Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Back in Barcelona :)

Hello everyone,

So I was back in Barcelona for the second time since I began travelling through Europe. I loved Barcelona this time round so much more than the first because I got to see a lot more of the cities sights as well as still fit in some partying. The first time I visited Barcelona was with Contiki and I loved the partying but missed out on a walking tour because I was too hungover. At the time I didn't really care too much because I hadn't researched main sites to see and had no idea what I was missing out on.  This time I was back in Barcelona with Paige after catching an early flight from Menorca. We almost missed our bus transfer at 5.30am because we were 5 minutes late and the bus had to come back and pick us up after going to another hotel first oooopsss. It was my mission upon visiting Barcelona (or Bathelona as the Spanish pronounce it) this time to do and see as much as I possibly could in the city as I'd heard it was amazing.

Barcelona is one of Europe's coolest cities and is always on the cutting edge of art, design and cuisine. There is so much to do whether it's exploring the Gothic quarter, gawking at the modernista master pieces, shopping for designer clothes along it's bustling boulevards, soaking up the sun on the beaches or sampling its exciting nightlife. It was hard not to fall in love with this vibrant city and fun filled city the second time round. Barcelona is part of the Catalonia region of Spain and is a bilingual city: Catalan and Spanish are both official languages and widely spoken.

We arrived in Barcelona really early and after our flight we caught a cab to our hostel 'Sant Jordi, Sagrada Familiar'. We stored our bags into a secured closet so we could go and do some sight seeing as it was too early to check in and set off. Chloe had told me that this hostel was really nice as she had stayed there when she was in Barcelona, and she was right. It had really cool decor and was beautifully air conditioned which was a bonus considering it was pretty hot in Spain. The common room had a cool skater theme and leather bean bags to chill out or sit on and watch movies projected on the wall. There was free wi-fi and computer access which was a nice change considering we had to pay for both of these things in Menorca. It had a lovely kitchen with great cooking facilities and all in all the hostel had a great atmosphere. 

After asking the guys at the reception desk for directions to the nearest 'hop on hop off' bus stop we were on our way to do some exploring of the city. To get our bearings and find out what we wanted to see the following day we decided to stay on the bus the whole time and see and hear about as many sites as we could that day. We ended up getting the two day pass to avoid paying extra for transport as the city is huge and we thought it would be a great way to see everything and also save some money. Paige and I got on the bus at the first stop which was right near the Sagrada Familiar which is over 100m tall and one of the top sites in Barcelona. After taking some snaps in front of this beautiful building we headed around the city on the blue route which took us past the Gaudi Park, Tibidabo, Barcelona FC stadium, and many other areas that were a little out of the way.
Paige and I at the Sagrada Familiar
Taking in all we can on the 'hop on hop off' bus

Sagrada Familiar

Sagrada Familiar

Sagrada Familiar-one of the most amazing sites I have ever seen!

Park Guell:
Is a Dr Seuss style park filled with colourful mosaics and Gaudi designed paths and plazas. We took photos from the top of the Gaudi park and on the serpentine seating areas whilst looking down at the amazing colours and views the park had to offer. We walked underneath beautiful mosaic ceiling pieces in the Hypostyle room and got photos with the most famous sites at the park, the mosaic dragon.

It felt as though we were in a fantasy land as we looked around the colourful park and we took lots of photos amongst the swarms of travellers trying to get exactly the same shots.
Me at Park Guell
Park Guell with Paige

The very famous dragon sculpture at Park Guell

Entrance to Park Guell

Me on the top at Park Guell

Mosaic ceiling at Park Guell
Barcelona FC Stadium:
We visited the stadium which holds a capacity of 100,000 people on game day. On our self guided tour we followed the yellow signs to make sure we were going the right way and we got to go into the football players change rooms where there were lockers,massage chairs and a communal spa. We saw hundreds of trophies that Barca had won throughout their history and loads of memorabilia from past and present players. We then got to see and walk through to the players' tunnel towards the pitch where they played replayed sounds of fans cheering which allowed us to gain an insight into what it would be like to walk out into a stadium packed with 100,000 roaring fans which was pretty cool!
We also go to see the the benches at the side of the pitch or as they call it the dug out. This was the closest we got to the pitch itself and it was as if we were in the shoes of the team managers. We were able to see what it would be like looking back as a team leader at the 105 by 68 metre pitch and the 48 metre high grand stands.
We then walked through to the Barcelona FC press room, this area seats 120 journalists and is where press conferences happen before and after matches. Two players face the press after each match and are chosen in relation to what happens in their lives both on and off the pitch. We recognised the blue background and the sponsor's logos and it is a great buzz to see it in real life and get photos in front of.

The last stop was were we walked up loads of stairs and into the top middle of the stadium where we saw 29 cabins and sat 35 metres above the playing field. These seats were where the commentators broadcast from a match and it was really cool to be able to sit in their seats and pretend we were commentators for just a little while.

The tour cost around 26 euro but was well worth it! I now want to watch an actual match played at Barca FC stadium as I have been inside it but I might have to wait a few more years for that to happen!
Barcelona FC stadium

Posing up for the press lol
Tibidabo is a mountain overlooking Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. At 512 metres in height it is the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola and boasts spectacular views over the city and the surrounding coastline.

There is an amusement park, a telecommunications tower (Torre de Collserola), and a Catholic church (the Temple de Sagrat Cor) at the top, all of which are visible from most of the city. Designed by Enric Sagnier, the church took 60 years to construct and is topped by a sculpture of the Sacred Heart by Josep Miret Llopart. The Amusement park is the oldest in Barcelona and retains most of the original rides, some of which date to the turn of the 20th century. Paige and I reached Tibidabo by a funicular railway which was built in 1901, was the first of its kind in Spain and a cool way to travel to the top.
TheTemple de Sagrat Cor

TheTemple de Sagrat Cor

We got off at Montjuic which is south-west of the city and in my opinion has the best views of Barcelona, I absolutely loved seeing Barcelona from this location. We walked down the steps of the Museum National d'Art de Catalunya (which is a huge and amazing Romanesque building) where were watched some of a promotional basketball game that was being played with really load music.
Me on the stairs of Montjuic
Beautiful views of Barca from Montjuic

La Ramblas:
Our last stop after travelling all along the red and blue routes of the tour which took around 4-5 hours, was the famous La Rumblas. Spain's most famous boulevard which explodes with life stretching from the Placa de Catalunya to the waterfront of the port. We walked along and checked out the street artists and pop up stalls and then walked into the famous 'Mercats de la Boqueria' where I was once again amazed by the fresh food market, which is a highlight of La Rumblas for me. Paige and I bought some almonds, pistachios and Brazil nuts as well as some of the delicious fresh juices to sip on. I tried the strawberry and banana and Paige sipped on kiwi and pineapple flavoured juices which were sooooo yummy. If you haven't visited the markets I suggest you just to try one of these amazing juices the next time you are there!Paige and I also tried a yummy mixture of seafood and vegetable paella before heading back in a cab to our hostel to get ready to head out that night.
Paige's first time at La Ramblas

yum I love lollies!

best juices ever at La Ramblas
We had a huge day of sight seeing and were exhausted after our massive day. I saw so many things that I didn't get the chance to see last time and there was still so much more we could have seen if we had the time. Next time if I am ever in Barcelona again I want to visit the cities' Gothic quarter, see abit more of the Gaudi masterpieces, walk along both the new and old ports and lay on the beach. This time round we decided to skip laying on the beach as we could do that anywhere and thought seeing all of the amazing sites in Barcelona was a little more important.

Don't forget to check out my next blog to read about what Paige and I got up to on our VIP pub crawl in Barcelona.

Love The Super Exhausted Backpacker

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