Gallivanting in Spain: First Stop, Barcelona

As I sat down to write this post a question popped into my head. Why did I choose to go to Spain for three weeks and not any of the other easy to get to countries in Europe… I could have easily gone to many other cheap-to-fly-to cities on my travel list. With this thought in mind, I looked out my window and watched the rain dribble down the fogged glass through which I could see the heavy gray blanket draping the London sky. With a shiver, I thought about having to go to the store in the drizzle this afternoon. Then I remembered…

Besides wanting to experience the Spanish culture that captivated my college roommates who studied abroad there and returned with many enticing anecdotes, I mostly just wanted to go to Spain for the SUNSHINE! I felt as if I had been cold since the day I arrived in England in mid-January and it was about time to defrost.

I’m happy to report my trip around Spain was not only sunny, but full of interesting history lessons, inspiring museums, new friends, delicious food, dancing, sangria, Moorish architecture and many more experiences that have left a welcomed and lasting impression on me. I’m excited to share some of these with you through the photos below!

 

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Route Through Spain

 

Getting Rowdy con Gaudí

Despite a rough start my first night, see “Hot Boxing in Barcelona” (Oh, I stayed with those smelly men for all 4 nights by the way. You could say I felt pretty invincible after that) I actually thoroughly enjoyed my time in this colorful and vivacious city.

I mean look at it!

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Exemplar work by Gaudí

The city is dotted with amazing ARCHITECTURE

The most renowned works are by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) who was a Barcelona-born architect known for his free-flowing buildings inspired by nature. (Brush up on Gaudí.)

He is best known for La Sagrada Familia (holy family) which began in 1882 and IS STILL IN PROGRESS and is funded by private donation only.

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Sagrada Familia protruding from the Barcelona skyline

All of Gaudí’s works are demanding of attention with their unique flare.

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Other impressive and aesthetic buildings can be seen throughout the city. As I strolled the city it seemed there was always something charming or historic around every corner.

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Barcelona Cathedral

More beautiful architectural sights found while strolling the city.

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One of the other reasons I wanted to come to Spain, besides the sunshine, of course, was to learn about Spanish HISTORY because I only knew an embarrassingly minuscule amount.

Talk Nerdy to Me

So, of course, I went on the Barcelona Sandeman’s Walking Tour to learn more. Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.29.07 PM

Did you know?!

  • Barcelona is the 2nd largest city in Spain w/ 1.6 M residents.
  • It is the capital of the Catalonia region
  • It is similar to Texas in that many of the people want their independence from Spain and hang their Catalonian flag on their balconies for all to see
  • Catalan & Spanish are the official languages in Barcelona
  • Catalonia was annexed by Napoleonic France in the early 1800’s
  • The city was heavily bombed during the Spanish Civil War 1936 – 1939
  • The Catalan language and customs were forbidden under Franco’s rule 1939 – 1975
  • Spain became democratic in 1975
  • Barcelona would not be the city it is today without the economic spur which was a result of hosting the 1992 Summer Olympics
  • Barcelona has the oldest Jewish temple in Europe
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School Children Play in a Courtyard that shows damage from air raids and executions during the civil war.

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La Cultura

Barcelona also provided interesting insight into some sometimes odd sometimes fascinating Spanish CULTURE.  

Like how at festivals they create human towers reaching as high as this metal structure…

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I didn’t think you’d believe me so I found this image online.

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ISN’T THAT CRAZY?! The people are called Castellers and it is a tradition that dates back to the 18th century.

A friend and I also enjoyed FOOD & DRINK like pinchos (think anything delicious placed on a small piece of bread, in southern Spain they are called tapas) and delicious sangria found on the tucked away, narrow street called Carrer del Blai.

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And …cue Ed Sheeran Song

One of the things I appreciated is that BARCELONA BY NIGHT is just as lively and beautiful as it is by day. I spent most nights strolling by the water, watching the sunset on top of Mont Juic, and enjoying sangria in small bars.

If you do not know me well you may be thinking, “You mean you went to the club capital of Europe and didn’t go clubbing?!” But nope, not this time.

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Mont Juic is at the far left

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Other things I really enjoyed while in Barcelona:

  • Picasso Museum featuring some of his best works!!
  • Visiting Els Quatre Gats which was the meeting place for artists such as Pablo Picasso
  • Walking along the beach
  • Amazing city & sea view at sunset on top of Mont Juic

On my last day, I attempted to walk to see Park Güell (Gaudi masterpieces) but grossly underestimated both the distance and the altitude change and ended up hiking up and down a huge hill on my way. As a result, I didn’t have time to see Park Guell but I had amazing city views.

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I spent a total of 4 days in Barcelona and out of all the cities I visited in Spain during my 3 weeks this is one I felt like there was still so much to see by the time I left.

What places would you recommend for the next time I go back?

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