We arrived by train to Barcelona on January 6 in the late morning. I quickly remembered the metro system I had become accustomed to during my summer studying here, and we dropped off our bags at the hostel. From there, we wasted no time in going to see some famous sights Barcelona has to offer. Our first priority was lunch. We searched for my favorite Kebab place near where I had stayed in the summer of 2013. It took us a while to find it because the owner had moved his shop, but eventually I recognized the seller and we had delicious Doner.
As a first site to see, we paid a quick visit to Sagrada Familia. Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece, it’s an exotic looking cathedral which has been under construction for over 100 years. Unfortunately the tickets to tour the inside were sold out, but we spent some time appreciating all of the detail and wild-looking external structures. I enjoyed being able to tell Tyke a bit about how it was structured and explain some of Gaudi’s style.
After Sagrada Familia, we decided to try our luck with another Gaudi creation, Park Guell. This was also packed, and we didn’t want to wait 4 hours to enter the park, so we went to the free viewing area above the paid portion. I showed Tyke some nice views of the city, and we got to see more of Gaudi’s style in the park structures. We saw several amusing street performers in the park. Our favorite was definitely a guy playing “rock and roll” but really just strumming a guitar while screaming at tourists near the top of the park. We hiked back down the hill and returned to our hostel to pick out a place for dinner and decide what to do in the evening. I convinced Tyke to go see the Magic Fountain at Montjuic.
We took the metro over to Espanya and stuck around for a few light shows. It is always entertaining to see how they coordinate the fountain to music with each display being a newly unique show. We took some time to explore the views from Montjuic and do some people-watching in the plaza. Afterwards, we grabbed some buffet-style sushi because no one in Tyke’s family likes sushi, so we wanted to give him the chance to eat a true meal of it. After dinner I took Tyke to the bar we had frequented during my summer here, Ovella Negra (the Black Sheep) where they serve 5 Liter towers of beer and sangria. Not feeling particularly bold, we opted for normal size glasses, but it was fun to go back regardless.
The next day we went straight to Las Ramblas, where I showed Tyke the Market of San Miguel, the shops and vendors, and the street performers there. From there, we followed the shoreline to one of my favorite fresh sandwich shops, Bo De B. We ate our sandwiches outside on some steps where I had to bravely fend off some pigeons. After a tasty lunch we wandered through the Gothic quarter where we saw old churches, city walls, and narrow, winding streets. It wasn’t as old-looking as Toledo but the blending of old and new styles can create some really interesting dynamics in Barcelona. We saw the steps where Colombus was received from having “discovered” the new world, and I had Tyke try some gelato for the first time even though it was way out-of-season.
Tyke was getting into the Gaudi spirit now, so we headed up to Passaig de Gracia to check out two more houses designed by Gaudi to reflect the sea. These were also crowded and expensive so rather than going inside, we opted to check out some place I had not been, Hospital Sant Pau. The old hopsital buildings look really neat, different from anything in Barcelona and the spot was not very crowded. I recommend it for anyone looking for a cool spot to see that’s a little off the beaten path.
Exhausted from our long trip, we made an early night of it after getting dinner in el Raval. We took the train to the airport bound for Germany the next morning. More on that later!
Best wishes and safe travels everyone,