Barcelona Spain, My Gateway to Europe

Yes, I have officially landed, Barcelona, Spain! A new country for me. One of many to come.

A hazy day in Barcelona
A hazy day in Barcelona

I found Barcelona to be a beautiful town, one that I felt safe while walking or taking the rail. It is a town of approximately 1.6 million. Everything is a learning experience right now, but I am loving it. The language barrier is more than I expected, but everyone is nice. I initially stayed at the Four Points Sheraton to get my feet wet.

The first evening I walked to the La Sagrada Familia,

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

and later took a ride on the metro rail to get used to my main means of transportation. Near the Metro station was the Torre Agbar, a 38 story office building made of colored aluminum sheeting.

Torre Agbar
Torre Agbar

Dependent on the light, it changes colors. The Torre Agbar also marks the new technological district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The tower itself was built to represent a water fountain.

Torre Agbar
Torre Agbar at night

Tuesday before I left Barcelona, I toured the inside of the La Sagrada Familia, a church built solely from donations.

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

The church is quite amazing, inside and out.

La Sagrada Familia designed to use natural light
La Sagrada Familia designed to use natural light
Ceiling view of La Sagrada Familia
Ceiling view of La Sagrada Familia

The project started in March of 1882, and in 1883 Antonio Gaudi was commissioned to carry on the project. Gaudi had other projects, but La Sagrada Familia was his main focus.

Work being done on the backside of La Sagrada Familia
Work being done on the backside of La Sagrada Familia
Casa Mila - Another Gaudi Project
Casa Mila – Another Gaudi Project

Antonio Gaudi died in 1926 from injuries after being hit by a tram.

Being a Picasso fan, I had to go to the Picasso Museum. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures, but enjoyed the experience very much! There were over 4,250 pieces of art – painting, sketches, sculptures, etc. This collection includes 57 works that shape Picasso’s personal interpretation of Velazquez’s Las Meninas. This series is the only set of works painted by Piscasso that is complete and all on display at one museum.

While at the Sheraton, I rented a bike and road around the city going down to the beach area.

Barcelona Boardwalk and Beach
Barcelona Boardwalk and Beach

There I ran across a Frank Gehry Sculpture as I followed the trail down to the port area.

Barcelona Peix (Fish), Frank Gehry
Barcelona Peix (Fish), Frank Gehry

From the port, I pedaled past the Barcelona Colon (Christopher Columbus) statue.

Barcelona Colon (Christopher Columbus) Statue
Barcelona Colon (Christopher Columbus) Statue

Close by was a sculpture, the “Barcelona Face”, a sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein. It was designed as one of the “Letters of Introduction” for the 1992 Olympics.

Barcelona Face, designer Roy Lichtenstein
Barcelona Face, designer Roy Lichtenstein

I continued on my bike ride over to the FC Barcelona Football Club and stadium. Little did I know, but they were playing a game that night, and I missed it.

On my bike ride I passed several gas stations.

Filler-Up?
Filler-Up?

I know, who puts a gas station in their blog, but it is a little different than home.

Parc Guell was an experience in more than one way. I managed to get off the metro on the back side of the park. I took at least 5 wrong routes adding a good 2 or 3 miles to my walk. Eventually I found the back entrance to the park which took me up and over the mountain. The park was incredible, a must see.

Park Entrance - One of Two Houses Built for the Original Guell subdivision
Park Entrance – One of Two Houses Built for the Original Guell subdivision

A place for hiking or family fun,

Parc Guell
Parc Guell

its beautiful views,

Parc Guell and Gaudi House/Museum with view of Barcelona
Parc Guell & Gaudi House/Museum with view of Barcelona

and architecture wonders.

Parc Guell
Parc Guell

Parc Guell was originally to be a subdivision for the well-off.  There were 60 plots, but only two houses were built.  After Eusebi Guell passed away, the city purchased the property turning it into a public park.

While in Barcelona, I took two bus tours, one that took you throughout and all around the city by means of two different routes giving you a good taste of the city.

My second tour was on my last full day in Barcelona, and it was to the Montserrat Monastery. It was a little bit of a splurge, but I enjoyed it. The bus ride was about 1 hour, and then we took a Cog-Wheel Train up the mountain to the monastery.

The monastery and church (basilica) were all quite beautiful.

Inside the Basilica at Montserrat
Inside the Basilica at Montserrat

This basilica is the home of the Black Madonna, said to have been found in the 12th century.

The Black Madonna from the 12th Century
The Black Madonna from the 12th Century

The monastery itself was partially destroyed by Napoleonic troops in the 1800’s. This arch is about the only structure left from the early days.

Gate to the Montserrat Monastery
Gate to the Montserrat Monastery

The mountains surrounding the monastery were quite beautiful as well.

The Montserrat Mountains surrounding the Monastery
The Montserrat Mountains surrounding the Monastery

There is a Hostel located there for people to stay at and hike the many trails around the mountain.

Montserrat Mountain has many hiking trails and great views
Montserrat Mountain has many hiking trails & great views

I thought about seeing a Bull Fight, but Barcelona passed a law prohibiting harm to animals in exhibitions. There were 3 Bull Fighting arenas, and 2 remain standing:

“Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona” (1914) Shelters the Bullingfighting Museum of Barcelona
“Plaza de Toros Monumental de Barcelona” (1914) Shelters the Bullingfighting Museum of Barcelona
Plaça de Toros de les Arenes (Arenas de Barcelona) now a Commercial Center - Note: Beattles played here in 1966
Plaça de Toros de les Arenes (Arenas de Barcelona) now a Commercial Center – Note: Beattles played here in 1966

As I experienced traveling around USA, every place you visit, you only scratch the surface of things to do and see . The same can be said for Barcelona, but it was a good start for my European adventure.

7 thoughts on “Barcelona Spain, My Gateway to Europe”

  1. Barcelona is a place I have always wanted to visit.This blog post reminds me that I need to move it up on the bucket list. Keep sharing your adventures. Love hearing about them.

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  2. such beautiful pictures!! Barcelona looks amazing! I’m putting that hostel in the mountains on my “to-do” list 🙂

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  3. Our visit to Barcelona was very short but we did the open top bus tour in the rain! Both Red and Blue routes so we saw most of the highlights but your tour sounds so much more interesting. Did you go shopping in Los Ramblas?

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