Barcelona is huge. Especially since I was coming from smaller towns in Portugal. I was able to walk just about everywhere but it was still about a 20-30 minute walk.
I was here in Barcelona from the 25-28 of October. I was suppose to land in Barcelona at 23:35 on the 25th but didn’t end up getting in til 00:20 on the 26th because of delays. Which was kinda of concerning since I needed to get into the city and then to my hostel. I’m pretty sure I took the last Aerobus and got into Barcelona and to my hostel at 1:30am. I would highly recommend taking the Aerobus to and from the airport, it’s cheap (5.80€ one way), and comes every 5-10 minutes.
I stayed at Mediterranean Youth Hostel and could tell it was a party hostel. How? I got into my 10-bed room around 2am and there were only 2 people sleeping in a sold out hostel. Yeah, it was like this all the time. People coming and going late in the night.
I tried to do the main tourist attractions early in the morning and bought all my tickets online. First stop on the list was Casa Batllo.
Casa Batllo is of course a creation of Gaudi. And while the outside is impressive with it’s curves and colourful mosaics, the inside is even more unique.
The inside of the house is suppose to mimic being underwater and the water the light interacts with the water. So on the inside, there are no straight lines, not even the walls are straight. And everything is alive with colour, with mosaics and broken tiles. When you buy a ticket, it also comes with a free audio guide and the one thing it mentioned was that the railing and the handles to doors and windows were ergonomically designed. Being pretty interested in this comment, I started touching all the door and window handles and of course the staircase bannister. And I was so amazed and what I was feeling, everything fit into my hand so perfectly. As you enter the upper floors, it then starts to mimic bones and rib cages. And then of course is the rooftop.
On the rooftop above, you can see the scales on the front part of the house, and this is suppose to be the scales of a dragon. There’s some reference to this dragon throughout the house too. The white arches are suppose to be the ribcage of the dragon and the stair railing is suppose to be the spine.
Overall I thought entering this house was an amazing experience, despite the kinda pricy ticket and one I won’t forget anytime soon.
Since I know nothing of History and Barcelona seems to be a pretty popular city in Europe, of course I had to go on a free walking tour. Our guide was amazing, he was quite funny and kept us entertained for the 2.5 hours. We mainly walked around the gothic quarters which were also stunning but a bit too touristic. The people of Barcelona don’t live in the city centre any more. It’s too expensive, so the places here are mainly airbnbs. But he did share some history of the area..
- One thing that I was quite surprised with and had no idea, is that Barcelona is in the community of Catalonia. And Barcelona identifies more with Catalonia than with Spain. Their nationality is Catalonian but they come from Spain. They also want independence. But according to Spanish law, you cannot hold a referendum. But somewhere in the EU, you technically can. Our tour guide, who has small children commented that in school they learn Catalonian and English. They don’t even learn Spanish in school! I found this quite shocking. So it’s only a matter of time that Catalonia becomes their own country? I kinda of found this relates to Quebec in Canada.
- I saw the steps where Columbus climbed to ask the government for money for his trip to ‘India’ but got turned down. He later went to Madrid and got his money there.
- Barcelona lost it’s #1 spot for pickpocketing to Paris. it also has highest rate of deaths by pedestrian crossing in Europe. But has a decreasing pigeon population. They now have these green parrots and if a pigeon comes anywhere near the nest, they get killed.
- Guadi was a very religious man. In his last few years he lived at the Sagrada Familia and wanted to become one with nature, so he let his hair grow out, grew a huge beard, eventually not wearing a lot of clothes and stopped wearing his glasses. You know how he died? He got hit by a bus. Since he was so ragged looking, people didn’t know who he was and thought he was a beggar. He laid there for a couple of hours before someone brought him to a hospital, and not the good hospital, the one for beggars where he didn’t get the best treatment. Upon looking into his pockets they must have stumbled upon some sort of ID cause they called the Bishop at the Sagrada Familia to come identify him, and yes, that was him. At once they proclaimed they get him to the right hospital and the best treatment, but Guadi said no. He wanted to be with the real people of Barcelona. A few hours later, he died.
- Catalonia has their own type of Gothic architecture. Normal Gothic has high peaks and tall spears, which is suppose to bring you closer to God and has a lot more fine detail, while Catalonia Gothic is more boxed shape, no tall spears and has very little detail because they don’t wanna distract you from praying to God. fair enough I guess.
The next day, once again early in the morning, i headed to Park Guell, again, another creation of Guadi. It’s nearly impossible to get here direct. Every option that I saw was at least 40 minutes and of those 40 minutes, 20 was walking. And now I see why, it’s on a friggin huge hill. But the views were amazing.
Park Guell of course didn’t disappoint. Once again in his classic architecture, everything was curved and made of pretty broken tiles. There was no audio guide here, so i’m not too sure exactly what the purpose was of this park, but it was just so visually appealing.
And then of course, you have the Sagrada Familia.
Yes, it’s still under construction and probably will for the next 10 years. It’s suppose to be done in September 2026, which is the 100 year anniversary of Guadi’s death. But even with that date in mind, they said they’re still gonna be working on some of the small details on the exterior. So who knows really. But according to Guadi there is no deadline for God and this church is suppose to be a church for the people, so i’m sure if he heard they were charging people to get inside the church, well i’m sure he’d turn over in his grave.
During my stay at my hostel, they also provided meals at dinner time. And on one of the nights, we had Tapas. Tapas are just a wide variety of appetizers turned into a big meal. The hostel made so much food for us! We had a Spanish omelette which looks like a pie but made of eggs, potatoes and onion – really good! We had potatoes which looked homefires, breaded calamari, salad, guacamole, and type of bruschetta with prosciutto. It was all so amazing and we had so many left overs!
Barcelona was a gorgeous city that offered so much that i still haven’t seen and so much food i’d still like to try.