PLACE #43 – Barcelona, Spain

May 14, 2014 – May 18, 2014

In the spring of 2014 myself and my my travel companions (my other half and his sister) embarked on a two week trip to Europe. Barcelona was our official second stop of the trip.

Barcelona is very beautiful and quite large, unlike other cities in Europe.  I liked Barcelona, but it fell short if my very high expectations. I heard a lot of great things about Barcelona prior to my arrival and I imagined this city to be out of this world. However, once I arrived I realized that there might be just a bit too much hype about it and not enough substance. This reminded  me about my experiences in Paris.

Overall Barcelona is really beautiful, historical and therefore filled with tourists to the max. All tourist attractions are almost impossible to see in a 4 day period because of lengthy line ups and crowded places.

La Sagrada Familia Church build by Gaudi is a world famous landmark which I just had to see while I was there. This tourist attraction was number one on my list of things to see in Barcelona, and I’m sure that was the case with another 15000 people who came to see this Church that day. Ticket line extended for two blocks and lasted for 2.5 hours and these tickets were time stamped for a time slot about another 2 hours away from the purchase of the ticket. In short, one will need a full day to just see Gaudi’s Church.

Once inside I realized what the hype was all about. This church is very beautiful and awe inspiring. But to be honest, it didn’t feel like a church to me – it was just a complex architectural structure filled with tourists. Every detail seemed to be in it’s right place and every line and curve has been carefully though of.

Barcelona is very large and it’s impossible to just walk through the city and see all there is to see. For me Barcelona is a mix of Los Angeles, Paris and Moscow (I know it sounds odd!) It reminds of LA because it is large and everything seems to be spread out. Barcelona is similar to Paris because of tit’s linear cityscape. And it reminded me of Moscow because it felt large and colourful, like Moscow. There were also a lot of Russian tourists in Barcelona.

All tourist attractions are scattered throughout the city and you will most definitely will need to use public transit to get from place to another. Barcelona has the highest number of vespas and small motorcycles on the road. In my opinion Barcelona is a Vespa city, just like Amsterdam is a bicycle place.

On our last day in Barcelona, we rented vespas to drive around the city and what a great idea that was.  it’s so much fun to drive along the shore and through the streets of the city. It’s also a great way to see more than one attraction a day because you can easily get around the city.

Overall, I liked Barcelona. But what made this experience special for me are my dear friends whom we met in Barcelona and had a pleasure to spend 2 days with while in Barcelona.  Our friends arrived to the city a day after us and we spent most of our time together, which is always fun.

Our accommodations in Barcelona were also great. We rented an apartment located just a block away form the famous La Sagrada Familia Church. This apartment had a large terrace that overlooked unfinished structure of La Sagrada Familia where we spent many memorable evenings together with our friends drinking wine and playing cards. And nights like this made my Eurotrip 2014 very memorable and enjoyable.

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