Barcelona, Spain

Trip Start Feb 27, 2008
Trip End May 28, 2008

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Day 8 -  We spent a decent amount of the day on the train. We rode all night on the overnight train from Portugal. Arriving in Madrid, we had to travel from one train station in the north, to another in the south to catch our train to Barcelona. The train to Barcelona was about 4 hours and the time went by quickly. When we arrived in Barcelona we checked into Centric Point hostel and did our much neglected laundry. The Centric point hostel was absolutely huge, 7 floors and 400 beds! It was cool to get an idea of how very very large hostels operate as opposed to small little single floor hostels. But it's size mad it perfect for large high school tour groups and we got a little annoyed with always running into dozens of 15-18 year olds everywhere we go. In general they're so loud and think that their little needs and wants are just the most important things on earth. I'm sure I was never, ever the least bit like that when I was in high school. Karla and I drank a pitcher of Sangria to help tune out the High schoolers staying the first night. I think maybe a pitcher was a little too much.
Day 9 - GOD DAMN IT! WHY did I drink a pitcher of sangria last night? A cup of sangria was 4 euros and a pitcher was 8 euros, Karla and I both wanted a glass, so we just bought a pitcher to get the better deal. The problem is that a pitcher of sangria is like drinking a whole bottle of wine and 4 shots of bourbon..... It made sense at the time...(famous last words)
We purchased "Barcelona cards" for two days. They are tourist cards that give you free entry to some, and discounted entry on the rest of the museums in the area. They also allow unlimited travel on the bus, light rail, and metro lines around the city. The first thing we did was take a boat tour along the beach and around the harbor. I was fine because I work on boats, but I think that going on a boat after drinking sangria was a bad idea for Kalra. After the boat ride and the re-settling of the stomachs, we went to the place that is the symbol of Barcelona, La Temple De La Sagrada Familia.This cathedral was the work of one of Barcelona (and Spain's) most famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. The temple is breathtakingly large and hasn't been completed, even though it's been under construction for 125 years. Part of the reason this temple is taking so long to complete is the fact that all funds for building the church have to be donated by the people. No private or government funds will be accepted. Gaudi was largely influenced by nature and you can see the proof in his design. There are many instances where he pulls linear ideas or curved shapes straight out of examples in nature. He is definatly the definition of a 20th century architect on the edge. I really like what work I have seen. The Spanish Civil War also put a damper on the project when the basement caught fire and many of Gaudi's plaster models were destroyed. Gaudi spent more than 40 years of his life relentlessly working and overseeing this project and I'm sure it will be his finest work when it is completed in 2025. After dinner we decided to just stay in for the evening. I worked on updating my blog but the wireless internet kept crapping out on me while trying to upload pictures. I realize that I'm not like most people when it comes to my desire for being connected to the internet. But what scares me is that when I can't get an internet connection, I get genuinely distraught and difficult to be around. I have a feeling internet counseling is in my future (if there is such a thing). ☺ I ended up walking down the street laptop open, looking for free internet. I ended up sitting outside on a cold park bench writing emails when I finally found some. I'm sure Karla laughed at me.

Day 10 - Monjuic
We took the Air car (gondolas) to Monjuic, the tallest mountain overlooking Barcelona. This is where the 1992 Olympic games were held. At the top of the hill is an old castle, and a military museum. Also near the Olympic stadium is a botanical garden, a natural history museum, and the museum of Olympics and sports. We toured the Olympics museums, it was well worth the time. I always enjoyed watching the Olympic games, I can't say exactly why though... maybe it's because the athletes are the best in the world. I was surprised though, at how many Olympic sports actually exist that we never se on TV. Things like handgun shooting and archery, horse riding, and even curling. After riding the Air car back to the bottom of the hill we had lunch at a quaint little café and went to three different train stations finding out where we had to get our tickets to Valencia the following day. After returning ot the hostel we had Tapas, and I stole some more internet from the corner. In the evening we hung out a little in the bar on the second floor of the hostel, but the noisy high school kids eventually got to us and we went to bed.
Day 11 - After breakfast and checking out of the hostel we went directly to the train station as to not miss our train. We said our goodbye's to Barcelona and headed off to see what Valencia had to offer.
A lot of people who go to Barcelona say it is their favorite city. I honestly can't figure out why that is. It wasn't my favorite at all, it wasn't even my second favorite. I guess we never did go down to the beach so I can't totally say that I saw the whole city, but I think I would skip past Barcelona again if I had the option. It seemed like a lot of the city smelled like pee honestly. I can't figure out if the city has a shallow sewer system, or it hasn't rained in a while, or the most obvious answer: the number of bars grossly outweighs the number of public bathrooms.
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iris1023 on

Hi there, I think you didn't put Barcelona into your 1st or 2nd favourite perhaps because you have not visited more of the scenic places? I will be going to Barcelona soon and had planned a day of Gaudi tour, a day for Dali tour (a little outside Barcelona in figueres if I am not wrong) and just a day lazying at the beach. I believe Barcelona has much more to offer but got to have enough time to take it in I guess:)

Anyway, nice blog.. ;)

must_travel on

Thats not Fair!
Barcelona is beautiful! The beaches were incredible the food, Ramblas with it many fountains lit up at night, the Picasso Museum and the neighborhood its in. Also the hostel may have had something to do with your bad impression of Barcelona.

Alex on

Oh, it seems you didn't have much time to really get to know the city. Myself, if I had to choose one place to go in Spain I think Barcelona would be at the top of my list. The city is ALIVE, not only during the day but also at night, so much the streets themselves seem to breathe in and out hordes of people from all walks of life.

During the day you can see great museums, admire the fine modernist architecture or get lost in the Gothic quarters looking for trinkets through quaint cobblestoned alleys.

At night, you will be hard pressed to find anyone who is not having a good time. Barcelona has a reputation for being a great place to go out, and it does not disappoint. There are brilliant dance clubs, music bars, live concerts and even the odd Irish bar with overpriced pints of Guinness.

Perhaps your accomodation wasn't too good and tainted your view of the city. When I was there I stayed at a small hostel called Hip Karma, which was really well located and right in the centre of it all. It was very cheap in comparison to other places (it's harder to be thrifty here than in the rest of Spain) and you really get your money's worth. It was clean, quiet and the beds even had night curtains so other people wouldn't disturb you when walking in. It wasn't too great for partying though, since they have a rather strict lights-out policy...but who cares, the real party is outside anyway! Oh, and they have free internet too ;)

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