Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Spain part 1 – The best of Barcelona

Why, hola September! You are already here, I wasn’t expecting to see you for awhile. I guess I’d better write about my trip to Barcelona last month (was it really last month already?) before you move along too quickly!

The trip to Barcelona was much anticipated for several reasons. 1) I’ve heard mixed reviews for most popular travel destinations in Europe (Paris and Rome, for example) but I have not heard a single negative review about Barcelona. 2) LS-san, whose real name shall remain concealed, was my travel buddy for the week. This kid KNOWS how to travel, and what’s more, I haven’t seen him in almost a year! What better place to reunite than in beautiful Spain? 3) Spain = seafood and paella. I think that speaks for itself.

First impression of Barcelona upon exiting the airport – damn, it’s hot! Well, I suppose that was to be expected. Thank goodness I brought shorts, although they were originally intended to act as pyjamas.

Travelling to Barcelona would also prove to be an interesting little adventure for LS and I because neither of us researched deeply into what we would be doing there during our 5-day stay. Well, LS did know that he wanted to see Gaudi’s stuff, but I literally did not know where I needed to go from the airport, so thankfully LS managed to find his way to the airport to meet me, as he arrived a day earlier than I did. Usually when I visit a new city, I either plan out my routes extensively (familiarize with metro system, find out about points of attraction, etc.) or blindly follow the guide my friends who live in the city. That method has never failed before, but I think both LS and I forgot that neither of us lives in Barcelona and therefore no one would really know what was going on. Uh oh.

That didn’t cause a panic attack or anything. In fact, it was all the more fun because LS was a spontaneous traveller anyway, and we both loved getting lost and found in new, exotic places. So with a map in our hands, we plunged into the unknown.

Oh, I didn’t bring Mr.Nikon with me due to Barcelona’s notorious reputation of cameras being stolen and whatnot. Also Easyjet’s one-baggage quality wouldn’t have allowed me to bring my camera bag. Oh well, good ol’ Mr.Canon got the job done.

On the first day, we were looking for the way back to the hostel from the airport, if I remember correctly, and we may have been lost at some point. I saw this gigantic mural while wandering aimlessly through the streets of Barcelona. Quite magnificent, I must say.

Red skies at Barcelona Sants, the main train station of the city. LS and I ended up at the train station frequently during the trip because it was the transportation hub that led to various places around Barcelona. We started out here to get to Girona and Vilanova (post to come) and I sent LS off to Germany on his last day here. Anyhow, the sky was majestically red at dusk on this day, radiating a crimson glow in the atmosphere that surrounded us. Mystic, yet soothing.

The waterfront in Barcelona by night. Strolling on the spacious pedestrian paths by the Mediterranean Sea reminded me of night walks by the Garonne in Bordeaux, calm and relaxing. Very much enjoyed!

Various types of fruit drinks at the market by La Rambla, a busy touristic commercial pedestrian street in central Barcelona. Of course you can’t miss sangria in Spain, but whether the sangria sold at the market contains alcohol or not is subject to debate. I had wanted to get the papaya coconut one, but it was rather expensive…>_>

Must-see attraction #1 and perhaps the most famous landmark of Barcelona: Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic church designed by Gaudi, whose architecture can be found scattered in Barcelona. At first I didn’t expect to be awed by this place, but upon exiting the metro station and coming face to face with this giant, I was literally astonished. What a gorgeous piece of architecture! Absolutely stunning, beautiful, superb! The cranes ruined it though. Sorry Geoff.

Must-see attraction #2: Park Güell, home of more Gaudi architecture. The trip to the park was actually quite tedious as we took the route to enter from the back, which involved climbing steep hills, descending steep hills, getting lost, climbing and descending n times, then finally climbing over a mountain before we reached the point of interest. Not amused, especially on such a hot day! We got there in the end, and boy, this place was filled with tourists! The two funny-looking buildings here remind me of houses in fairy tales. Perhaps the house of the seven dwarfs? Or the place where Little Red Riding Hood lived? It’s up to you to imagine!

Heck yeah, Spanish food! One thing I was looking forward to the most was having as much paella as my stomach could handle, and that actually happened as LS and I had paella every night for dinner, at different places. There is never such thing as too much seafood – such delicacy! I loved the cuttlefish especially. The freshness, the texture, the flavour…too yummy for words! As for drinks, LS and I did have sangria a couple of times, but I wasn’t expecting to drink as much beer as I did. Spanish beer was delightful, though, and it was double the joy to drink with a long lost friend. Santé!

Huge advertisements towered over us every time we visited Plaça de Catalunya, a public square at one end of La Rambla.

I found this shadow of a knight on a horse cast on a building at night super amusing and fun. It was an accidental discovery, as LS and I were focused on the actual statue of the knight and the horse itself and almost didn’t notice the light play and the shadow effect. Pretty darn cool, almost like a dark knight riding into the city to steal people’s souls and dreams…

This is the National Art Museum of Catalonia, located on Montjuïc hill. It is my favourite place in Barcelona, and I was rather sad that LS wasn’t able to visit it with me as he had to leave early. Not only is the museum splendid and grandiose, the entire area behind the museum is a park that allows for some quiet time spent in wandering. Surprisingly there weren’t as many tourists around as I thought there would be, which was perfect as I was able to spend some quality time with myself up on the hill.

And here is the view of Barcelona from the top of Montjuïc hill, in front of the museum. So gorgeous, so magnificent.

It took a few days of immersing into the city to fully appreciate what Barcelona had to offer, but in the end, I will say that I liked the place. Barcelona overall reminded me a little bit of Paris, but it gave me a completely different feeling, for some reason. Maybe it was due to the difference in culture between the French and the Spanish. Maybe it was the colours and styles of the atmosphere in which I found myself in. Maybe it was the companionship. Maybe…but sorry Paris, I liked Barcelona more than you.

13 responses to “Spain part 1 – The best of Barcelona

  1. jujkim September 8, 2011 at 23:22

    I just got back from a trip to Madrid and Barcelona myself (and blogged about it)! Just hearing you write about the food makes my mouth water again.


  2. jujkim September 8, 2011 at 23:48

    I agree! Just the other day one of my friends asked me about the highlights of my trip, and she laughed at me because the first thing I talked about was the food.

    By the way, I just realized you requested access to my super old site that has nothing on it now (and I just deleted it so it wouldn’t mislead anyone else). My active blog address is actually if you want to check it out (but I don’t mean this as a plug to my blog or anything).


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