An overview of my trip to Barcelona, Spain. Photos, stories, and bucket list successes.
Barcelona is by far my favorite city in Spain. The parks, gardens, buildings, and people make this city a must for anyone wanting to travel the world.
This city is perfectly balanced. Some old, some new. Some touristy, some classic. All absolutely beautiful.
Walking or driving down the streets is surreal. Some buildings looked like they were covered in dragon scales, others like they were built during the time of ancient Rome.
Some buildings were covered in giant sequins that moved with the breeze. No two buildings were of the same shape or design.
Bizarre statues and pieces of artwork were positioned all throughout the city, some were so large that you could see them from atop vista points, and I don’t doubt that you would be able to see them from an incoming airplane.
The contrast of new and old bridges was striking.
Every building or structure that we saw was a marvel.
Catedral de Barcelona
One of the first stops we wade in Barcelona was the Barcelona Cathedral.
We were extremely lucky to witness a “performance” by some locals partaking in a traditional Catalonian dance right outside the Cathedral. I use quotes around “performance” because this was just everyday life for the people who were dancing.
The architecture of the cathedral was striking and medeival, with stone gargoyles guarding the walls.
The inside of the Cathedral was gorgeous, with stained glass windows scattering colored lights over the stone floors. As opposed to other cathedrals, I thought that this one felt lighter, happier. A young man played Pachabel’s Canon on a violin, which echoed around the cathedral.
I felt so comfortable inside, that I could have fallen asleep on one of the pews. We didn’t stay for long, however, and we later left to get lunch in one of the bakeries near by.
Near the Cathedral was Placa Ramon Berenguer el Gran, which stood in a courtyard near some shops and restaurants.
At night, the shadow cast by the lit statue was striking against the nearby buildings.
Montjüic views and the Barcelona Skyline
Our bus took us up to the top of Montjüic mountain, where the 1992 summer olympics were held. From here we got to witness breathtaking views of the city, and I got to see the Mediterranean sea for the first time in my life.
I still can’t believe I got to see such an amazing place.
Note that this view encompasses many famous landmarks, including Sagrada Familia and Torre Agbar.
Montjüic was also home to Palau Nacional, a palace which looked like it was taken straight out of a fairy tale in a faraway land.
In front of Palau Nacional was where I later saw Font Magica, which was honestly one of the most heart-racingly unforgettable moments of my time abroad. You can read about my full experience here.
We also got to visit the world-famous Parc Güell, where we saw some of Gaudi’s masterpieces and mosaics in a vast wild garden. You can read about my full experience at the park here.
Spanish Cooking Classes
One of the excursions that I was personally looking forward to the most during my time with A.C.I.S. was a Spanish cuisine cooking class, where we were to make paella.
We were given large paper chef’s hats (which weren’t very practical, but added to the fun) and were designated specific jobs. I was on potato peeling duty. I’ve perfected soufflés, filled éclairs, mastered stuffed peppers, but put a peeler in my hand and I just make a mess. We completed the steps as an entire group, only making one batch of sub-par paella.
We soon realized that our preparations were only meant as busy-work to distract us while the real paella was being made by the kitchen staff. The steaming yellow paella came out in overflowing plates, and it was, obviously, delicious. I just wished we had been part of its creation. Don’t get me wrong, though. I had a blast with my friends over those potatoes.
We spent a lot of time in Parc de la Ciutadella, and even took a bike tour of the surrounding area. You can about my full experience with the bike tour here.
Despite Antoni Gaudi having died before its completion, the Sagrada Familia Basilica is widely accepted as his greatest work. In fact, the Basilica is one of the world’s most prized architectural marvels, despite the fact that construction has not yet been completed.
The end date is currently predicted at 2026. Completion dates aside, The Sagrada Familia Basilica is one of the most impressive buildings on Earth. Certainly the most impressive that I have seen.
More than anything else, it was massive. The edifice cast an ominous shadow over multiple streets.
These giant stone depictions of the stories of christ were massive as well, and this stone statue is one of the only in the world to picture Jesus on the cross in the nude. Seeing so many other religious paintings and statues depicted without clothing, it surprised me that this was one of the few that left christ unclothed.
Seeing Sagrada Familia is definitely bucket list worthy. 3 million people a year come to lay their eyes on the wonder. The fact that such a massive structure could stand on its own is baffling to me, and I can’t comprehend that construction is increasing the building’s size.
I am so lucky to have seen the building during it’s construction, and I know that when it is completed, the temple will take its place alongside the Great Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, Machu Picchu, and a plethora of others.