Magic and Mystery: The City of Barcelona (Cont.)

    Day 2 In Barcelona:

    After a wonderful but tedious first day in Barcelona, we were looking forward to spending some quality time at the famous beach  ‘Barceloneta’. We decided to see if there were any other travelers in town who would be interested in meeting up. We met a Barcelonafellow Couch surfer Kristina, who was travelling alone in the city and so decided to meet up to explore the city together. It was fun to have another person with us because that helped us spread our connections and we’d also have a lot of experiences to share. We met her at the ‘Sagrada Familia’ which is one of the most famous buildings in Spain. It is a Roman Catholic Church which was designed by Gaudi almost 90 years ago and the interesting fact is that the building is still under construction. The church is one of the best tourist spots in the city and you definitely shouldn’t miss visiting it. It is almost always full of tourists, travelers as well as locals and I would suggest buying the tickets online since the actual ticket queues are enormous.

     

    After witnessing the amazing building, the three of us walked to the ‘La Barceloneta Beach’. It’s one of the most famous and popular beaches in Barcelona. The 422-meters long stretch of the beach is usually crowded with foreign tourists and one can find a quiet spot after walking some distance. Barcelona is possibly the only city where you can have a Margarita or beer served right on the beach itself. Lots of restaurants on the beach have their staff selling beer and other cocktails on the beach and with a little bargaining, you can have a delightful time soaking up the sun while sipping on your favorite drink. We had a great time at the beach along with Kristina who was an extremely entertaining person. We got to know a lot about her, talked about our trip and shared the experiences we had so far and it felt excellent to connect with a person with a shared passion for travelling. After 3-4 hours of soaking up the sun, we walked back to the city entered the one and only ‘La Rambla street.

    La Rambla is the Spanish version of ‘Oxford Street’ in London.  Full of colorful roadside shops and the tune Spanish music in the air, La Rambla is the perfect exhibition of Spanish traditions. Just walking down the street can cheer you up and make you smile. We didn’t buy anything but our bags were full of fun and pleasant memories. We tried some ‘Sangria, a mouth-watering Spanish beverage made of red wine, chopped fruits, a sweetener and a small amount of added brandy. Two glasses of it were enough to make us start dancing in the middle of the street to a completely unknown tune.

    As I took a break from the dancing and went to sit on a bench next to the street; I looked at Andrew and Kristina standing on the road and the hustle going on in the street. It took me a moment to accept the fact that I was not dreaming, that all of it was happening for real. I had spent all these years dreaming of travelling to places and making memories and it was finally happening. I grew emotional and with a smile on my face, I rejoined them and went forward to our next destination.

    I am not really a diehard football fan but coming to the ‘Mecca of Football’ and not visiting the Barcelona Football Stadium would have been a lifetime’s regret. Andrew had been there many times and so he decided to go see his family while Kristina and I left for the Stadium. Also knows as the ‘Camp Nou’, we bought the tickets for the stadium tour (£30 each). We spent about an hour at the stadium and then at the football museum. I have never attended a football match (that’s on my Bucket List, though!) but I could understand why millions of people are crazy about the game and the team. The place was really the Mecca of football. We saw an endless number of trophies and awards won by the team, showcased at the museum and you could easily see why football was a religion for the people there. It was amazing to be there. We took millions of pictures and the people were constantly staring at us in the ground as well as at museum since Kristina had gracefully accepted my dare of wearing a Real Madrid T-shirt at the Barcelona Football stadium tour. We left before things got any messier than the angry glares and laughed our lungs out on the train back to the main city.

    Our last stop for the day was another Gaudi masterpiece called the ‘Park Güell’. The Park Güell is not just a building, but an entire park designed by Gaudi himself. It is located on Carmel Hill which also provides an amazing view of the city from the other side. We reached there and got to know that it had been closed with only half the park open for visitors. It was evening and the exhaustion of having walked so much since the past two days had drained us of energy. We still managed to enjoy the park and took some great pictures of the city.

    We witnessed the sunset and took our time to bid farewell to the beautiful city. Kristina would be staying for a few more days, but Andrew and I had to go to Andorra (More about the Andorra trip here). I took a deep breath and in that moment, a flashback of the past two days passed through my mind. A smile crept on my face and I was reassured that my time in Barcelona had been the best that I could have hoped for. Kristina joined us for the dinner in our backyard back at the hostel and we took pleasure in the memorable conversations there. She was kind enough to extend us an invitation to visit her country Estonia which will someday be another adventure for the Wanderer.

    Stay tuned for the list of procedures you need to know before planning your visit to Barcelona. Please leave your thoughts and remarks in the comment box below.

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