As you may know, a couple of days ago we went on a short trip to Barcelona. We’d never been to Barcelona but it seems to be a perfect winter destination:
It’s about 1:50h away from Portugal, by plane;
The maximum temperature is around 14-17ºC in January (soooooooo warm!);
We can get great deals with low-cost companies and since they tend to make several flights during the day we would be able to make the best of our trip by having more flexibility on choosing the early morning flight and returning on the last night flight.
Besides being a big city, Barcelona offers great public transportation services with low prices which makes it easy to see all the interesting places.
In Europe, January is considered to be a “Low season” which means something like “I can go everywhere and won’t face big crowds of tourists!”.
Hence, we chose to go to Barcelona.
We arrived early in the morning at El Prat Airport. After finding the shuttle for Plaça de Catalunya, we went for a walk to enjoy the centre of the city. Unfortunately, we didn’t take out our cameras until we arrived to our AirBnB apartment. Our first photo was at Sant Pau Hospital (no, I (S) didn’t fall from the stairs again, like in Venice!), a beautiful modernist-catalan building.
In the afternoon, we went to Park Güell: Gaudí’s amazing garden and viewed the famous colourful mosaics made of trencadís (broken ceramic tiles).
After visiting Park Güell we were so tired that we ended up falling asleep in the couch.
We woke up early and went to see Gaudí’s lifetime masterpiece: La Sagrada Familia. We bought the tickets online beforehand and avoided big waiting lines, which gave us plenty of time to enjoy the basilica’s richly-detailed exterior. Sadly, the day was cloudy.
The interior of Sagrada Familia was breathtaking! Antoni Gaudí described its interior as an unique space naturally illuminated, much like a forest:
“The intimacy combined with the spaciousness is that of the forest, witch will be the interior of the church”
It’s interesting to see the diference between common churches, where the saints and all other religious figures reside mostly in the interior whereas in Sagrada Familia the opposite happens: all the figures, the narrative and the symbolism Jesus’ life is displayed on the exterior walls, while the interior is an abstraction of attributes found in nature (i.e. the pillars resembling trees): Gaudí mimics the forest with techniques 100 years ahead of his time.
After visiting Sagrada Familia, we walked along Passeig de Gracia and saw another piece of Gaudí’s art: Casa Batlò – a modernist building decorated with trencadís, known by the locals as Casa dels ossos (“House of Bones”) or Casa del drac (“House of the dragon”) as its balconies look a lot like fish heads and its roof like dragon scales.
We passed by Plaça de Catalunya and went to Las Ramblas, where we stopped to eat some tapas, traditional of Spanish cuisine.
Walking toward Barceloneta beach, we passed by Barrio Gótico, Arc del Triomf and Parc de la Ciutadella. And yes, we walked for hours. And yes, it was really tiring! But worthy!
We ended up walking (again) by Las Ramblas, enjoying the vibrant Catalonian people, and back to Casa Batlò to see the creepy “House of bones” by night.
We saved our last day to go to Plaça de Espanya and Monjüic to enjoy the beautiful view over the city (from a different perspective of Park Güell). Sadly, we didn’t have the time to explore the surrounding parks, including the Castell de Monjüic and Jardí Botanic.
Late in the morning, we went to Mercado de La Boqueria – the most famous market in Barcelona that sells fresh food and ingredients and is known as a tourist spot.
Finally, our trip ended in Port Vell – a waterfront harbour in Barcelona.
Hope you enjoyed!