So far, out of all the cities I've been to in Spain (Madrid, Granada, Salobreña, Jaen, Úbeda, Carzola, Málaga, Marbella, Tarifa, Nerja, Córdoba, Sevilla) BARCELONA is my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I love Granada so much; the history, the Arabic culture, the tapas! But Barcelona was perfect. I had been jonesing for a beach trip for a while and this place was just like home. The docks reminded me so much of Shoreline Village in Long Beach. I coudn't stop smiling. All of the Gaudí architecture blew my mind! Let's just get started, shall we?
The day after our €6 flight to BCN, we went straight to Parc Güell for the famous view and Gaudí houses. For those of you who don't know, Antoni Gaudí was commissioned by the king to design dozens of houses, apartments, cathedrals and other aesthetic structures in Barcelona in the late 1800s. He was part of the Art Nouveau movement and has this incredibly different style that I am in love with.
View from Mirador in Parc Güell:
In Parc Güell, there is another mosaic bench-lined mirador which looks at houses designed by Gaudí, that lead down to the entrance to the park with the famous mosaic lizard.
We also saw the cave-like corridor that they used in America's Next Top Model Cycle 7 final runway show!
After the park, we hopped on the metro and went over to La Sagrada Familia. Gaudí was a devout Catholic and began this incredible, awe-inspiring church during his various designs in Barcelona. He died before it was completed and his son took over. Since 1882, it has been under construction. Any photos you see without cranes in it were digitally altered to remove them. Mine, of course, still have them in it. One half of this HUGE church represents good and the other, evil. I preferred the darker side, as the detail was so impressive. This cathedral is mind-blowing and an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This next portion pretty much exists just for my mom. We had some delicious tapas at a long bar of both lunch and dessert tapas. I found the place in a Barcelona tourist book that our roommate, Yuri, lent me. We stumbled upon the actual building by chance though! Later, we stopped for a delicious snack of cafe con leche and a pastry from yet another famous place I found in a tour book from Yuri. The last photo is of our last dinner in Barca--Persian food! The owner was so nice to us and gave us free ice cream and tea because I told him how Chelsea had worked at a Persian restaurant in the States. :]
We did some more exploring and saw some awesome statues, monuments, and buildings in our treks, including one of what seems like A DOZEN Cristobol Colón monuments (Christopher Columbus), just below:
We walked through the La Boquería or Mercat de Saint Joseph. There were fresh fruit and vegetable stands galore, spice stands with homemade paella seasoning mixtures, fresh smoothies, sausage and fish shops, bread stands--the works! We ate lunch there on our second day. It was delish.
My favorite part of the whole sha-bang was the harbor. We sat on the docks of the Barelona Harbor and soaked up some sun. The ocean was so blue and the old, tan architecture accented it just right. The wooden docks and sailboats made me miss those summers in Long Beach so much. But the whole scene was just perfect.
And finally, we HAD to visit Camp Nou--stadium of the famous FB Barcelona futbol team! These guys really are superstars. It's ridiculous. But makes for rad games.
And then we were off to Sevilla...