Two months ago, I was in Spain. I was cavorting in Catalonia.
Yes, back in May, I spent 4 nights in Barcelona. It was my first time in Spain, and oh boy did I love it. I stayed in a hostel in Passeig de Gracia, in the middle of l'Eixample. Gosh, the city was just perfect, amazing, it had a certain aura of somnolent sexiness to it, that I can imagine it is very hard to resist.
My flight arrived in the afternoon of a Wednesday. Upon finding my hostel, I had enough time to unpack and take a stroll. I first went to Barri Gotic, and found the old Roman Walls, as well as the Cathedral. There was an event going on in the cathedral, as I could see several robed guys chanting and discussing things in Catalan. Their discussion was being broadcast on the PA system. I strolled and got lost in the Gothic streets of this old quarter, when suddenly the rain poured and I took shelter in a restaurant.
Day 2 was my Modernisme day. I began by walking from my hostel to the Sagrada Familia, a mere ten minutes walk. I was there 15 minutes after it opened, and there were already lines forming around the corner. Fortunately, I brought my book with me. After a couple of hours gazing upwards (the Sagrada Familia's beauty is above eye-level), I headed out and followed a walking tour around l'Eixample, checking out the sultry buildings in this neighborhood. I think l'Eixample is my most favorite neighborhood in Barcelona, come to think of it. I could totally imagine myself living in a building in l'Eixample. After lunch, as I was still following the walking tour, I suddenly realized that the building in front of me was the Casa Batllo, so I decided to check that out. Antoni Gaudi is definitely a genius.
On the third day, I woke up early (6:00 AM) to take a shower and catch the 7:20 train leaving Passeig de Gracia. My destination is northeast, to the town of Figueres. It is a 2-hour train ride, so I got there around 9:30. My purpose was to go and visit the Salvador Dali Museum. It was so surreal; I saw melting clocks, exploding boobs, and a Cadillac that rains inside. The museum was quite interactive; there were displays that would move and do interesting things if you put a small amount of money in them. After the museum, I went to visit the largest exhibit in Catalonia, the Castell de Sant Ferran. In a very sharp contrast to the other things I have visited so far, it felt like I had the place to myself, which was a welcome change. When I got back to Barcelona, I treated myself to a very delicious dinner in a tapas bar.
Day 4 began with me taking the hike upwards to Parc Guell. Again, there were lots of people, and it was hard to get a nice photo of the interesting nooks and crannies of this park without a stranger in the frame. Anyway, the moment I exited the park, a thunderstorm happened, so I took shelter in the metro station, which I then took to take me to the waterfront. It happened that a fiesta was going on, so I decided to hang around and drink beer on the street while I watched several marching bands and dancers perform. That was fun. And for dinner, I decided to go back to the tapas bar I went the night before, as it was my last night in town. After dinner, I headed out to check some of the museums that were open for free, as it was the Night at the Museum, where several museums open their doors for free to the public. I wanted to check out the Museu Picasso, but the lines were too long.
On my last day, I checked out of the hostel, but since my flight doesn't leave until the afternoon, I stored my luggage with the hostel and went out. My final destination was the Palau de Musica Catalana. I joined a guided tour of the place, and oh my god, it was amazing. This is one architectural masterpiece that is worth seeing, and it isn't a Gaudi building, for a change! After seeing it, I retrieved my luggage, took the bus to the airport, and flew back to Berlin.
It was a wonderful 5 days, and I love to come back again. There were plenty of neighborhoods I didn't even check out. Now I understand why plenty of people fall in love with the city, because I think I did too.
Pictures and more detailed entries will follow soon, so stay in touch!