Two weekends ago we traveled to Barcelona, where we stayed with friends from the United States who are also studying abroad. Barcelona is very unique, and distinctly different from Madrid. I would compare the two Spanish cities to Dallas and Austin, Barcelona being Austin because it is more laid back but has a lot of character.
The best thing about Barcelona is the architecture. Gaudi’s influence can be seen everywhere, which is a Dr. Suess-like style with odd angles and colorful mosaics. The most well-known attractions by Gaudi in Barcelona are La Sagrada Familia and Parque Guell.
La Sagrada Familia is a cathedral that Gaudi started designing and constructing before he died in 1926, that won’t be completed until 2050! Parque Guell is a park Gaudi made for artists like himself, on top of Bacelona’s tallest hill. It has the same whimsical construction, and today is filled with musicians, vendors, hippies, and tourists.
Our friends live right near las Ramblas in Barcelona, which is a busy shopping area. There is an amazing outdoor food market called La Boqueria, where you can buy anything and everything fresh, from a smoothie to the head of an animal. We opted for smoothies, and then rented bikes to ride along the beach. The weather wasn’t great, but the beach was still beautiful and had lots of fun clubs at night.
Barcelona’s best kept secret: Bo de be, a sandwich shop near the harbor that is delicious, and according to students studying there, the only thing you really need to experience in Barcelona (I wouldn’t necessarily agree). Barcelona’s biggest vice: Viejo verdes (dirty old men) and the fact that they don’t speak Spanish, mostly Catalan.