I really liked Barcelona. Of all the cities I traveled to on this trip, Barcelona had the most parks within the downtown area. Even most streets were lined with trees, which provide much-needed shade from the Mediterranean sun.
Segrada Familia Church
This Gaudi-designed churn is quite incredible. I had heard from someone that it is not worth the wait in line and the entrance fee but I definitely disagree. Construction started in 1882 and it’s no where near done, although it was labeled a basilica by the Catholic church in 2010. I think when I was in Barcelona there were either 5 or 7 construction cranes on the top of the structure. The exterior of the building is dark and gothic. I was surprised to see that the inside of the church is bright and light colored. There is a lot of stained glass of all different colors that project colorful images all over the inside of the church.
Our hostel was near this park. Another Gaudi creation and it afforded a great view of the city with the sea on the horizon. Great place to have a beer or two.
The main street in Barcelona, also home to one of the few Starbucks I found in Europe! I couldn’t resist the urget to get a vanilla iced soy chai tea; yum. Unfortunately, the only Starbucks in Copenhagen is at the airport (there are 3 at the rather small airport) and the drink just mentioned is 10 bucks instead of 5 like in the states. Ouch. Back to Barcelona… My favorite part of La Rambla is the market to the west of the street. Similar to Pike Place market, minus all the flowers and with numerous of small vendors selling fruits, veggies, nuts and some crazy-looking seafood. Back out on the street, I got a stein-like glass of Sangria with fresh fruit floating in it- really good.
The Olympic Park and Nearby Castle
The Olympic Park was underwhelming but there was a really cool castle on the top of the hill that is free to get into. From the top of the hill you get a great 360 degree view over the whole city. The surrounding part would be a great place to go for runs if I was staying in barcelona for longer. On the back side of the castle there is a funny driving course with every sign and type of intersection imaginable, only on a small scale. I wonder if it was a driving instruction course for motorcycles, as cars surely wouldn’t fit on the miniature roads.
Barcelona has great beaches. Nice sand, right downtown, topless women and immigrants to give 5 euro massages right on the beach and sell 1 euro bottles of water.