Barcelona: I’ll Be Back

Simply put, I visited Barcelona because friends told me to. One friend calls it his favorite city and provided me with a list of things to do while there. Another good friend was going to be in Barcelona for a month conducting research. That’s really all it took for me to add it to my list of destinations and I’m happy I did because it ended up being one of my favorite stops in Western Europe.

On my first full day in Barcelona I toured Sagrada Familia and its Passion Tower. The Sagrada Familia church is the most popular tourist sight in Barcelona and much of its design is attributed to Antoni Gaudí. Building of the church began in the early 1900s and continues to this day, following a traditional method of creating churches wherein only donated funds are used for construction. This means that when you pay to visit the Sagrada Familia you are contributing to its final product!

Window at Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia is lit only by sunrays piercing through its stained glass windows
Turtles at the feet of the Sagrada Familia church signify the importance of slow and steady journeys.
Turtles at the feet of the Sagrada Familia signify the importance of a slow and steady journey

After spending around two hours touring the church I queued up according to my time slot for the Passion Tower elevator. It’s at this point that warning signs caution those with vertigo, asthma, or other related issues against touring the tower. I have asthma, but wasn’t too concerned. I will say, however, that if you fall into these categories and are worried about  heights take heed of the warnings. I saw the situation not play out well for one person on my elevator ride up, who immediately requested to be brought back down.

Once atop the tower you can peer through the bold structure and see breathtaking views of Barcelona below. Take as much time as you like soaking in the views and then you have the option of queuing for an elevator back down or descending on the spiral staircase. Again, if you don’t like heights or small spaces the staircase may be too much to handle. It does, however, offer unique views of the city and Sagrada Familia.

'Sacrifici' or 'Sacrifice' text on the Sagrada Familia exterior
‘Sacrifici’ or ‘Sacrifice’ text on the Sagrada Familia exterior

After Sagrada Familia I set off to meet my friend who was currently living in Barcelona. Up until that point I was backpacking solo and making friends along the way, so it was a great pleasure to meet with an old friend. The added bonus was that she had knowledge of directions and amazing places to eat! We had lunch at a place with friendly service, great portions, and affordable prices before touring Park Güell, also crafted from Antoni Gaudí’s designs. Despite the extremely humid day we had a great time catching up.

A birdy outside of Parc Guell
A birdy outside of Parc Güell

As evening approached we met with more friends, old and new. After chatting over delicious treats at a tapas bar our group purchased snack from a supermarket and hung out at a popular square. Once it was good and dark out, past 9pm, the traditional Spanish dinnertime had finally come around! We all went on a hunt for a restaurant and were really pleased with the food we eventually found.

Leafy lady mannequin seen in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter.
Leafy lady mannequin seen in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.

The next day I slept in. When I finally ventured outside I found myself on a confusing stroll around my Airbnb neighborhood. I was attempting to get a few seemingly simple tasks completed. I learned the hard way that Spain takes its siesta hours seriously!

Most of my tensions from the day were soothed when I again met my friend, this time in the Gothic Quarter. We walked around many shops with daydream-inducing art and there seemed to be an endless series of interesting things to point out to one another.

After splitting ways I went to see the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc / Font Màgica de Montjuïc, another popular Barcelona sight. Upon exiting the metro system I was met with a bigger surprise than I had anticipated. Barcelona was celebrating Pride in the plaza that housed the fountain! There were local organizations with information stands, food and drink stations, and a full on concert was in progress.

Seeing the Magic Fountain and Barcelona Pride festivities made for a great last night in Spain. That said I also realized how much I wished to be there longer. I comforted myself with the thought that one day I will return to Barcelona.

Rose red swarovski crystal mannequin.
Rose red swarovski crystal mannequin.
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