Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain

An overview of my trip to Barcelona, Spain. Photos, stories, and bucket list successes.


Summer 2012

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.

Train from Barcelona, with the hat that I bought.

Train from Barcelona, with the hat that I bought.

This city is perfectly balanced. Some old, some new. Some touristy, some classic. All absolutely beautiful.

Barcelona streets

Barcelona streets

Barcelona building from bus windows

Barcelona building from bus windows

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.

Building in Barcelona

Striped design building in Barcelona

Some buildings were covered in giant sequins that moved with the breeze. No two buildings were of the same shape or design.

Surreal building in Barcelona

Surreal building in Barcelona

Modern building in Barcelona

Modern building in Barcelona

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.

Barbed wire statue in a courtyard of Barcelona

Barbed wire statue in a courtyard of Barcelona

The contrast of new and old bridges was striking.

Modern bridge in Barcelona

Modern bridge in Barcelona

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.

Catedral de Barcelona

Catedral de Barcelona

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.

Locals performing a traditional Cattalonian dance

Locals performing a traditional Catalonian dance in front of the Cathedral

The architecture of the cathedral was striking and medeival, with stone gargoyles guarding the walls.

Cathedral exterior

Cathedral exterior

A gargoyle, used to ward off evil as well as act as a storm drain. Worn away by time.

A gargoyle, used to ward off evil as well as act as a storm drain. Worn away by time.

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.

Inside the Cathedral

Inside 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.

Cathedral entrance

Cathedral entrance

Near the Cathedral was Placa Ramon Berenguer el Gran, which stood in a courtyard near some shops and restaurants.

Trying to remember where this was

Placa Ramon Bereguer el Gran

At night, the shadow cast by the lit statue was striking against the nearby buildings.

Horse shadow

Statue’s shadow

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.

Above Barcelona

Above Barcelona

I still can’t believe I got to see such an amazing place.

Docks on the Mediterranean Sea

Docks on the Mediterranean Sea

Sailboats off of Barcelona

Sailboats off of Barcelona

Barcelona skyline

Barcelona skyline

Note that this view encompasses many famous landmarks, including Sagrada Familia and Torre Agbar.

Palau Nacional

Palau Nacional

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.

Font Magica, Montjuïc, Barcelona

Font Magica, Montjuïc, Barcelona

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.

Park Güell


The Center of Parc Güell

The Center of Parc Güell

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.

Spanish Cooking Classes

Spanish Cooking Classes

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.

Sightseeing


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.

Parc de la Ciutadella

Parc de la Ciutadella

Biking through one of Barcelona's many famous parks

Biking through one of Barcelona’s many famous parks

Sagrada Familia


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.

Massive cranes look spindly compared to the awesome size of Sagrada

Massive cranes look spindly compared to the awesome size of Sagrada

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.

Perspective of Sagrada Familia's size compared to pedestrians

Perspective of Sagrada Familia’s size compared to pedestrians

More than anything else, it was massive. The edifice cast an ominous shadow over multiple streets.

Alternative side of Sagrada Familia

Passion Façade of Sagrada Familia

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.

Sagrada Familia Basilica

Sagrada Familia Basilica

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.

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