Back in the summer of 2012, I visited Barcelona. It was an amazing three-day trip, except for the weather... It must have been the hottest days of the year in Barcelona, which is not very good for sightseeing.
From Lisbon to Barcelona.
After we arrived, we got a taxi and went to our apartment in the center of Barcelona. We booked our trip very late, and all the hotels with best prices were already full. As a result, we booked an apartment in Passeig de Gràcia, near Gaudi's fantastic building La Pedrera.
Unfortunately, we had some problems with the apartment. There was no one to receive us, so we had to wait a long time in the street until someone showed up. Even worse, the lady that came to welcome us barely speaked english. To make things worst, the apartment hadn't been cleaned yeat, which mean we had to wait even more... As you can imagine, we arrived in the middle of the afternoon but just managed to get out of the apartment by night.
We did a little recognition that night. First stop was the Plaça de Catalunya, which was full of people enjoying the warm night of Barcelona. After grabbing something to bite we walked to the lower end (Monument a Colom in Port Vell) of the most popular (and crownded) street of Barcelona, La Rambla.
I don't have many pictures of our night walk because we were tired and we just got out of the apartment to eat something and to do a recognition of the area. After a small stroll, we got back to our apartment to rest and get ready to our first real day of experiencing Barcelona.
We woke up the very next day with an incredibly hot weather at 9 a.m. and got ready to get to know Barcelona. We found a cafe near our apartment where we had a small (but good) breakfast.
Little did we know that in the very heart of La Rambla we had the best place for breakfast: Mercat Sant Josep de la Boqueria.
This was the best market I've ever been to. You could find almost everything there, from fresh fruit, smoothies, juices, ice creams to pasteries, freshly baked bread and many smoked hams. I couldn't take photos of everything because I was too busy eating a delicious watermellon ice cream (guilty).
It was not too late to complete our breakfast, so we grabbed some smoothies and some fresh fruit. I loved this market. It was a complete explosion of colours. I saw fruits that I had never seen before in my life! There were also less healthier options such as tables full of all types of candies.
Enough of food. After leaving the heavenly market we headed to Plaça de Catalunya, where we bought tickets to the touristic bus. This is an excellent way to sightseen Barcelona. Even more, you can hop on or hop off as many times as you want.
We could feel the the hot sun of Catalunya as we saw Barcelona streets embellished with many Gaudi's architectural works. We passed Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (La Pedrera), but we kept on the bus and only hop off on Montjuïc where it is located the Palau Nacional home to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. Sadly, we had a tight schedule so we couldn't see every museum in Barcelona. We skipped this one but we managed to enjoy the landscape for a while.
We hop on the bus and headed to the Fundació Joan Miró. I cannot say I know how to appreciate Miró's work because I truly don't understand most of it. But I enjoyed the museum and I got to know better his paintings and I really liked some of the sculptures.
After visiting the museum we hop on the bus and returned to the heart of the city. We spent the afternoon exploring the Barri Gòtic. It's a whole different part of the city of unique beauty. There are many dark and silent alleys. It's both creepy and beautiful.
In Barri Gòtic we could find one of the most beautiful historic buildings of the city: Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia.
We returned to Plaça de Catalunya , passing through La Rambla (again!).
We hop on the bus once more and went for a sightseeing trip around Barcelona by sunset.
At night, we headed ourselves to a dinner on the most popular street of Barcelona. Of course, La Rambla. I can't descrive how much life you can find in that particular part of the city. There are so many people just wondering around, exploring all the kiosks where you can find anything from souveniers and pasteries to flowers and animals. There are also many pavement cafes and restaurants were you can sit and enjoy a drink or even try the famous spanish specialty Paella. That's what we did anyway, Paella and Sangria.
Later in the night, our way back to the apartment, we stopped to admire Gaudi's Casa Batlló. I personally think it is even more beautiful when it's illuminated at night.
After a night of rest, we woke up in the next morning and, this time, we went directly to La Boqueria to have breakfast. Delicious of course. And more photos of the yummy food.
Next stop: Museu Picasso. It was not allowed to use cameras but even if it was, it was not worth it because you can only admire the paitings by being there. No one can definitly miss this museum, especially if you like Picasso. And if you don't like Picasso's art because you don't understand his style, you should came anyway because this museum shows the growth of Picasso as an artist, since the beggining, with many portraits and social realism themed paitings, to the very peak of his carreer as a cubist painter.
After visiting the museum, we hop on the touristic bus and headed to the most famous building of Barcelona: La Sagrada Família.
It is impossible to describe the greatness of La Sagrada Família. My pictures don't make any justice to it. Besides being in construction since 1882 and still unfinished, its beauty is unique and stunning. Gaudi said, about the subject of its construction, "My client is not in a hurry". This construction is not supported by any government or official church. It was initially funded by private patrons. Now it is the money from the tickets purchased by the tourists that is paying for the work.
Our next stop was another of the many Gaudi's landmarks in Barcelona: Parc Güell.
I didn't took many photos here, and there are two plausible explanations: first, the place was crowded with people taking pictures and bumping with each other; second, it was aroud 2 p.m., which meant it was almost impossible to be in the sun. And guess... There wasn't any place to hide from the sun that wasn't already full of tourists. As you can imagine, it was a quick visit.
After this visit we had a last sightseen of Barcelona on the touristic bus. Just resting our legs and enjoying the views for one last time before leaving to the airport.
See you next time!