Our flight from Rome to Barcelona was delayed due to an air traffic control strike at the Barcelona airport. It seems that strikes are a somewhat common practice in Europe and we would come to experience two of them in our three-month stint.
Thankfully the trains were running and we soon found our way to our hotel.
Upon checking in we discovered a free walking tour. The tour guide stopped by our hotel the next morning, and we followed along with her to several other hotels and hostels where she picked up more participants to a total of about twelve. The premise is that the guide is working for tips and you can decide what to pay at the end of the tour. We were very pleased with the spontaneity of this walking tour and the caliber of the local guide, and plan to do more like it.
Among other things, we toured the old part of the city and learned about the Catalan history. Being from Texas, we are well acquainted with the notion of secession.
Thirsty from our walking tour we stopped for a drink on La Rambla, a street popular with tourists and locals alike, where we people watched from a table within its broad pedestrian boulevard. It’s overpriced and touristy, but in uncharacteristic form we lapped it up anyway.
Appropriately hydrated, we made our way down to the beach to dip our toes in the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
No trip to Barcelona is complete until you have visited the church of La Sagrada Familia. Fashionably appointed in a fine Italian scarf, we avoided queues by purchasing entrance tickets in advance. Designed by Antoni Gaudi, construction started in 1882 and is on schedule for completion in 2026!
“There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature. Therefore, buildings must have no straight lines or sharp corners.” – Antonio Gaudi.
Intrigued with the work of Gaudi, we visited Park Guell to see the famous organic architecture. What we found in this public park was so much more: local musicians, vendors, numerous walking trails, flora, fauna, things to climb, and great views.
As evening enveloped the city, the energetic spray of the fountains came alive to the beat of the music and the crowd matched its fervor.
In our too brief visit, we loved the cosmopolitan feel of the city and people of Barcelona.
Visited April 2015
Next Stop: Camino de Santiago