Tuesday, June 30, 2015


To understand the title of this post (and for some great background music while reading this post), watch this. Because who doesn't love a little Freddie Mercury on the blog?

Anyways, after our long weekend in Scandinavia and a wild King's Day in Amsterdam, it was time to hit the road again for a weekend in Spain. We had been looking forward to this trip for a long time, after so many cold and rainy trips, this was our first warm destination (though certainly not the last!).

I really, really, really wish I had done more in Barcelona. The problem with traveling with other people is that you don't always agree on what to do, and it's hard to venture out on your own. I also was pretty shoddy in researching things to do for most cities, something I regret. But hey, no one gets study abroad perfectly, that's why it's a learning experience! There are so many things I wish we had done and seen in Spain (cough, Sagrada Familia, cough. I know, we're terrible for not going), and I wish we had really planned Madrid and seen more in our short time there. But, instead of boring you with my study abroad regrets (I'm sure that post will come later), let's get back to Barcelona!

Sagrada Familia from the outside. 

After wandering the empty streets of Barcelona (the Spanish aren't really morning people, unless that means coming home from a night out very early in the morning!), we made our way to one of Barcelona's main tourist attractions- Antoni Gaudi's Park Güell

Gaudi is the mastermind behind the park, Casa Batlló, and of course, Sagrada Familia, which is still unfinished over 100 years after it's groundbreaking. Gaudi died in 1926, when less than a quarter of the church was finished, and it is not expected to be finished until 2026, exactly 100 years after Gaudi's death. 

There seems to be a trend in unfinished work, as Park Güell is also unfinished, but, unlike the Sagrada, is not still under construction. Gaudi, along with entrepreneur Eusebi Güell, designed the park as a neighborhood in the mountains for wealthy citizens of Barcelona, complete with a park, outdoor entertainment area (which is what you see below), and houses. Unfortunately, the project fell apart, with only a few houses and the park area completed. However, the area is stunning as is.

The park features a free area and a paid area- the "benches" that you see below are part of the paid area. Don't worry, we visited the inner, paid part on a different day, so that will come in a later post! But, for our first day, we wandered around the free area. 

Within the free area, there is another hill, where Gaudi built a stone hill with 3 crosses on top. The winding path around the tiny hill (it's not a long climb, maybe 2 stories) gives you a 360 degree view of Barcelona and the mountain range behind it. 

Note: we picked the cloudy days for sightseeing, and hit the beach on the sunniest days! Always check the weather!

After wandering, and planning to return to the park another day, we made our way down. The park is part of the mountain range, after all, and you have to climb quite a bit to get there. There are escalators in certain parts going up, but going down is alllll stairs. It's worth the hike, but just know that Barcelona's hilly terrain is not for the faint of heart. Oh, how glad we were to get back to flat Amsterdam!

After strolling along the water, we took a quick peek into Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, which is just as ornate and, well, Gothic as you'd imagine. 

Barcelona's cathedral. 

As the sun began to set, we were ready for the main attraction- the fountain show. The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is located in front of a massive theater in Barcelona, and was, along with many sites in the city, designed for the 1929 International Exposition. 

If you're wondering why we trekked up to Montjuïc for a fountain, it's because the fountain puts on a show. I'm talking lights, music, the whole works. 

The fountain, pre-show. 

The show starts around 9, or when the sun has just about set. We got there early, and found a spot.

But first, we had to pause for a little selfie stick action (we only used this when absolutely necessary I promise). 

Then it was time for the show to start!

Ok, a little water, whatever...

Mmmm, getting better..

Oh, that's nice.

BOOM. Now picture this, with that Freddie Mercury soundtrack blasting through unseen speakers. 

While things like this usually end up being not-that-exciting (think the Astronomical Clock in Prague, yawn), we were super pumped by the end of the fountain show. It's just lights, water, and a little background music but it's still fun. 

That's the end of our first day in Barcelona! Next, we were off to Madrid for the day; don't worry, there's still a little more from Barcelona, so stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment