Trip to Spain: Barcelona (Part 1)

Casa Batlló was the first thing we saw when we exited the metro from the airport into the city. The building is a mansion designed by architect Antoni Gaudí. It is so beautiful and different than anything I had ever seen before. The lighting and the contrast of the night sky completely transformed the building from it usual daytime look (which we saw and toured on our second day in Barcelona). It was the perfect accident to stumble upon when we arrived, but after taking a few pictures we checked into our hotel.

In the morning, we headed to La Sagrada Familia, which was also designed by Gaudí, but it is still not finished which means that many others have contributed to its construction. This church is enormous and magnificent, and so were the lines to tour the interior – wrapping three-quarters around the building. When the construction is finished it is going to be one amazing piece of architecture (it really already is). Since the lines were crazy long, we opted out of going inside and just took everything in from the outside and from the park across the street.

After La Sagrada Familia, we hopped on the metro and took a stroll down the famous Las Ramblas where we stop at a restaurant called La Poma for a quick lunch. The decision making process for this lunch had nothing to do with the restaurant itself. We just picked the closest restaurant to us that had bathrooms and wasn’t fast food.

We ended up being pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food.  I ordered a combination meal of spaghetti bolognese and chicken croquettes. Marc got the best pizza he had ever eaten in his life. I also got something that I hadn’t had in a really, really long time – ice with my drink.  It tasted so good.

Next we stopped by Mercat de la Boqueria, which is apparently the most colorful market in all of Europe. I think I would have to agree. Even though I’ve become somewhat used to outdoor food markets living in France, I was still amazed by the variety of fresh foods and the colorful juices. It was definitely the highlight of my day.

We stopped by the Arc de Triomf in the Parc de la Ciutadella on our way back to the hotel to relax for a bit. It was a convenient and beautiful place to stop and rest our feet – especially since we had made the really poor decision to walk instead of taking the metro. Let me tell you, the distances between metro stops were much longer than we guessed that they were (it felt like the longest walk of my life).

After a nice break at the hotel, we decided to hit the beach. We wandered around Port Olimpic and Barceloneta taking in the sights and atmosphere. Eventually we stopped at a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar called Cafe de Los Angelitos for a pre-dinner drink.

After that we had some delicious tapas at a restaurant called Cerveceria el Vaso de Oro. We sampled all sorts of tapas, but some of my favorites were the patatas bravas, chorizo, and chicken croquettes (which are all conveniently in the same pictures).

What I loved most about this place was the atmosphere, which included lots of native Barcelonians speaking Spanish and the classic-looking deli-cases they use to display the tapas selection. By the end of our dinner it was almost midnight so we headed back to our hotel for the night so we could be rested for our next day in Barcelona.

Read more about our trip in my other posts:

Trip to Spain: Barcelona (Part 2)

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