the pigeons - there are lots of pigeons in that park!) and a stroll through the park, but we did not pay to get up close and personal with the various architectural structures. We counted our cultural experience of that day as seeing the park, shopping in what Brian called Whole Food Barcelona, an expensive supermarket we stumbled across on our quest to buy our own bocadillos, think a flattened version of a sub (bread cut lengthwise and topped with meats and cheeses) and walking though less populated parks and public spaces on our way back to the city center.
|another fantastic view|
|just another parc en Barcelona|
- Port de Barcelona: we strolled along the water, enjoyed our Spanish snack (Brian had Spanish beer) and people watched.
|Port de Barcelona|
We enjoyed sightseeing, spending tons of time together, experiencing a new culture, eating tapas (and paying too much for food and sangria). In all, it was another wonderfully fantastic European adventure for the Adventure Buddies!!
|Tapas 24, our favorite tapas joint|
|sad face: we paid a LOT for sangria and we still have to go home eventually...|
|the site of the 1929 World's Fair|
we could see all of Barcelona from the top of this lift