Magic and Mystery: The City of Barcelona – Day 1


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    If I was asked to choose a city where I would like to spend the rest of your life in, my answer would undoubtedly be ‘Barcelona’. The city of Barcelona is on the wish list of every traveller and I support them wholeheartedly. This city has everything that a traveller and a tourist could possibly hope for. Beaches, gorgeous architecture, parties, stunning and cultural neighbourhoods, Barcelonaan exotic food you name it. The city is vibrant, fabulously classy and addictive like no other city. I spent three days in that magical city and here I am trying to summarise my terrific time in this blog post. I shall write more about what you can do in the city and the travel expenditure involved in another post.

    Visiting from England, I was looking forward to soaking up the sun in a place where the weather is radically different from the infamous English cold. In my 11-day holiday trip, Barcelona was the second destination post the capital of Spain, Madrid. Madrid to Barcelona is a 6-hour drive. I had the option of taking a direct flight which would have saved time but I wanted to travel by road, and hence I booked a ‘Bla Bla Car’ which is a car-sharing platform to share rides. It cost me around £25 (30 Euros) which was almost the same as the bus fare. I decided to travel at night because I wanted to save my daytime.  My friend Andrew from Andorra had accompanied me to Barcelona to show me around. We stayed at a hostel called the ‘CASA DIAGONAL’ (cost £25pn) , a nice and trendy looking hotel located at the heart of the city.

    Day 1 – Without wasting a single minute, we ventured out to explore the city. Due to right selection of the hotel, we were quite close to some of the famous Gaudi Architectures like ‘La Pedrera’ and ‘Casa Batllo’. Gaudi was a famous Spanish architect who had designed some of the most famous buildings in Barcelona (and all of Spain). He had a unique style which was evident in his buildings. You can have one look at a building and tell whether it has been designed by Gaudi or not, he was probably the only architect with no straight scales. We walked to ‘CATEDRAL DE LA SANTA CREU’, one of the tallest churches in the city, which can be located from almost any point in the city. This church has been a place of exquisite beauty and magnificence ever since the Civil War. We stopped by at a famous ‘Tapas’ cafe to grab a bite. If you are in Spain and haven’t tried out the Tapas, I’d advise you to consider your trip to Spain incomplete. Tapas are a Spanish snack which comes in endless varieties. It’s a famous Spanish cuisine which can be served as a snack, an appetizer or even a full meal and can be found in almost any bar or cafe (cost £1) in Barcelona (and Spain).

    We decided to ride Barcelona’s iconic Port Cable Cars that cut across the city skyline to ‘Montjuïc Mountain’ and are known as ‘Transbordador cable cars. Note that there are two cable cars in Barcelona. The other one is smaller and called the ‘Teleferico de Montjuïc’ which is located on Montjuic Mountain itself and is for those who want to go further up to the mountain to see the ‘Montjuïc Castle’.  We took the Transbordador cable car (Cost £20/pp). Let me warn you that they are not for the faint-hearted. The ride begins with a lift to the top of the cable car tower which is quite high up. We got into the cable car along with seventeen other people. Our courage was well rewarded with the stunning view of the city of Barcelona, a top view of a huge cruise ship and aesthetic sights of the famous buildings in the city. In about 7 minutes, we landed at the top of the Montjuïc Mountain. We couldn’t have dreamt of having a better view of the city from up there. We decided to have a beer and discuss our plan ahead before moving on. So we entered the Miramar Restaurant, a classy and fancy eatery located on a terrace at the mountain with possibly the best view of the city. A pint of beer cost around 5 euro which was relatively more as compared to the city prices but given the time and view, it was worth it.

    As we started to walk down the mountain, we passed through the Olympic stadium, where Barcelona had hosted the Olympics 23 years ago. The palace was truly well maintained. We also had the chance to visit the stunning National museum of Catalan Visual Art called the ‘Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, a stunning building with a great collection of Catalan arts from all throughout history. We had the pleasure of enjoying the famous Spanish dance ‘Flamenco’ on the streets. It was incredible to see it live and in that moment, I realised how music has no language and can be enjoyed even if one doesn’t understand the lyrics.

    Flamenco Barcelona from Ujjawal Chhaparia on Vimeo.

    As we walked further downhill, we came across the Magic Fountain of Montjuïcalso known as the Magic Fountain. We had made a mistake of visiting it during the day time but if you get a chance, do visit it at night when it is lit up with colourful lights and quite a sight to see.

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    We walked for more than15 km’s that day and I hadn’t had a chance to have a proper sleep (considering I travelled to Barcelona at night). Our legs were dead tired and we decided that our final stop would be the ‘Centre Commercial Arena’- right across the road from the Magical fountain. The building is a huge and circular and used to be a bullfight arena but ever since the abandonment of bullfighting in Catalan, the place had been converted into a shopping mall. It had an open rooftop and we walked about to have a nice look around. Finally, after the long and tedious day, we decided to go back to the hotel and get fresh before dinner.

    This had been one of the most tiring but amazingly productive days of my trip. We had explored so much of the city within a single day but there was a lot more to be covered. My other adventures in Barcelona on my Day 2 in the city you can read here.

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