Barcelona proved beyond my expectations. The city was thoroughly beautiful, bustling and just felt extremely livable.
The apartment where we stayed at had a lovely view of Barcelona and the blue sea further. This was one of my best stays through airbnb (www.airbnb.com, for cheap vacation rentals!). I am normally not a big fan of animals but the two dogs and two cats there were just so friendly and cuddly! The apartment was very close to the famous Parc Guell, the garden with excellent architectural elements designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. Barcelona was strewn with the masterpieces of Mr Gaudi and other architects, making the city one of the best architectural destinations in the world. The distinct identity of Barcelona has to be the colorful, spectacular, and bold monuments all of which are such a pleasure for the eyes.
As the weather was more pleasant during evenings, we frequented the nooks and crannies of the city on foot. We gazed at the various beautiful buildings, including Casa Batllo, one of Gaudi’s best works. As unique as the exteriors were, I read that the interiors were even more awe-inspiring, even though we didn’t go inside. Due to the fairly big size of the city, we did lose our ways a couple of times, which only opened more doors to our exploring. Later on our first evening, we went to see the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, a dazzling display of colors, light, music and the water. The whole show was captivating. This free show is a must-see for any Barcelona visitors during summer. This was also where we first saw illegal vendors trying to sell off cheap souvenirs in their makeshift shops. When they noticed the cops however, they would vanish in a jiffy.
The vibrant beach life was also one of the reasons why we chose to visit Barcelona during summer. The other morning we headed off to the quieter beach of the city, Nova Icaria. The morning was cloudy yet warm and there were not so many sunbathers. I was constantly on a lookout of my things, as all the prior readings I had done on Barcelona advised travelers to be alert on pickpockets and various other petty scams. We experienced no such hassles though and spent a quiet morning at the beach. I was impressed how a beach practically in the city could be so clean and relaxing.
We wandered around for a bit until we noticed the famous church of Sagrada Familia in a distance. We decided to walk until there. The journey proved long on foot, but we didn’t mind. Sagrada Familia, perhaps the most famous landmark of Barcelona, was truly enchanting. The exteriors were so detailed and beautiful that I could look on for hours. The most interesting part is that the construction that first started 132 years ago is still going on! We then used the city’s extensive metro service to get to the center. We went onward to La Rambla, a popular shopping street in Barcelona. The street was crowded and crammed with kiosks, bars, shops, and vendors on the sideways. We then went to La Boqueria, one of Europe’s biggest food markets, with an entrance from La Rambla. A foodie’s paradise, the market had a wide selection of all kinds of food items. We went into one of the local tapas bars to have some quick potato and egg tapas. We continued walking on La Rambla street until we reached to the harbor. It was then when it started raining heavily with thunderstorm. The rain showed no signs of stopping anytime soon, so we decided to go on with swimsuit and towels that we had from the morning at beach.
Walking in the heavy rain with thunderstorms was fun, to say the least. We decided to get back home after enough of walking for the day. The other remaining days we did some tours of the cathedrals and old streets in Barcelona. We also spent a lazy afternoon in the famous Barceloneta beach. which was voted the best city beach in the world recently. Entrance to many museums are free on Sunday evenings in Barcelona, and so we wanted to take that advantage. The looooong queue at Picasso museum however was enough to make us change our minds about all other remaining museums. Despite being careful and reading about the types of scams, we were scammed with dancing puppets trick in Barcelona! This trick involved dancing of paper-cut out dolls to the speaker sound nearby to attract visitor. We asked the shabby looking vendor how it worked but with his limited skills in English, he said that it was because of magnets! We thought to give it a try as they were quite cheap (5 euros each and we bought only one ), but a minute later we found out it was fake! When we tried to find the vendor again, he was gone! DON’T buy those dancing paper-cut out dolls! I feel lucky that we didn’t have any other troubles despite warnings all over the internet on the vulnerability of naive tourists in Barcelona.
Barcelona was enthralling and I could move there tomorrow! I loved the variety of food, the vibrant culture, the lovely weather, the sea, the palm trees and most of all, the striking architecture.