The bus ride seemed to never end. People were strewn across their seats, sleeping awkwardly, and in my opinion, some extremely uncomfortable positions. I myself had gotten a few hours of sleep, and probably would have slept through the entire trek had it not been for the constant bumps in the road that caused much annoyance whenever I tried to shut my eyes. Regardless, it was worth staying up, especially when I got my first glimpse of the city.
Although a major city like Madrid, Barcelona’s population is a bit less dense than the capital. The port city is located on the western shore of Spain, which is why it took so long to get there. We had just enough time upon our arrival to take a brief walking tour of the city and grab a bite to eat in a restaurant located at the top of a mall. The shopping center had previously been a bull ring. However, after years of reconstruction, it became Las Arenas Shopping Center. After taking countless escalators to the top, we arrived at the restaurant, and were given a delicious 3-course meal which included a fresh salad, chicken and rice and lastly, a chocolate dipped banana. We then returned to the hotel and got some rest for the exciting day ahead.
Early morning came, and after an enjoyable breakfast of eggs, bacon and croissants with Nutella, we loaded up onto the bus and off we went. Like Madrid and Toledo, we began with a tour of the city. Our guide showed us bits and pieces of architecture and landmarks that were famous within the city. An hour of touring later, we arrived at Park Guell. Park Guell is a park designed by Eusebi Guell, a famous architect who wanted to give some beauty to the people of Barcelona. I was fascinated with the exotic wildlife, especially the wild parrots that flew around, and to top it off an astounding view of the city.
Later in the day, we visited one of the most famous landmarks of Barcelona and perhaps all of Spain. La Sagrada Familia is the famous basilica that dominates the skyline of Barcelona. Construction began in 1882, and in 2015 it is still only just over 60% finished due to lack of money for construction, however the basilica is expected to be completed in the early 2020’s. The chapel has the most unique designs and patterns I had ever seen and it was definitely the highlight of my time in Barcelona.
That day and the next was mainly free time for our groups. The night life was exotic, and we were able to partake in a brief tour of the Gothic areas of the city, where I believe I was able to get one of my best and favorite photos from Spain. I probably ate gelato three or four times in those two days alone, but the highlight of the food was definitely a local hotspot that served small sandwiches and other entrees. Each item was priced at about 2 Euros each, so of course I grabbed as much as I possibly could. When I return to Barcelona, I’m determined to find that restaurant once more and sample all the items on the menu that I failed to try the first time.
Barcelona had so much to offer for us. It’s impossible to describe everything in detail. From the famous stadium, Camp Nou, which houses the Barcelona FC and players such as Lionel Messi and Neymar, to the beautiful beaches and busy sideshops and squares that myself and fellow members biked for an hour or so, the city is full of unique and fun activities. Barcelona offers an endless amount of things to do, so if you are a first time tourist travelling to Spain, I highly recommend stopping here first, as it is a great way to absorb a new culture and explore the city.