I made it back to Barcelona. Four years after my last visit. Same city, different sites, same story, different people. When reading through my last Barcelona post it seems a lifetime away. I enjoyed this time more. Must have been the company, I guess.
We stayed in the best location possible. Right on Las Ramblas, next to the Bouqueria Market. Perfect location to discover the city, especially the older part of town. I can recommend this hotel if you are looking for something not too fancy, yet modern, comfortable, clean and cute. Also, definitely book a room with a terrace which has a view over the market and going out to the back. I think facing the front would have been way too noisy. Las Ramblas never sleeps it seems.
The Cultural Part
What dominated this visit were “churches”, which is odd since neither my travel partner nor I are particular religious. I assume it was the architecture, the tradition, the history that fascinated us so much that we visited 4 churches. Not a lot at all when you start counting all churches in Barcelona, however not a bad turnout for us during our 3 day stay. If I told my family that I even went to Sunday Mass (in Catalan) they won’t believe me – I might need to add that I rarely go to church even on special days like Christmas and Easter. We did, in the Cathedral of Barcelona, an impressive gothic cathedral.
Then, there she was… the most stunning church I’ve ever been to. La Sagrada Familia. All the times I’ve visited Barcelona before, I didn’t feel the urge to go in. Assuming that the interior is just as busy and crazy as the outside. How wrong I was. The interior is the complete opposite. I have never experienced anything so calming, impressive and yet so humble than La Sagrada Familia. Goosebumps guaranteed. Gaudi intended to give the feeling as if walking through a forest made of stone. Walking between the pillars makes you aware of how small we actually are and at the same time how wonderful he world is and that we are part of it. It almost seems to be out of space, like being in an Avatar movie. Almost impossible to describe with words.
If anyone ever visits Barcelona, this is definitely a must-see! Just one recommendation: purchase your tickets online beforehand. Schedule your visit and save time walking around and queuing for tickets. In fact, this should be done for any tourist attractions in Barcelona (maybe even worldwide… the same happened to us last year in Berlin). We must have spent at least 3 hours of going from one site to the next just to end up buying online anyway.
The Dining Out
There was the mandatory dining at Plaza Reial. Paella, of course. Delicious. There were tapas at the beach front and more tapas in El Born, then there was IKIBENA. “A melting pot of experiences, tastes and styles from East and West”. Japanese-Brazilian Fusion – this basically means something like Sushi topped with strawberries. Simply delicious. It is not only the food that makes this restaurant so special, the interior design is just stunning. Definitely, one of the best decorated places I have ever been to. Highly recommended.
The Other Stuff (the man and woman stuff)
Barcelona is not the right place to fall in love and expect a happy ending. I should have learnt from the last visit. Reading my last post again, I was actually smiling. No, I wasn’t in love back then, I guess it was an emotion that came in the spur of the moment. The excitement that is easily and falsely confused with being in love. It was just meeting an old old friend again.
This time around I travelled with someone I liked a lot long time before we even left. Someone I have travelled with before and who is just an awesome person to spend time with. Similar to me in many ways. I might have even lost my heart there for a bit (not in Barcelona, but long time before). Although this was probably on my side only, this person makes a perfect travel partner. So, at the end I am glad we went together. My recommendation: if you are looking for a romance, don’t choose Barcelona 😉