The first stop on our Spain adventure was Barcelona! Throughout our trip we relied heavily on Rick Steve’s Spain 2018 guidebook for self guided tours and recommendations. After leaving LA (see The Last Bookstore and Skylight Books) on a red eye, our flight got in at 7:30 PM and we took the Metro at the airport to the Universitat stop which was right outside of our Airbnb. We had basically two nights and one day in Barcelona, with the added bonus of any wanderings we accomplished the night of our arrival after our long travel day. As such, after dropping off our luggage and getting some much needed food, we set out to explore a bit that night, taking Rick Steves up on his La Ramblas Ramble self guided tour.
We enjoyed our night time adventure down La Ramblas that we explored all the way to the end of the boardwalk by the waterfront. Our only complain was that every 3-5 minutes we were stopped by persistent promoters trying to get us to go to a bar or restaurant. The next morning early we set out to repeat the Ramblas Ramble tour in the daylight, even going to the top of the Columbus Monument for beautiful views of the famous road, city, and waterfront. While we enjoyed the hustle and bustle of La Ramblas, we were disappointed the La Boqueria Market was closed by the time we made it there and then again the next day (Sunday).
Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter)
Our full day in Barcelona was jam packed from our second La Rambas excursion described above to a self guided walking tour of the Barri Gotic. We followed this up by meandering down to the beachfront before touring La Sagrada Familia and catching a FC Barcelona game. Other than taking a taxi to the football game we walked everywhere, logging over 12 miles of walking as you can see by the approximate walk we took in the map below. Starting our morning off in Barri Gotic, we loved exploring this beautiful part of the city that included old fountains, a towering cathedral, and a section of the former city wall.
Placa Sant Felip Neri
Coming from Michigan, which is still in winter’s firm grasp, I couldn’t resist peeking at the beach even though the temperatures weren’t nearly warm enough for a full blown beach day. After coming to the end of the La Ramblas, we found our way to Sant Sebastia Beach where we kicked off our shoes and relaxed for a few precious minutes before heading in the direction of La Sagrada Familia.
La Sagrada Familia
After relaxing at the beach, Sarah and I set off to get lunch in El Born on our way to La Sagrada Familia. Arriving at the stunning church, we couldn’t wait to get inside to explore more. The Nativity Facade was much more impressive in our unqualified opinions, and we were happy that we chose to go up in that tower vs. the Passion Facade. We took the elevator to the top of the Nativity Tower, before taking the symmetrically satisfying, claustrophobia inducing winding staircase back to the ground floor. Continually impressed with the high level of detail throughout this beautiful, unique cathedral we found that it was in so many ways remarkable and breathtaking, especially as we were touring the inside near sunset. After our tour we walked back to our Airbnb without a set path in mind. In hindsight I wish I would have plotted our specific path or looked closer at a map as we passed within a street of the Block of Discord. Alas, till next time.
Barcelona vs Alaves Football Game – Camp Nou
As a general lover of anything sports related I was beyond excited to find out that FC Barcelona had a home game while we were in town! We had both heard about the energetic atmosphere at football games in Spain we couldn’t wait to experience a game and watch Messi play in person. A word of warning, regarding restricted view seating at Camp Nou. We were quite pleased with ourselves when we found third row seats, but alas our seats were level with the field, requiring us to stand for most of the game to see any of the action. Regardless of the viewing issue, we had a wonderful time and got to see Barcelona win 2-1. If you watch any of the highlights, you can see Sarah and I (circled in red below) in almost every shot on our goal!
Stay tuned next week for our second stop of our Spain Adventure as we head to Granada!