This past weekend I went to Barcelona, and all I can say is I need more time! I would love to go back. Throughout the trip I kept saying I forgot what it’s like to be in a “real” city. And it’s not that Oviedo is not a real city, it’s just that Barcelona felt so big compared to Oviedo with loads more areas to explore. Everything from the metro system to commercial and residential areas reminded me of growing up in New York City. Though I have to say I found the buildings in Barcelona to be much prettier, perhaps thanks to Gaudí, a famous Catalan architect.
My Barcelona journey began in political turmoil. I’ve been learning a bit about tensions between the Catalan region and the rest of Spain, and the Catalan fight for independence. On my way to my accomodations, my friends and I walked right into a freedom demonstration. We struggled through the rush with our little suit cases, but I thought it was really cool to witness the movement firsthand. Furthermore, all throughout the city there are flags hung from the balconies representing the independence movement.
The first day we were exhausted as we had such an early flight, and unfortunately did not get around to as much I would’ve liked. However, we visited two beautiful buildings designed by Gaudí: Casa Milà and Casa Batlló. Casa Milà is in a central part of Barcelona and its distinct looks makes it impossible to miss amongst the other buildings. Casa Batlló is covered in colorful tiles that light up to create an almost spiritual ambience. We also explored Las Ramblas and the rest of the Gothic Quarter which is comprised of old brick, mini arches, and mysterious alleyways filled with modern shops.
The second day we hit two major sites! We visited La Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. La Sagrada Familia is an exquisite Roman Catholic Church, and was a project of Gaudí until he tragically died. Construction of the church began in the late 1800s and is still not done, though the Spanish government has hopes to have it completed within the next 10 years. The outside appears to made out of some sort of stone, in which intricate designs have been carved. The inside is quite bright as the enormous stain glass windows allow light to fill the spacious cathedral. Park Güell is another site demonstrating Gaudí’s talent. It is filled with his unique works and offers an amazing view of the city, with La Sagrada Familia standing out in the background.
The next time I go I would like to see some of the museums, La Boqueria (an outdoor market), and hike to a few monuments. I’m not sure when I’ll be back but I cannot wait!!