“Barcelona, allá donde sus gentes saben romper el hielo, allí donde la amistad da sus frutos, hace ya tiempo que ella cultivó un estilo”-Anónimo
Barcelona, where the people know how to break the ice and where friendship reaps benefits and has long been considered stylish- Anonymous
I have entitled this post “Back in Barcelona” because technically I have been in Barcelona once before but all I saw was the zoo as I was on an organised excursion from Salou. This time however I vowed to see as much of this beautiful city as possible!
I left early in the morning from Zaragoza and the train only took about an hour and 40 mins so I had plenty of time to explore the city. I decided to buy a metro ticket as it was relatively inexpensive and much quicker than walking everywhere. The first thing I saw in Barcelona was the Arc de triomf (I didn’t even know Barcelona had one!) which was built by the architect Josep Vilanesca i Casanovas to act as a main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona world fair. The day I was here there was a roller skating competition taking place!
Next I went to the old town where I explored the lovely little streets and shops and made an essential stop for lunch. Here I also saw the Gothic Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia but I didn’t go inside as there was a long queue and I was on quite a tight schedule. However I did manage to have a quick look inside La Iglesia de Santa Maria del Mar; a beautiful Catalan Gothic church which dates back to the 1300’s.
After this it was time for me to go and see the Sagrada Familia cathedral as having pre-bought my ticket online I had been assigned a specific time slot. I would recommend anyone else to do this as well as the queue for tickets was extremely long! The Sagrada Familia was designed by Antoní Gaudi and although it is still incomplete, it is a UNESCO world heritage site. Work began on the cathedral in 1882 and since then it has encountered various setbacks such as the Spanish Civil war, however it is expected to be completed in the year 2026 which will mark the 100th anniversary of Gaudi’s death.
The Cathedral is built in a neo-gothic and nouveau style and it’s outer façades respectively commemorate the Birth, Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The interior is absolutely breathtaking and more stunning than I could have ever imagined it to be. Stained glass windows in hues of red, blue, yellow and green allow natural daylight to stream in and illuminate the cathedral whilst the columns have been designed to look like tree trunks which support a roof in the form of a forest canopy. I spent an hour in the cathedral, listening to the audio guide and drinking in the incredible spiritual and peaceful atmosphere.
After this I went back to the old town and the Picasso museum where I was able to gain free entry with my student card. I loved looking at all of the paintings in the museum but my favourite part was the “Las Meninas” (the girls) exhibition which is a series of 58 paintings and Picasso’s only entact collection. The paintings themselves are a series of abstracts which draw inspiration from “Las Meninas” by Velazquez and can be seen as a study of rhythm, colour and movement as well as a play on perspective, volume and space.
After this I had to dash back to the train station but I was able to make a quick stop at the Plaça d’Espanya which was built in 1929 and previously used as a space for public hangings. Now it plays host to an impressive fountain and statues designed respectively by Josep Maria Jujol and Miquel Blay.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Barcelona and would say that of all the cities in Europe this is a must see. Buen viaje!