Roaming the Lands: Barcelona, Spain

It seems like I’ve missed one or two posts… But who’s keeping track right? I’m not going to keep myself on a schedule I don’t adhere to anymore. I’ll just write when I want to.

Now, I’d like to relive my trip to Spain with my usual accomplices during these few months: Awatif and Raj. We took a flight from Italy to get to Barcelona, then took a shuttle bus to get to the city. The two things I’d like to tell people who’d like to visit Barcelona:

  • Barcelona is full of pickpockets, like I will elaborate further later in this post, so please, DO NOT keep your valuables in the pocket of your pants, as well as any easily reachable pockets on your bags, and
  • Even when it is already colder in other parts of Europe, Barcelona is still very pleasantly warm (we went in November and you can see that we were wearing one layer of clothing), so it may be a good destination if you’re in Europe and want to get away from the cold.

Anyhow, upon getting off the shuttle bus, we wanted to get onto a Metro (the public train) to get to our hotel, and while trying to figure out the way (could we have been more obvious tourists?) a group of young men very nicely offered to show us the way. However, while walking up the stairs with them, I felt a light touch on my backpack, and turned around. One of the guys just smiled at me, but I instinctively felt wary. Apparently Awatif also got the same vibe, and upon reaching the top, we tried to shake them off, admittedly with some difficulty, as they had crowded around Raj. After getting away, I noticed that one of the pockets of my backpack had been opened. Thankfully being the crazy paranoid old bat that I am, it was my practice to shove all the money and other important stuff way, way down into my bag and put meaningless clothes on top.

After some wandering around, we found our hotel, where the person in charge kindly told us that he thought we had died and were never going to show up (Sorry for taking so long!) and warned us to be careful of pickpockets. Ah, the warning was just a little too late, my good man! Anyhow, after dumping our stuff we started to go out and about. No sense wasting time on a trip like this!

Our first stop was also one of the most famous sights here in Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia. This huge, weird-looking unique-looking church was still busy under construction after almost a century when we visited. However, it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and well-deserving of it too. I’d suggest booking the ticket online if you plan to visit the inside of the church; there was a horribly long line when we visited.

La Sagrada Familia: "Weird, brown, pointy and unfinished" - Ted in How I Met Your Mother

La Sagrada Familia: “Weird, brown, pointy and unfinished” – Ted in How I Met Your Mother

Following my two friends, both of whom watch football, we headed to the F C Barcelona Stadium. I wish I’d known someone who is a football fan, I felt this particular visit was wasted on me, especially when we went into the megastore and I had no idea what to buy (but I sure saved some money woohoo!). But for any football fan, visiting this stadium is a must. Most of the day was already gone by this time, so we just made our way to Torre Agbar, an office tower which lights up in bluish and reddish hues, making it a sight after dark. We got there early and much like seeing the Allianz Arena lights, seeing the Torre Agbar suddenly light up was fun to watch. That was pretty much it for the first day.

Since I had nothing to buy, might as well pose outside the store right? (photo credits to Raj)

Since I had nothing to buy, might as well pose outside the store right? (photo credits to Raj)

Torre Agbar

Torre Agbar

We did some real walking the next day along the La Rambla. Packed with people (mostly tourists), I don’t think this is the best place to get things worth your money, but it’s nice to see the activities and there are many interesting performers to watch. It’s a good idea to take some time off to explore the streets off La Rambla as well, for instance, we stepped into Placa Reial, a pretty square off La Rambla.

Anyone can tell me how they stay afloat in the air like that?

Anyone can tell me how they stay afloat in the air like that?

The queen expands her dominion here

The queen expands her dominion here

Bringing some macho to Placa Reial

Bringing some macho to Placa Reial

Methinks you'd better park your toilet somewhere else, sir

Methinks you’d better park your toilet somewhere else, sir

Walking down to the end of the street, we approached Rambla de Mar, the harbour. After passing Port de Barcelona, we were awarded with the beautiful sight of the deep blue water meeting the gorgeous blue sky, dotted with white buildings, ships and seagulls. It is truly a pleasant sight, with the sun warming the skin, birds flying above you and fishes swimming when you look down.

The sight that was Rambla de Mar

The sight that was Rambla de Mar

Of course I was wearing white and blue to match the scenery

Of course I was wearing white and blue to match the scenery

Apparently not having walked enough, we strolled inside Parc de la Ciutadella. It’s a really big park, with a zoo inside, but we didn’t visit it (who’d want to visit a zoo on a holiday in another country?). Before venturing too deep into the park, several kids (Less than 11 years old I reckon) came up to us, asking for donations I think. I don’t remember if I gave anything, but I remember Awatif and myself fleeing the scene pretty quickly. Raj, being unlucky (yet again) was left behind, with the younger children wrapping their arms around his midriff.

A big park needs a big pond/ fountain/ decoration/ I don't know

A big park needs a big pond/ fountain/ decoration/ I don’t know

Now, just WHY are these Spanish kids so eager to be chummy chummy with us tourists? You guessed it – they were feeling Raj’s pockets for his wallet! The funny thing is, he did have his wallet inside his back pocket, but they couldn’t pull it out because his jeans were too tight! LOL every time I remember this it makes me want to roll on the floor laughing. So remember kids, in big bad cities with big bad small children, tight jeans will be your savior!

Puppeteer playing the frog playing the piano

Puppeteer playing the frog playing the piano

Arc de Triomf at the park

Arc de Triomf at the park

With the sun rapidly going down, we saw our last attraction for the day: Casa Batllo. Another one of Gaudi’s beautiful masterpiece, this is a sight to be seen at night. The lights were positioned artistically so as to cast the building into a structure of glittering jewels in the darkness.

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

On the last day, we visited Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, the stadium where many significant events have been held. The surroundings are nice, and the Olympic Needle is cool, but there’s not much to see really. I’d advice to skip this one if you’re on a short trip.

Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys

Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys

Our last stop on this trip was Parc Guell, yet another pretty, weird unique work by Gaudi. What excited me most was the great long escalator going up to the park. Oooh, it’s really the longest one I’ve ever seen! If you’ve read my previous posts you know how much of a lazy bum I am, so seeing that I didn’t have to climb up to the park was probably the highlight of the trip for me… Don’t judge me!

This is only the first part of the escalator, I can't get them all in one picture, it's so long!

This is only the first part of the escalator, I can’t get them all in one picture, it’s so long!

Once we actually got to the park, which is also quite big, we saw many structures that are distinctly Gaudi: colourful and pretty. I’ll just let the pictures speak for itself.

Parc Guell

Parc Guell

Some of the sturctures which showed Anthony Gaudi's organic style

Some of the sturctures which showed Anthony Gaudi’s organic style

Some of the fun performances and happenings going on in the park - it was so lively!

Some of the fun performances and happenings going on in the park – it was so lively!

One of the buildings at the entrance of the park

One of the buildings at the entrance of the park

Gaudi can't seem to resist playing with colours once in a while (photo credits to Raj)

Gaudi can’t seem to resist playing with colours once in a while (photo credits to Raj)

After that, it was back to Pisa, Italy by flight then a bus ride to Florence for us. Not that Florence is anything short of awesome, I don’t know how I made it sound like a bad thing, I had the best time there, I still miss the friends I made and the people I met there, oh, I probably have to split Florence into several posts, what Raj and I saw at the train station once, it was so…

*babbling off into the distance*

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