The tapas land, Barca

Barcelona,
What a magical place.. really is.

Small magical streets

Small magical streets

When you walk down the streets of Barcelona, it’s a little hard not to smile your silliest smile, because that’s what this city makes you do.
The people are super friendly and nice (hot weather and all) and the city itself is clean, convenient to roam, beautiful! and you can really find yourself no matter what your passion is.

There are countless of historical sites, and I do mean countless! everywhere you turn your head you will find an historical landmark or some place where something great happened not long ago (or long, long ago).

For me, one of the best things to do in such places is mostly to walk around and let places find me, of course I plan ahead a little bit, but to be honest – some of the best places I’ve seen in Barcelona I just stumbled upon without any intention.

Ancient Torah books, at the old synagog

Ancient Torah books, at the old synagog

For example, while roaming on my last day I looked in ‘trip advisor’ and saw that I’m about 20 meters from an ancient synagogue – so I went to check it out and it was great – one of the oldest synagogues in Europe.

Now that we established the grounds (that I did not really plan), let’s go a little into details:

To this trip I flew from Israel (took some holiday from China) and here’s funny story – we were supposed to go 3 good friends – 1 decided he can’t come because of school (and told us 2 days before D- day) and the other friend and myself went to the airport – but funny enough my friend’s passport was all torn apart so they did not let him on the plane, so I found myself on a plane to Barcelona alone:(

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The view from placa d’Espanya

Once landed I took the bus from the airport to the city center (about 5€) and landed in “placa d’Espanya” – a big roundabout by the magical fountain and the national art museum, we will get to those later.

Iv’e walked along “Paral El” boulevard and got acquainted to the Spanish architecture – beautiful.
Iv’e reached my (very good) hotel at around 11 am Barca time and after a quick checkin, I directly went out to explore.

First thing I wanted to go see the “La Rambla” which I have heard so much about – it’s a very cool and big street with many shops and restaurants all around – there I had my first meal in Spain – took some Spanish tapas (omelet) and San Miguel beer – moi bien;)

The entrance to the food market - don't be alarmed by the crowds, go in:)

The entrance to the food market – don’t be alarmed by the crowds, go in:)

From the restaurant I walked along the Rambla until I came across the food market – this is a must! so many colors, smells and tastes just waiting for you to try them!
Go walk around, see and feel the atmosphere and of course – eat! There are many places to grab a bite and there are many places to buy some special chocolates / Spanish traditional candy – but be aware – it’s not too cheap.

Also important to note – the market is closed on Sunday – just like many other stores in Barcelona.
From the market I walked along the Rambla until I reached “Plaza de Cataluna”.

this is the street that goes out of the plaza towards the sea

this is the street that goes out of the plaza towards the sea

Near the plaza there is a ‘small’ street with many small shops (booth kind) with hand made things – worth checking out! if you just got out of Rambla, take a right and another right, you’ll see it.
After the Plaza (which is a mall basically) I went on to “Arc de Triomf” (built in 1888, overlooking the passeig de Lluis).


The arc is nice, like the one in Paris – something to see and continue:)
If you will continue from the arc towards south west (walk along “Passeig de Lluis Companys” you will see a really nice boulevard and after crossing the road you will reach a cool park calked “De La Ciutadella” – there you might find many people that do cool things like juggling, magic etc.
At the end of the park there is the Barcelona zoo – I haven’t been due to lack of time but if you have the time, check it out.

Playing around by the plaza - on the way to the beach:)

Playing around by the plaza – on the way to the beach:)

From the park I went towards the beach and found a sea of people as well as an actual sea – everyone was happy – skating, rollerblading, playing volleyball and relaxing, awesome!

You can walk along the beach and see many places to sit and have a cold beer in a warm day:) also, try a new tapas!

IMG_0192After checking out the beach I continued to walk around until I reached the area of my hotel, where I have found a nice small restaurant to buy take away from (took chicken breast, salad and chips) and also bought some fruit from a nearby small shop.

After buying food I have retired to a long good night sleep – which was much needed after not sleeping for a few days (and to prepare for the 2 days yet to come;) ).


On my second day I thought about taking an ‘hop on – hop off’ bus but because Barca is not that big – I decided to talk it through. Also, when you walk you pay attention to small things you wouldn’t necessarily notice while on the bus.
While walking around I saw a few cool things – as follows:

IMG_86751. Casa Batllo – a house built by Antony Gaudi in 1888 for the Batllo family (famous for textile industry) and later, in 1905, while still owned by the Batllo family, it was renovated and became what you see.
The design of the house is amazing, truly, seems like it was
designed with inspiration of the ocean life, and as such, it does not have 1 straight line!
Besides the above fact – the house is very functional and very smart – amazing considering it was built well over 100 years ago.
The tour is not the cheapest but really worth it – for more info, click here.

Sagrada familia

Sagrada familia

2. From the Batllo house I went on and stumbled upon the “Sagrada Familia”, also by Gaudi – but with this one I had the worst luck. I’ve arrived at around 12:00, and they said it’s closed for mass and they will open at 4, so I went at 4 and stood in line until they told us that all tickets are sold out until 18:00.

I had no intentions of waiting for 2 hours – so I decided to try my luck the next day.. to be continued..

3. The wonderful “Palau de la Musica Orfeo Catalana”.
This is a wonderful concert hall which held shows of all the who and who’s – it’s a brilliant building from both in and out.

Palau de la Musica

Palau de la Musica

When I first arrived there was no English tour – I needed to wait for 1.5 hours – again, had no intention of doing so (crazy waste of time in this 2.5 days trip) so I went on and came back.
Eventually I took the Spanish tour – didn’t understand a word but I saw the beautiful building and a great rehearsal of a Russian group.
Important to note – the only way to get in is with a group, so plan a head (it’s possible to book tickets online, click here for more info).

The cathedral

The cathedral

4. After “Palau de la Musica” I went to “The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar” – a very impressive cathedral, from the inside and out. When I went there was a long line, but fortunately it’s not because the place is packed but because the cashier was slow;) so don’t worry about the line, be patient.

Inside the place is beautiful, full of small temples and of course a lot of mosaics.
Don’t miss out on the panoramic rooftop view! it’s a must!
You’ll see Barca from above – a beautiful sight.

By the fountain

By the fountain

5. Even though by that time I was tired, I decided to see one more place – so ‘on my way’ to the hotel I went to see the “Magic fountain of Montjuic”.
Lucky me – it was not working on Sunday.. so I continued to check around the area and walked around a lot – it’s a beautiful area definitely worth a visit.

Besides the fountain, there is also a cool Spanish village, there’s an Olympic area and the national art museum of Catalonia.

Spicy potato and fried artichokes

Then I went back to the hotel, took a shower and went for dinner at a small restaurant called “Vigo” – on Paral – El boulevard and Ronda de Sant Pau (approximately, a little to the east).
I had fried artichoke leaves and spicy potato and of course – a cold draft beer, not too bad:)

 


Day 3 – la finale.
Guess where I went on the morning of the last day? you probably guessed it – tried my luck again at “Sagrada Familia”, but lo and behold, I arrived at around 9:20am and the line was long – and they sold tickets for 12:45.. again.. so I decided to skip this landmark and keep it for next time, you know, leave some taste for more;) if you plan ahead – you can book tickets here.

Camp Nuo

Camp Nou

From the cathedral I went to see FC Barcelona’s football stadium, the famous Camp Nou – a must for me..
But, well, let me save you the metro trip and the 23€ ticket – it’k ok, not more.
There is a nice museum – but if you don’t absolutely LOVE Barcelona football club – you won’t really have too much fun.
You will get to see the stadium itself which is very impressive, but you can do that online as well;) next time I’ll make sure to come when there is a game going on.

Then I went to have a proper breakfast at a local place – had a sandwich with Spanish omelet (potatoes and garlic with some vegetables) by the stadium.

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Arc de Triomf

After breakfast I went back to La Rambla area to buy some clothes from C&A (affordable and decent quality) and continue to do what I like the most – walk around and explore!
I’ve stumbled upon the Picasso museum but, as I got accustomed to – it was closed:( (Check for tickets&times here). Then I just continued to walk and at around 16:00 went back to the hotel, took a shower and went to eat dinner because I knew I won’t have one in the flight.

If you twist my hand and ask me to summarize the trip and Barcelona – I will say it’s amazing and a must go place.
You can find anything for everyone and every taste – from clubs, beach, good restaurants (all kinds of food), museums, many different sights and places to see and of course a bundle of good atmosphere.

Go, check it out and have fun!
Have a good one!
Adam.

Here are some photos I’ve taken during the trip:


Adam Disatnik

I have been living in China since early 2013 in the great Beijing. I try to travel as much as I can and try to understand the culture and the habits as much as possible. It's amazing how much can be learned about China, and about life, while living abroad in a totally different country than the one you grew up in. I love it! Catch up on my blog to try and understand along with me:) Adam.

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