“The haunting of history is ever present in Barcelona. I see citie as organisms, as living creatures. To me, Madrid is a man and Barcelona is a woman. And it’s a woman wh’s extremely vain.”. This is how one of my favorite artists, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, described this amazing city. He managed to capture the essence of this amazing city located in the Spanish region of Catalunya. What makes Barcelona special, in my opinion, is the difference of the styles and ages of the past, from the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, the fascinating buildings made by Antoni Gaudì, and so on. Madrid is a nice city, but Barcelona will steal your heart.
I decided to spend a day in this city, because its art always fascinated me, especially the history of the Sagrada Familia, the still incomplete church projected by Antoni Gaudì. To make the best use of my time, I decided to book online as many tickets I could, so that I skipped the line, and I bought online the ticket for the Barcelona City Tour as well, a tourist bus that has two routes all around the city.
My first step was the Parc de la Ciutadella, the most green lung in the city. The park was built over the rest of the demolition of a huge fortress (La Ciutadella), that was designed to keep watchover Barcelona. In 1888 the park was used for the Universal Eshibition. Inside the park there are several buildings, used as museums, but they are closed.
From the park I walked to the Arc de Triomf, where I took the bus. The arc was built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair by architect Josep Vibiseca i Casanovas. The front frieze contains the stone sculpture “Barcelona reples nacions” (Catalan for “Barcelona welcomes the nations).
The next stop was the Passeig de Colom, a wide avenue lined with palm trees, in the Ciutat Vella district. Then the bus went over the World Trade Center, where the cruizes leave.
Then, the bus went over Monjuic, and it stopped at the Jardins de Miramar, a viewpoint of the city. This point offers the best view of the city, it is possible to see all over it. The tour went over and I saw from the outside the locations of the Olympic Games that were located in the city. It is possible to see the inside of the stadiums, especially the pool where there were the diing competitions. The best part of it is that it offers as well a good view of the city.
I stayed on the bus until I reached the Casa Batllò and La Pedrera. The Casa Batllò (featured image), built and designed by Antoni Gaudì, and it is considered one of the strangest residential buildings in Europe. The balconies look like the bony jaws of some strange beast ad the roof represents Sant Jordi and the dragon. Also the roof was built to represent the shape of an animal’s back, with shiny scalls. La Pedrera is how the Casa Milà is called. It is called this way because its facade remembers the color of the stone. This is another building made and designed by Gaudì.
Next, I walked to the Sagrada Familia, the incomplete church designed by Gaudì. Its story is fascinating. It is still in works because of the lack of funds. The tragic death of the architect is a cause as well: he was run over by a bus and died three days later. The city of Barcelona is trying to collect funds by using the money of the tickets sold and with the money collected in the gift shop.
My next stop was the Parc Guell, another masterpiece made by Antoni Gaudì. The idea of the park was born in 1900, when Count Eusebi Guell bought the land of El Carmel and hired Gaudì to create a miniature city of houses for the wealthy, surrounded by landscaped grounds. Unfortunately, the project was abandoned in 1914, and Gaudì managed to create only the manner, steps, a plaza, two gatehouses, and 3km roads and walks. The symbol of the park is the jeko.
The tour went on and we finally reached the beach, or better, the beaches. In fact, besides a huge port, Barcelona has seven different beaches. I guess those beaches made Barcelona special as well, because it creates an atmosphere that all coast cities have. In addition, it is possible to eat amazing fish dishes, made with fresh fish fished in the bay. In fact, Barcelona was a city created by fishermen, that desired to ignore the difficulties of living in that area to stay there and fish the large amount of fish present there.
When the tour ended, in Plaça Catalunya, I took a walk in the Ramblas, a large avenue that connects the central square with the coast.
When it was time to leave, I walked home, where my friends were waiting for me to drive me to the airport. In the way back, I saw the Gothic Cathedral, and a really original building, that later I found out being the Palau de la Musica.
Even though I spent just one day in this city, I fell in love with it. Barcelona stole my heart, with its houses made by Gaudì, the beach, and, the place I loved the most, the Parc Guell. Even if I had problems with my flights, my shoulders got sunburnt, and the fact that I was really tired at the end, I would repeat again this experience. As I said, this city stole my heart and made me sad the moment my flight departed.
I inserted the links of the websites where to buy tickets, just click on the underlined words.
Suggested and most complete guide:
Lonely Planet Barcelona (Travel Guide)