The cruise ship I work on brought my colleagues and me to Barcelona overnight. This is a city I always wanted to come to, so needless to say, the excitement was on a high level.
As none of us had anything specific we wanted to do, we just wanted to see it all, we thought the best thing to do was to buy a ‘hop on hop off’ bus pass.
Barcelona has two routes. We paid for the blue route which worked out at £25 each for the day. The bus set off with the group of us eager crew members. While sitting on the top level with the wind blow through our hair we were all smiling. The first stop we got off at was:
I am not a huge football fan so this didn’t interest me too much, but it was nice to see. There is a statue of Lionel Messi outside that all the boys I was with were fangirling over. We couldn’t go inside for some reason, so we walked around the outside and thru the gift shop.
After mooching around we only had to wait a few minutes for a bus to arrive. We then took the bus to the next place on our list, which was a highly anticipated attraction by us all which was the:
The Sagrada Familia is a Gothic church that was designed by Antoni Gaudi. The unfinished church is a work of art that is one of the most famous churches in Spain. It is scheduled to be finished in 2026. We all wanted to go inside the church but the queues were just too long, and if we stayed to see the church we wouldn’t be able to see all the other things we wanted to. I advise that if you want to go inside the church you book tickets in advance and make sure you dress appropriately. This means covered shoulders and something that covers the knees. I can only imagine how impressive the inside was. The outside was enough to blow my mind!
We could have walked to the next stop but as we had paid for the bus, we wanted to make the most of our money, so we all clambered on an took the 5-minute ride down the road to the:
The ‘Block of Discord’
The Block of Discord is home to three buildings that were designed by three very famous architects.
Casa Amatller was designed by Josep Puig I Cadafalch. The outside wall is brown with flowers spreading across it in rows. The architect was inspired by European architecture, so the roof of this house reminds me of something you might see in Amsterdam or in Brugge.
Casa Lleó – Morera was built by Lluis Domènech I Montaner. There are 3D flowers that cover the balconies. The windows are decorated with stone columns, with decorative carvings at the top.
Casa Batlló was designed by Antoni Gaudi. This 5 storey building was owned by a family who lived on the first floor and rented out the other 4 apartments. The whole exterior is covered with a mosaic of glass that reflects the light and is so stunning. Adding to the unique look the roof of the house is made of ceramic and looks like dragon scales. The World Heritage site is now a museum that costs about €25 to get in. The Case Batlló has a skeletal quality as there are no straight lines anywhere. Once again, we didn’t go inside because of the queues, but we could enjoy the obscure shape of the building and the windows from the outside.
At this point, we were all getting a little peckish so it was just as well that we had walked to the top of La Rambla, which is a mile long street that is lined with every shop you could ever want. Along the centre of the street runs a 15-meter wide walkway that is shaded by the towering trees. There are plenty of bars and restaurants along here where many locals and tourists sit to watch the world go by.
We took a leisurely walk down the street admiring the shops and street artists that were there in abundance. There were so many shops and cafes to choose from, so it was just as well we saw some people we knew who were already sat outside a restaurant, which made our choice a lot easier.
The waiters rushed about trying to make a table big enough for the group of us, which was very kind of them. We started off with a round of sangria because when in Spain…
The sangria was amazing, very strong but delicious!
As we ate our food and got more giggly, the sun was going down. This meant that all the fairy lights that were draped across the tall trees came on and give the place a beautiful ambience. Sitting in the centre of the busy street was a brilliant place to be because we were in the middle of all the action.
We all sat here drinking, talking and laughing late into the night until we decided it was time to go back to the cruise ship. The taxi back took 20 minutes and cost about £6 which I thought was great.
Barcelona was amazing. It is a city of culture and art that has so many things to do. I would love to come back here again, but what really made my time here so special, like any place, is the people I spent it with.