Located in South Western Europe, Spain is the textbook definition of the good life. Hell, any tourist guide book could tell you that so let us get to what I could tell you differently from my little Spanish invasion.
We decided to do Barcelona for two primary reasons. First, it is extremely close to Nice. And second, you cannot exactly go to France and not foray into Spain. Almost sinful. So we decided that a sojourn for about three days in Barcelona was in order. Look at this as your guide to 'attempting' to cover Barcelona in three days, four nights. Because lets face it, you will inevitably miss things and will require yet another season of travel to come back to it.
Since we went to Barcelona in the biting cold, you might as well drop hopes of finding bikini photos of me soaking up the sand and the sun. However, I can share with you a few pearls of exploring the city of Barcelona and what not to miss there. Remember, the Catalan capital will not disappoint you on two very important counts: Food and Shopping. The rest as they say is, umm nearly not so important.
- A name to look up and learn a thing or two about before you venture into Barcelona is that of 'Antoni Gaudi'. One of the most renowned architects of the city of Barcelona, Gaudi has created most of the masterpieces that you see around in Barcelona. One to not miss amongst many others is the 'La Sagrada Familia' or the house of Jesus. This church is not one to skim over and requires the best of your visual and auditory senses. This church continues to be under construction even post the demise of Gaudi and is a delight for its glass cut work, the detailing along each pillar and the arches at the top and also the sculptures along the outer facade which tell the tales of Jesus. Make sure to book your tickets online. You will be doing yourself the biggest favour.
- The 'tapas' experience is as important to your trip to Barcelona as ice to playing ice hockey. No, I mean it. Every place to eat at in Spain gives you the tapas experience. Tapas are essentially small eats. Or appetizers if you may. But what people do in tapas bars is get their pitchers of sangria (yes, the Spanish love their sangria) and order a ton of tapas. The egg and crispy noodles and the cured ham are the ingredients to your ultimate foodgasm experience. Two tapas bars that we visited and could not get enough of were 'La Cervesaria Catalana' and 'Ciudad Condal', both of which are listed in almost every list conceivable of the best tapas bars in Barcelona. The reservations queue could get you in a tizzy but each bite is worth the hour and more long wait.
- 'Las Ramblas'. Most travelogues and travel guide books will give you split opinions on this one. The age old schoolers will tell you that this is where its at, while the new age travel gurus might advise you to skip this one. My verdict is that this kilometre and more long stretch of all kinds of little stalls selling you knickknacks that you don't really need and rows of tiny bars on each side selling tapas and cocktails on the go is a must walk. Granted that the fear of pick pockets on this street is legit but also, the entire cultural canopy of Barcelona almost strikes you at Las Ramblas at once.
- On Las Ramblas is the entrance to one of the cutest markets in the whole of Barcelona which anyone would tell you. La Boqeria is a public market covered and roofed, with tiny stalls and tables on the inside. Here you can find anything from the world's most wicked chilly ('Habanero') to the local chocolates and candies of Barcelona which you will find people buying by the kilo. Also found here are stalls of 'pintxos' or 'pinchos' which can be over simplified to 'meat on a stick'. We found the dessert version which had strawberries and bananas with frozen nutella on top and helped ourselves to some.
- The Port of Barcelona, apart from its obvious commercial importance also has restaurants and a mall right next to it so while the merchants do their business, you should do yours. The crystal clear serene blue sea warrants a walk or two with maybe a beer and a portion of 'paella' which is considered Spain's national dish. We tried the seafood paella (it's basically a rice dish with meat and vegetables) but there are other meat and vegetarian options for those interested. Don't forget to chug a mug or two of San Miguel which is one of the nicest beers in Spain.
Post all of these invigorating activities, shop of course.