4 – 5 July, 2015
After my mildly traumatic introduction to Barcelona (for those who missed it, see the following: https://lapiccolaviaggiatrice.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/hola-barcelona/), I began to properly explore the city and very promptly fell in love. It is not only for our Australian tendency to truncate words that the city has so fondly been dubbed “Barca” by many Aussie travellers. It’s more than just a nickname – it conveys a sense of intimacy, of affection, of love for a city that is loud and crazy and overwhelming.
Even for those who are not in the least interested in architecture, Gaudí’s work is wondrous. The list of “to-see” Gaudí works is incredibly long, so I’ll just provide a snapshot for now. But one cannot visit Barcelona without being constantly reminded of both his amazing ability and his lasting impact on the city. From apartment blocks (La Pedrera), to parks (Park Güell), to places of worship (La Segrada Família), Gaudí’s brilliance permeates Barcelona and is sure to wow any visitor.
Hospital de Sant Pau i de la Santa Creu
Another architectural highlight for me was most definitely Hospital de Sant Pau i de la Santa Creu. The old hospital is absolutely stunning and is most definitely a strangely wonderful setting to mill about. The gardens were designed to provide patients with a beautiful space to relax and recuperate, and the effect is oddly pleasant – the stunning open space, with gentle inclines, bright colours and lush greenery, looks like it belongs anywhere but in a hospital. But by the same token, its design completely makes sense and is in line with the vibrancy that the whole city of Barcelona proudly carries.
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria
La Boqueria is a large market right off La Rambla, one of the main pedestrian streets in Barcelona. Like any market, it is bursting with stalls, but what makes La Boqueria special is the sheer amount of amazing produce that is available. Whether you’re after fresh fruit cups, rich chocolates, vibrant sweets or hot paella, you will find it. There are butchers, fresh fish vendors, chefs, spice merchants – any type of food you could want, you will find it there. I was overwhelmed with the choice and visited a couple times. On top of the culinary delight, the market is bursting with colour and is a gorgeous place to wander about.
Cattedrale di Barcellona
The gothic Cathedral in Barcelona is a stunning sight. It is dark and quite imposing, but is also an impressive architectural structure and is worth the visit. There are sometimes markets held just outside the grand building and the surrounding area is rich with beautiful 13-century architecture.
Parc de la Ciutadella
Barcelona’s vibrancy extends into its gorgeous parks. The Ciutadella Park is no exception, and is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen. It is spacious, incredibly green, and home to a stunning fountain. There is also a lake which you can row across and a giant mammoth statue! The park is definitely Insta-worthy and is sure to offer some lovely photo opportunities.
El Bosc de les Fades
This was the coolest and most beautiful bar ever! Walking in through the gloomy corridor, there were all sorts of different displays (see the paper cranes and butterflies below) and several themed rooms, such as “time” or the seance-themed area. The main bar area (in the first photo below) was an indoor forest and the vibe was fantastically Peter Pan-esque. The whole place was absolutely gorgeous, and an amazing setting in which to spend a night.