Mi viaje en España: Barcelona
I still remembered the first time I heard Spanish songs. Even though I didn’t know the meaning of the language, somehow the cheerful melodies stayed with me for a long time. They accompanied me during times I felt stressful and those days I felt blue and beat up by life. Then I decided to learn Spanish to understand what the singers are singing about. I noticed that most Spanish songs spread positive life messages and that’s why I am so intrigued with the Spanish culture, and this spirit brought me to a trip to Spain.
When the plane flew over Mar Balear, I knew I was very near Barcelona. Barcelona is the largest city in Spain, but the local people speak Catalan. Though it is not Spanish, knowing some Spanish, French, and English can help decode Catalan. Most knowledge about Barcelona I acquired from my Spanish courses. Therefore, visiting Barcelona felt exactly like the pictures on textbooks became real in front of my face. As I had a short stay at Barcelona, I didn’t tour all the tourist attractions in details, but I will share as much as I can.
One of the must-sees in Barcelona is Park Güell, which was designed by Antoni Gaudí and was listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. The characteristic of Gaudí’s works is that they are mostly colorful and/or consist of irregular shapes. Those features can be observed in Park Güell as well and the logic behind it was that Gaudí believed in nature, thus artificial straight lines shouldn’t appear. The entrance fee for Park Güell is 10 euro, free entry is possible outside of the ticket charging hours, but due to Covid-19 new regulations may apply. Most part of the park, besides the monumental area, is free, as they are public areas. Nevertheless, to avoid large crowds during summer times, early entrance is strongly suggested. The colorful salamander and the rooftop of Park Güell are places that shouldn’t be missed out. The whole Barcelona is filled with Gaudí’s work, other famous architecture includes Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, Sagrada Familia (above photo 3), and so on. As Sagrada Familia is not done yet, I plan to pay the entrance fee when it is done after 2026.
The main transit station is the Catalonia Square (Plaça de Catalunya). This station is near the famous street La Rambla, which is a 1.2 km street that separates Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) from El Raval. There are many street artists on La Rambla, but pickpockets occur also quite frequently here. Therefore, while entertained by street artists, pay attention to your personal belongings at all times.
Walking down La Rambla, you will see Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia) (photo 1–3) on your left-hand side, if you are heading toward the port direction. This Gothic church was constructed in the 15th century. In addition to its elaborate outlook, the inside of the church is also spacious and delicate. Near this church is the Bridge of Sighs (El Pont del Bisbe- Bishop’s Bridge) (photo 4), which was constructed in 1928 by Joan Rubió i Bellver. According to online data source, it is said that the architect’s original design of this bridge was rejected. Thus, out of anger, he designed the bridge according to the accepted plan but hid a skull and a dagger in the bridge. Whoever took a look at the skull will be cursed according to this legend. Furthermore, people are also suggested not to look above when walking pass this bridge. The origin of Bridge of Sighs is in Venice which connected the old prison with the new prison. Sighs, of course, came from the prisoners due to their loss of freedom. In the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic), you can also see other Gothic buildings which feels like a travel through time.
At the very end of La Rambla, you will reach port Vell. There you can have a great view of the ocean. Barceloneta Beach, a 4 km sand beach, is also just around the corner. The beach is quite crowded but quite clean as well. The W-hotel direction is less crowded than the other side. We also did a hop-on-hop-off bus tour in Barcelona where I took some pictures of Plaza of Spain (Plaça d’Espanya) and the Barcelona train station. A funny but morally incorrect photo of many earphones from the tour bus left at the top of the station was also taken. lolll
An activity that can’t be missed is the Magic Fountain Show (Magic Fountain of Montjuïc). Note that the fountain show is closed on Mondays. For other days, just follow the opening hours on their official website. The location of the fountain show is in front of National Art Museum of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) (photo 3). The fountain show, the lighting, and the music are all very nice. Just make sure to arrive early to save yourself a better spot.
Lastly, I would like to share information on food choices in Barcelona. Since my friends and I cooked for some meals, we went to the famous Mercado de La Boqueria on La Rambla to purchase some seafood and meat. We also went to one of the local restaurants on La Rambla called La Fonda. It is a restaurant that is not too expensive but relatively crowded. We had arroz negro, tortilla, and sangria. All the dishes are very local dishes that I would strongly recommend tourists to order. Restaurant-wise, I guess each person has his or her different taste, but the local dishes are definitely worth a try!