I wasn’t planning on writing a whole post about Barcelona by itself, but I have so much to talk about that I figured I needed to. I spent three days in the city this last weekend and that wasn’t enough. I wish I had more time to explore and see things. Like Madrid, this is a city you can’t see in an entire weekend.
Before you go, you have to do a little research. If you’re expecting to get by with your Spanish, you may have a little trouble. All of the signs are in Catalan, which is different than Castilian Spanish. Most people speak Catalan more than Castilian too. Also, if you’re interested in architecture, you’ve got to know who Gaudi is. He’s the one who designed most of the city’s most interesting places.
Speaking of Gaudi, I’ll talk about the places we visited by him. Our hostel was super close to La Pedrera and Casa Batlló. We didn’t go inside either (it looked expensive to go inside the Casa Batlló), but they were still cool to see from the outside. We also had time to see Parc Guell (Park), which is beautiful. For this, you have to buy tickets ahead of time, and they’re around seven euros each. We also took the metro out there since it was a decent walk away from our hostel. However, the park makes for some pretty pictures.
Finally, we saw La Sagrada Familia, which was by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. I think it’s so worth the money (I say as I got in for free with my program), but I’d look into it ahead of time and get tickets before going to skip some of the lines. If you pay more you can take an elevator up to the top. I wish we could have one that; I’m sure the view is amazing. Also, once you finish exploring inside, you can go outside and see the church part underneath. Just ask where the crypt is.
There are a lot of Gaudi’s work that we didn’t have a chance to see. If you’re limited on time, I’d look into his work ahead of time to prioritize what you really want to see and what you can save for next time.
Saturday night we climbed up to a place called the bunkers (búnquers del carmel). It’s a little bit of a hike and it goes through some residential areas, but it leads you up the top of a mountain where you can see the entire city. If you decide to go now or in any cold weather in general, I’d suggest dressing warmly because it was pretty windy. Also, bring food to enjoy after your long hike up there. There are busses that go up to that area so you don’t have to walk all the way from the center of the city. We went right at sunset and it was beautiful (and also full of young people). We stayed for at least an hour as it got dark, eating ice cream and thinking about how lucky we are to be studying in Spain. It was one of the best moments of my experience here.
If you’re interested in shopping the main road/area of the center of the city has a ton of shops up and down it. There are also restaurants everywhere. We ate at a place called tapas tapas for cheap tapas one night, and also ate tapas another night at sol restaurant in the placa (plaza) del sol. We also visited the Mercado de St. Joseph, and the mirador de colón (monument for Christopher Columbus) where we took pictures on the lions.
If you want a place to walk around, I highly suggest walking around the gothic barrio. The cathedral of Barcelona is located there and that is also a beautiful place to visit. We got a tour through this area, but I don’t think that was necessary. I would have been fine walking around and exploring it on my own.
We also visited the Picasso museum, which I would have skipped if I had the choice. If you really like art/Picasso, then for you I’d be a must see. It was cool because it had work from all throughout his life and not just the works we’re used to seeing. However, being so short on time, I would have rather gone somewhere else.
After this weekend I’m already wanting to go back to visit again. I’m making a list of places I’d love to go see next time. Barcelona beat out Madrid for my second favorite city in Spain by a long short (though nothing compares to Sevilla, my home). Barcelona is a must see city in Spain, but plan ahead so you get to see what you want because there’s so much to see and do there.
Pokémon go: I found a lot of water Pokémon here: poliwag, horsea, staru, tentaool, etc. The new Pokemon that I found was a tangela and a Scyther.