Published: January 25th 2008January 21st 2008
Just before we left the UK we saw a program by travel journalists counting down the 20 best cities in the world and Barcelona topped the list... so we were pretty interested to see just what all the fuss was about.
It was time to say goodbye to Cardiff, our home for the past 8 months, and she saw us off with the typical weather for this time of year, cold and rainy. We had a bit of a scare when at the platform it seemed our train to Bristol had been cancelled! After a few anxious minutes, where we contemplated the £75 cab fare, we found a guy who checked it out and luckily the train did arrive and we made it to the airport with plenty of time.
The weather in Barcelona was a very welcome change, sunny, clear and 15 degrees. Our first afternoon we did walking tour down La Rambla, the famous boulevard filled with stalls and street performers and through the narrow streets of the Barri Gotic area. On our second day we wandered through the streets and checked out some of the crazy modernist buildings designed by Gaudi and others and then caught
the metro to Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's most famous work and the most visited sight in Spain. It's been under construction since the 1890's and they’re still working on it but hope to finish sometime in the 2020's. Hope it's worth it, although it's pretty impressive to look at even unfinished. Our next stop was Park Guell, a huge park where Gaudi turned his hand to landscape gardening (must have been sick of buildings). It's a pretty surreal place but a nice spot for a picnic lunch. We got a little lost on the way back out but eventually made it and got the metro back into the city to visit the Picasso museum. This was pretty interesting and showcased a lot of his early work in order so you could see how his painting changed.
Day 3 was all about the 1992 Olympics. We eventually made it to the Estadi Olympia (after an unplanned tour of most of the other facilities). We then decided it was time to check out the beach, heading to La Barceloneta where we had lunch looking out over the Mediterranean. On our way back we detoured through the old Olympic Village which was sold
off as apartments after the games, on our way back to our hostel for a rest before heading out for dinner. We had an early night to prepare for our train to Nice
So is it the best city? Hmm… fascinating architecture, interesting history, museums, art, great weather and food, friendly locals AND the beach... Even if it’s not THE best, it should be on everyone's travel list!
There are more photos below