I landed at Barcelona on 15th May which is my birthday. I am now at that age where my body doesn’t react kindly to flying out all night and missing on sleep. My favorite way to pass time in flights is to watch movies but off late I simply fall asleep.
As I was flying via Munich, the immigration for the Schengen area was already out of the way! I was greeted by Sonia Stark from the tourism board at the airport. That made my life easy. Soon we were heading to my hotel in a taxi.
I had the first day free but I was way too excited to sleep. Early check-in was also not available at the hotel. So, out I went to walk around to the Barcelona Tourism Board’s office to collect my press pass. It gave me unlimited access to Barcelona Bus Touristic’s Hop On Hop Off bus plus free entry to many monuments.
I partially took both the Red and the Blue route. Due to lack of time, I could not try the green route at all. On the first day I took the Red Route because that bus stop was less crowded. I got down at the National Arts Museum. The view from the area was so mesmerizing that I ended up spending a lot of time walking outside instead of going in.
I also got down at the Olympic Stadium stop. The day was hot and by now I felt thoroughly tired! Sleep was also trying to claim me. After roaming around the stadium for a bit, I went in search for beer and food! I promptly found both near the stadium. It was good to sit in shade and enjoy my meal.
Soon I found myself close to the hotel again and I went in to catch on a few hours of sleep. I was meeting the group in the evening for dinner.
Food is akin to religion in Spain. The people love their food, each meal goes on for hours. As a vegetarian I fared fine. I loved the pan con tomate which is the local way to eat bread with tomato, garlic and olive oil. They could do a veg version of paella for me. Wine flowed in freely and I ate a lot of crema catalana which is the popular sweet dish of the region. I also visited a beautiful vineyard during my trip which I remember for its good food.
As one of the agenda on the itinerary was ham making experience, I took the opportunity to explore Barcelona and join the group after their experience. I made an impromptu stop at one of the most recognized landmarks of Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi.
You need to plan your visit to the landmark. When I reached the tickets for the afternoon were sold out. It was only because of my press pass I was still able to visit.
Casa Batllo is another landmark building by Gaudi in Barcelona. It is a remodel of a previously built house by Gaudi! His creative genius is visible in every aspect of the building. It is better to visit the place in the early hours, later in the day it gets too crowded.
On the last day I was touring the Blue Route of the Barcelona Bus Turistic. It goes past the famous FC Barcelona. I was severealy taken to task by my nephew (the one known as Brat 2) for only passing by. He is the football player and fan in the family and he was quite unhappy that I did not find time to visit the stadium.
My last activity in Barcelona, other than food, was the Barcelona Genuine Shop Tours conducted by Barcelona Guide Bureau. It is a fun tour which takes you through the local shops of Barcelona. The cost of the tour is 25 Euro. If you like shopping, you should surely give it a try.
Here is a short video of our experience of the shopping tour. I still remember the chocolates I bought from the trip!
Barcelona has a rich street art culture be it a famous mural like the ‘world begins with every kiss‘or a painting on the local barber shop! I had too little time to do any justice to this rich tradition.
I am a big fan of trams and metros and Barcelona has both. Yet due to the lack of time I could not try either. In all, I have a lot of unfinished business in Barcelona and I would love to go back again.
PS. I was invited by the Catalonia Tourism Board to Visit Spain!