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Barcelona: raining in Park Guell

Monday 15th

Today was my last day in Barcelona before heading home. Even though I completely packed in my days, there were still many thing I didn’t do. I will miss this beautiful city full of incredible artitecture… I’ve never explored a place like it.

When I woke up today, the heavens had opened and it was chucking it down with rain but I was determined for this to not stop my plans.

After I checked out, I walked for about an hour or so to my destination. I have to admit, I looked like a drowned rat and I was shivering. All my clothes were soaked. Marching up a slight hill onto a moving escalator, I eventually reached Park Guell. I didn’t feel it was worth paying to go in because i was sneaky and went round the back where you could see the whole building and the inside. I wandered around part of the ground but due to the weather, I didn’t explore all of it. There were historic ruins you could walk through.

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On the way back to the hostel to get changed, I stopped off at McDonalds. What I love about going to McDonald in different counties is that they do different food reflecting their culture. In this one, I had a traditional tapas of tomato and oil on toasted ciabatta with a coffee.

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During the rest of the afternoon, I walked back to the hostel to warm up, ate a bit of lunch and watched a film.

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I wanted to go inside the cathedral, which was free after 5, so I headed there with one of the girls in my room. The cathedral looked amazing inside.

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Once I got back to the hostel, I collected my bag and departed for home. I found that in the airport, they reveal the gate number 10 minutes before boarding, which meant I arrived extremely early. However, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss my flight as I didn’t know the times of the train. In the airport, I just chilled in Burger King. The flight wasn’t that long but it was a late departure time so got back pass 1 in the morning.

Barcelona: sights up the hill, museums and salsa

Sunday 14th

Today, again, I ended up packing up my day and walking masses around most of the city. First, I headed west to see the Magic fountain at day time, which wasn’t as spectacular because not all the fountains were on but it still looked magical in front of Museu Nacional d’art de catalunya. The building was high up with the cascading fountains glowing in the bright sun. Luckily, I didn’t have to walk up as there were escalator up to the museum.

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Font Magica and Museu Nacional d’art de catalunya

I had decided that morning, I was going to a massive loop seeing some on the sights and views from the hill. From looking at the map I had, I couldn’t tell how spread out they were or how steep the hill was. If you don’t mind a little hike and walking then it isn’t too bad. Otherwise you can get a cable car from the port up to the hill.

As I strolled around the museum and through some grassland, a building slowly appeared in front of me: Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic (Olympic stadium). The gates in front of me where opened to look around the arena (I’m not sure if I was allowed to do this but I did). Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to look in the stadium as it was closed: I think it was due to it being Sunday. From here, I could see Torre de Catatrava and in the sea in the distance. It was an incredible view.

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Estadi Olimpic de Montjuic

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Torre de catatrava

After getting slightly lost and finding the correct path, which was hilly and windy, I eventually got to Montjuic castle and to the picturesque views and surrounding areas:

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Next, I scurried down the hill to the port to get a spot of lunch. Once I had rested and my tummy was full, I wandered around the Picasso Museum and History Museum, where you can see the Romans ruins from under the Cathedral. The Picasso museum was well worth seeing as I saw how his art developed but didn’t have any of his well known paintings. Both of these museums are free on a Sunday afternoon after 3pm but be warned there will be a huge queue at Picasso’s museum. I would recommend getting your ticket before but say you want to enter after 3pm to take advantage of the free admission.

Here are a few sneaky shots of Picasso Museum (ssshhhh you’re not meant to take photos):

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After all this sight seeing and being on my feet, I had a short nap back at the hostel.

In the evening, I hung out with the girl from Taiwan, where we headed to the Travel Bar as we were given a free food voucher from the hostel. I ate a pesto and cheese pasta with a Sangria.

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The two Australian girls from the night before joined us, where we thought we would do something spanish: Salsa dancing. That is exactly what we did and it was so much fun. Fortunately, I had done some salsa lessons in the past so quite a few people asked me to dance salsa and bachata. It was a fantastic last night in Barcelona.

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Barcelona: tours and magic fountain

Saturday 13th

After chatting to some people last night, I decided to go on a Travel Bar walking tours as I got told it was more interesting and informative than the one that the lady at the hostel mentioned. The Travel bar is just off La Rambla, and arrange many tours including the old town, Gaudi works, photography, pub crawl, tapas, cooking – there is something for anyone so if you enjoy tours, I would head here.

I went on the Free Walking tour of the old town, Barcelona, which took us around the cathedral through the side roads to the port. There were about 9 of us on the tour I did with a mixture of people from USA, Canada and Korea.

As it was Christmastime, we got told about a Catalunyan tradition, where there is a log with a face that is put under the Christmas tree which grows over weeks. Then on Christmas Day, the log is beaten by the children and present are pooped out.

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The logs in different sizes so they can ‘enlarge’

Another tradition is where a person with a nativity set decided to trick his family by putting a ‘new’ character in the scene. They hid this to see if they noticed. This character was if a little boy pooping. Now apparently in every nativity scene you will see different characters pooping from football players to celebrities to cartoon characters.

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Pooping boy

It was also interesting to hear about George slaying a dragon is a myth in Barcelona (as well as many other countries in the world including England). Also about the hairy statue and the rivalry between the Spanish and Cantalunyans (They want Cantalunya to be its own country)

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Picasso art of the Kings

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The hairy warrior – Try to find it if you are in Barcelona

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Parliament houses

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Interesting nativity in the Parliament Square (with a pooping boy)

When the tour had finished, we got the reminder that ‘We expect tips for the tour’. I have been on many free walking tours and they make money from tips but I’ve not ever been on one where they are so demanding and pressurised. I alway give a generous tip but when I get told that I have to do something, I’m likely to do the opposite. Anyway, I gave a little tip.

After I wandered around, ate some lunch before meeting one of the guys from the day before to do a Gaudi and Modernism tour, which I knew was going to be a lot of walking. I saw some incredible architecture. The photos will not be anything as good as the actual buildings but here’s some of them:

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4 cats cafe

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Music hall

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Casa Batlló

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Casa Milo

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The tour ended at Sagrada Familia. While on the tour, we got told about the history of these place, the people Gaudi worked with and just the detailed of everything in the city.

After we went under the Sagrada Familia to see Gaudi tombstone (which you can do for free after 6pm).

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Two of us decided to go to see the Magic Fountain show, which someone on the previous tour had mentioned. Thus was the other side of town but as I like walking so much, we went be foot. (Warning: it took over an hour to get there).

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The magic fountain was amazing; so mesmerising and beautiful.

When I got back to my hostel, I met three girls in my room, where we decided to go to a few bars drinking sangria and shots before heading to a club.

Barcelona: sights and tapas

Friday 12th

After an early flight, I arrived in Barcelona late morning. I found the best way to get from Airport to the centre was to get a train to Passig De Gracia, where I had followed the instructions from the hostel. Warning: I brought a single ticket, however the best option is to get a T10 ticket which cost 10.40€ and you can use it on the metro the whole time your in Barcelona. Unfortunately I did not know this so forked out for a single which was 4.50€.

As soon as I walked up the steps from the underground, I saw a spectacular building. From this moment, I knew I would love this city. Even though I was following Google maps, I went in the wrong direction to the hostel as Google maps wasn’t correct. I manage to find the right hostel ‘Backpacker’s Casanova’ after a long walk. The person on the desk was friendly and informative and showed me my 8 bed dorm, where no-one was around.

After dumping my stuff in the room, I headed out into the centre to start exploring the city. I’m going to show you in photo form what I saw:

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Ice rink at Catalunya place, where there is a lovely fountain

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La Rambla – Main Street in Barcelona

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La Boqueria – food market

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Colon by the boat port

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Barcelona port

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Sculptures by the sea

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A Starbucks break – a must after all the walking.

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Arc de Triomphe

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Glories area – Torre Agba

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Sagrada Familia – an incredible building still being built and designed by .

After several hours of sight seeing and getting lost, I strolled back to the hostel, where there were no many people there.

In the evening, I decided to go on the Tapas tour, which meets at the Cathedral at 7.30. This was a great way to meet people and taste Spanish cuisine and would recommend going on it if you are travelling alone. I met some lovely people of different ages and nationalities. There were about 10 of us in total.

The first place we went to was a restaurant, where we ate tapas: a Spanish omelette and tomato on bread with a glass of sangria. After, we went to a bar, where we had wine with olives,mcheese, tomato on crispy bread. Then I had this huge monitor, which was delicious. The final bar was a small place, where we were given a traditional Spanish shot and a group of 3 ladies did some tradition Spanish singing and Flamenco dancing. It was just an amazing evening in lovely company with a great atmosphere.

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