Day 2 in Spain began with Tenshi and I heading to Park Güell at 7:00 am to meet our 8:00 am ticket time slot! We hopped on the metro and hiked up to the park only to find out that admission to the park is free before 8:00 am…so, if you plan to visit Barcelona and Park Güell, go before 8:00 am to beat the crowds and save yourself 10 euros!
Now, the majority of Park Güell is free to tourists. The only portion you pay to enter is where Gaudí’s mosaic work is found. When I went, part of the bench and other areas were under restoration/repair due to the amount of tourist traffic (I assume).
I felt slightly disappointed by Park Güell if I am completely honest with you, friends. Perhaps the three tourists taking a zillion photos who wouldn’t give anyone else a turn got to me? Don’t get me wrong, Gaudí’s artwork at the park is fantastic! I am flabbergasted this man dreamt up La Sagrada Familia AND Park Güell. What did his brain look like on a daily basis? However, I thought the iconic bench where every tourist takes their photo did not live up to the hype. I thought the bench would be taller in person! BUT, despite enduring frustrations with tourists, Tenshi and I found some other great places in Park Güell where there were less tourists and I think photo opportunities were better. It’s all about perspective!
After taking a bunch of photos, Tenshi and I hopped back on the metro to go to the hostel to grab some breakfast. Then, we took some pictures at some murals nearby.
After an impromptu photo shoot, Tenshi and I got back onto the metro. We hopped off at the same stop as Park Güell. Instead of going to the park again, we hiked up to the bunkers where a panoramic view of Barcelona awaited us.
Once we had our fill of the gorgeous view, Tenshi and I hiked back down and decided to explore the area of Barcelona near the bunkers. For me, this will stick out as one of my favorite portions of this trip because I finally felt like I was not in a touristy part of the city. Locals were out and about doing their shopping at the bakery and fruit market. I was able to practice my Spanish when ordering my bread, which made me feel SO happy. FINALLY, I was experiencing the Spain I had imagined.
When I had purchased my bread and fruit, Tenshi and I hopped onto the metro to go to Dona i Ocell, a sculpture by Joan Miro. Once again, an area free of tourists! This park was empty and the statue was really beautiful!
Afterwards, the plan was to go to the Olympic Park. However, I noticed some amazing murals. Since I am a sucker for street art, Tenshi and I decided to go over and check them out. Absolutely worth the detour!
Then, next to the murals happened to be the biggest street market I had ever seen. Food, artisans, and music galore! As Tenshi and I walked the length of the market, a band was really working the crowd. Onlookers were dancing and singing in Spanish and I ate up every moment! Tenshi and I were about to continue on when the band started to play ACDC’s “Highway to Hell.” When the song started playing, I whipped out my camera to videotape the moment and to sing along. Music, friends, is such a powerful way to bring people together!
At one of the food booths, a GIANT cast iron skillet contained paella. Eating REAL Spanish paella was one my bucket list for the weekend. After using some broken Spanish, the cooks told Tenshi and I to come back in 20 minutes and it would be ready. We walked around some more before heading back to the same booth. The man we had spoken with immediately remembered us and said “you came back!” For 8 euros, this paella did not disappoint!
Once we ate our paella, Tenshi and I went back to the hostel where we reunited with Miriam. The three of us headed to an Italian restaurant a local had suggested to us the previous day. Where the restaurant was located did not even seem like Barcelona. Only locals were in the area and the architecture had the Spanish feel I had been anticipating seeing in person.
At Bellillo, I had a pizza with a fried base. Sounds gross, but absolutely delicious! Afterwards, we headed over to the ice cream shop the same woman had recommended, DeLaCrem. In her words, “GREAT ice cream you cannot see, it is in a canister. Ice cream on display with bright colors is bad ice cream.” Friends, canister ice cream is the best. I am still thinking about my dulce de leche ice cream.
Once we ate dessert, Tenshi headed off to her soccer game and Miriam and I walked around exploring the area. Eventually, we made our way to Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. During the summer, this fountain puts on a 30-minute show timed to music and lights. Fortunately for us, we happened to be there the first weekend the show occurred for the season. I have seen the Bellagio fountains in person in Las Vegas. In my opinion, the Magic Fountain put the Bellagio to shame. I was impressed!
After the show, Miriam and I made our way back to the hostel. There, we “napped” until 2:45 am and hopped on the metro and then bus to get to the airport.
I enjoyed Barcelona, but I would not go back. For me, I found Barcelona to be too touristy and as a traveler, that is just not my style. By far, this was my least favorite city I visited this semester. Sorry Barcelona friends!
Perhaps, I did not do and see the right things? I would love to go back to Spain, though, and visit other cities!
Have you been to Barcelona? What are your thoughts?
Leave a positive impression,