My endeavors at learning Spanish have always gone up in smoke. Primarily I started learning Spanish because I became fond of Spanish songs, and had many Spanish speaking friends. Later on, I realized how amazing it would be to converse with locals when I visit South America or Spain. But every attempt at starting with learning, and restarting from where I left before failed. Primarily because of my mismanagement of time.
But then again, even with my broken Spanish skills, I was confident enough (able to identify few key words, knowing first few chapters of every beginner basic Spanish lesson website we usually come across) to strike a small talk with locals. So here I chose to visit Barcelona on a weekend during my holiday in Paris. I read how Barcelona architecture is inspired by creative and unique works of Antoni Gaudí. All the while during my journey from Paris to Barcelona, I could not stop thinking about the moment which was going to happen soon, when I would see those beautiful architectural works right in front of my eyes.
I will start off with some logistics. I had made online booking through MegaBus from Paris to Barcelona. And for accommodation booked an extremely beautiful hotel Barcelona Princess. Location is convenient as it is right across the tram station, shopping malls and several restaurants. The hotel also has some special rooms which are given the Desigual touch, with colorful bed covers,wall art etc. Only downside is that it is little far (around 20 minutes with public transport ) from most of the tourist spots. But it was not a big problem for me as Barcelona is well connected by Metro and Trams. And even the cabs are cheap as compared to Paris.
On reaching Barcelona, we took city maps from the bus station and caught a tram to our Hotel. We decided to start off exploring Barcelona by visiting the La Rambla street. This street is a stroll down until the Port of Barcelona . The street is enveloped by numerous tourists, artists enacting scenes, street performers posing for photos, caricature artists , souvenir shops, and most of all the architecture of buildings around street acts as a window to the Catalan architecture.
After having heavenly waffle at Port de barcelona, I headed to see one of the most famous museum of Barcelona – Picasso museum. I crossed couple of narrow streets to reach the museum. Its worthwhile to book online tickets for the museum as queues are quite long. We can mainly see Picasso’s work from his early years in this museum.
By this time it was almost dawn. I headed to Gothic quarter – quite a lively area consisting of a maze of streets, beautiful cathedrals and with numerous options for food, drinks. I hopped to one such bar and tried variety of Spanish Tapas (little savory dishes), with Sangria. This was the first time I tried the real “Sangria” – lovely sweet texture inside a wine with lot of fresh cut fruits. I reserved trying Paella (Spanish rice dish) for next day as I was already full trying out Tapas. Tipsy and engrossed in Spanish music, my heart felt immense happiness.
Gazing to Barcelona city map, I couldn’t help but notice an area drawn like mountain peaks and marked “Montserrat” on one edge of Barcelona. Immediately I decided to save other tourist attractions within the city for next time and planned to save the day for “Montserrat”. I found that there is a train which can take me from Barcelona to Montserrat. I had no clue what Montserrat is and neither did I want to research as I wanted to get surprised. One point to take note is that there are variety of combinations of tickets which you will have to choose from in order to get to Montserrat. You need to decide whether you want to take a cable car further up to top of mountain or a funicular. After that whether you want to use both Santa Cova and Sant Joan Funicular or just one. Please find detailed information here. I bought ToT Montsarret ticket which is inclusive of almost everything.
The train journey from Barcelona to Montserrat provides exquisite view of the Catalunya mountains which left me spellbound. On arriving on the Aeri de Montserrat train station, we took a cable car up to the so called first leg of Montserrat where you find the Montserrat Monastery surrounding by the breathtaking natural views. The cable car journey also gave a beautiful view of different rock formations.
I spent few hours admiring the beauty of Montserrat Monastery. After attaining my inner peace, I had lunch and chose to go up further with the funiculars. I started with Sant Joan Funicular. Basically, both of these funiculars take you higher up and provide different pathways to roam around the mountains and giving best aerial views of the whole valley.
At the end of the day, I was really tired and thoughts of Seafood Paella were still jumping in my mind. After going back to Hotel, I took a taxi to a Seafood restaurant recommended by Hotel reception and ended my day devouring divine lobster and a Seafood Paella.
Now it was time to explore the renowned works of Antoni Gaudí. I visited Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila or La Pedrera. I could not visit inside Sagrada Familia because of a very long queue and shortage of time. I realized later that I could have booked online ticket earlier. So please consider buying online tickets for all the tourist attractions you plan to visit to beat the queue. After that I explored the shopping areas and bought myself various beautiful dresses and some souvenirs for my friends and family. I also wanted to visit Park Güell but unfortunately I had lack of time since I had my bus back to Paris at evening. After completing my shopping, I just headed over to have a look at Barcelona coastal line. I spent some relaxing time at the beach area before finally saying adios to Barcelona.
I would definitely recommend visiting Barcelona. It still makes me feel nostalgic thinking about the master pieces of art, unique architecture, food and all the good memories I got from the city.