Seventh stop, Barcelona, Spain! Getting there was pretty painless and the underground train system was simple to figure out but that could also be because I remembered some Spanish from my 10 years of taking it in school (side note, isn’t it amazing that you can do something for so long and then a short time later, it’s like you never even learned it?! Languages, they’re hard man). However, after leaving my family behind in Athens, I was experiencing a bit of homesickness and just wanted to lay in bed. Thankfully, the weather cooperated with my mood and rained the first day and a half so I didn’t mind curling up with some Netflix. But the second the sun peaked out, I made my way to explore the city. I had a full week in Barcelona so I decided I was going to try to space everything out and really enjoy each attraction unlike every other city where I was mostly just rushing to the next thing because I had a limited amount of time there. This resulted in slower walks, longer meals and a very relaxed week.
However, I was still able to get quite a bit done, one of my favorites being La Sagrada Família. Sure it was a tourist madhouse and of course it’s STILL not finished. Designed by Gaudí, this work of art has been in the building process since 1882. Yep, you read that right, they’ve been working on it for 136 years and it’s nowhere near being completed. Yet, it was still one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen.
La Sagrada Família will eventually be compromised of 3 main façades representing the three crucial events of Christ’s existence: His birth: His passion, death and resurrection; and His present and future glory. Then there will be 18 towers – surrounding the one in the middle that is representing Jesus Christ, 4 will represent the Gospels and another 12 to represent the Apostles. Not much of this is done yet, however, the rainbow mosaics inside completely make up for it. With the reds flowing to oranges then yellows on the Passion side and yellows slowing changing to greens then to deep blues on the Nativity side, the colors reflect the sun’s path throughout a day and can be seen as the main room changes hues.
Besides this beautiful work of art, I absolutely loved the Sandemen’s Bike Tour. It took us out of the main city center and into a section of neighborhoods much like Chicago’s Wicker Park and Logan Square. We were surrounded by boutique shops and great cafés. Stopping at one, we were able to try Spanish horchata – not my favorite thing but it came with a donut so not mad about that. We also got to visit the Bogatell Beach, just a little bit further out of the city center than La Barceloneta but very easily reached by bike. Had I not done the bike tour on my second to last day in the city, I would have wandered back over to the Sant Martí area which is also right by the Agbar Tower and Mercat Fira de Bellcaire Els Encants. Which speaking of markets, they are EVERYWHERE in Barcelona. This really helped me cut back on my food spending plus everything was 10x more fresh, especially those tomatoes (and no, I won’t shut up about the tomatoes being better in Europe anytime soon because yes, I’m still bitter about it). Moral of the story, definitely hit up the markets. One of the most popular ones is La Boqueria on La Rambla, a famous boulevard in the city.
Food & Drinks
Sights to see
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