Hola Espania

Trip Start Sep 05, 2012
Trip End Apr 15, 2013

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Flag of Spain  , Katalonien,
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

To start out the world trip, the plan was to visit a country in Europe I never really had the chance to explore. Although my best holidays so far were Denia, a little town not far from Alicante, that trip 10 years ago was less explorative considering Spain and more to start out a new chapter in my life back then.

Barcelona impressed me a year ago when I spend less than 24 hours there attending the Euro Challenge draw so it was a no brainer to start here. Lucky me I also had a Spanish expert in my friend Angelina with me who I gave the nickname "little half chilean stalker" since she was always walking behind me on our daily tours. I guess it sucks to wander around with a 6 ft guy when you are barely over 5 ft. Enough with the jokes, Angelina's Spanish and smarts saved us a couple of times and therefore mucho gracias to her.

Our trip didn't really get off to a fast start like Linford Christie anno 1992 since we had to wait around to meet Daniela, a Mexican friend of Tristan, who was so nice to leave his apartment at our mercy for 4 days while he was gone. Thanks for that Tristan since we never actually met and he only went by the vouches of my sister and her husband who studied with Tristan.

A supermarket visit later we went to nearby Parc Güell and I got introduced to a guy named Antonio Gaudi. As a architecture and art noob I obviously never heard about him but the man and his work would impress me every day while we were in Barca. Parc Güell with its dreamland like walking bridges, the platform with Gaudi's legendary cracked terracotta designs and the view all over Barca make you feel like you are in sort of a fairytale including houses that look like out of a book of the Brothers Grimm. Go there right around the sunset (don't forget a little mosquito prevention) and you will have an inspiring evening. Don't bother the little Gaudi museum, it is tiny and doesn't match the enjoyment of the parc.

The next day we put on our walking boots and strolled around the city. The T10 Metro card comes in handy when you stay for only a couple of days. Paying 9,45 for 10 ticks at once is a great value compared to the 2 euro plus for a one timer. After walking by La Pedrera by Gaudi (we still ended up going there a couple days later), we finally made it - barely because of the sun - to Sagrada Familia. Being a fan of Gothic architecture, this church didn't impress me at first. And the 13 € entrance left me contemplating to even go in. But the long line up front was handled very quick and the money was well spend. The interior is breathtaking because it is much more colorful than normal churches. Chip in the fact that it is ridicously high and you end up taking pictures all day. That my name is even written up at one of the main columns made it a perfect visit. The back side of the church was designed by Gaudi and doesn't match the front side at all. It rather looks like those sand castles you build at the beach (for Germans: Kleckerburg in groß)

The first Tapas experience afterwards was a forgettable one but we ate, that was the main point. Visiting the old cathedral was next and the quarter around the old church is the best place in town to go out at night with various good Tapas spots and bars to chill at. We rather breezed through it because we decided to eat our own food to save money where we could.

The rest of our trip can be reviewed rather quickly. The beach is nothing special, but you get a beautiful sunset and no more than 3 people out there by the time it happens. And if you are lucky you catch a Russian who takes pics of his hot girl friend doing kinky things in the water.

The Gaudi buildings are nice to look at, La Pedreras's rooftop is a piece of art, but the prices for going up are ridiculous. The 16,50 to go into Pedrera wasn't worth it. They had a jazz concert on the rooftop that day though and I think that would be a good value then.

A must visit for sport interested people is the old Olympic stadium, with the famous Palau Sant Jordi right next door. If you are a basketball fan and that arena doesn't ring a bell, you should now consider lighting yourself on fire, since the legendary dream team went to work in this place. Also cool are the footsteps of some of the best athletes right in front of the stadium. I wonder when they will take away Lance Armstrong's footprint. Leave out the museum.

On the same hill is the enormous museum of Catalania, which was the sight for a NBA sponsored 3on3 tournament. Spaniards have my respect for that extraordinary location. We used to pay on dusty parking lots.

Since night life normally means for me counting sheeps, I can say though that this city is so warm and embracing and fun loving that I am sure you can easily party through the night. For the best view without any payment, go up to the cross in Parc Güell, 360 degrees of pure beauty. Do the cable wire tour if you are not afraid of hights, which is exactly why we didn't do it. Thanks Angelina, just kidding... Only downturn on this trip was the green fee for what I thought would be my first golf experience. 140 € for 18 holes including golf equipment was too much for me.

After 5 days it was Adios Barcelona as we went to the airport for our next stop. Save 2 tickets of your T10 card since this way you get to the airport by train (Renfe) without paying extra. The bus costs 5,65 € and takes a little longer.

Overall cost for the stay: 97 € (thanks again to Tristan)
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