In other words, the Spanish Town. It's in walking distance (edit: climbing distance) from Plaça d'Espanya. What you have at the end of some tedious 10-minute upward hike, is a mini version of the typical spanish village; houses, gardens, fountains, squares connected with narrow streets with museums and shops scattered around. The only thing you see that's not in real Barcelona would be the orange trees, probably. Which is precisely why you should consider it twice before you climb all the way up here and pay some ridiculous entrance fee. You already see the real thing out there!
Plaça d'Espanya is located in the district of Montjuïc, the southwestern part and one of the greenest regions of the city. It's right in front of you when you step out of the Espanya subway station.
Well as you see, it's a palace. It's mighty. Magnificent, with its huge fountain, central garden, and probably millions of steps that lead to the great stucture. Maybe it's the only palace in the world that has outer escalators!All in all, it's impressive but not so much as what it transforms into on a Saturday night. Wait this this post.
Txapella is a tapas place. And it's not randomly selected on some lazy Monday afternoon, tired of strolling under the sun on Passaig de Gracia. I basically arrived at Barcelona with Txapella's menu in my backpack!
We managed to pay our long-awaited visit on our way from Park Güell. Which was actually preceeded by another walk all the way from Sagrada Familia to the end of Passaig de Gracia; namely totaling to 4-5 hours. I was afraid we were gonna drink up the entire stock of sangria the place held (till then we hadn't tried any), but sangria wound up tasting way below our expectations. So we decided just to indulge in the wide range of tapas in stead... Here's a tip: If you don't know Spanish, don't bother to decipher. Just pick by intuition. Make sure you don' miss out the following though: patatas bravas, fried little green pepers and the one with the fried shrimp. And get a hold of one clean menu before you leave. It comes in handy; passing from one generation of Barcelona visitors to the next :)
Have you not had enough Gaudi just yet? Save what place is left in your stomach for Park Güell. No, this one is not just another of his hallucinatory house-of-a-beast, it's his entire private playground! And if you are fed up with this guy already, keep in mind that this park is probably the best place to refresh yourself up on a 40 degree C June afternoon when rest of the city's practically on fire. Don't let the hordes of tourists discourage your expedition; apparently they'll never cease to be there.
I'll let pics speak for themselves now, I am so over words on the subject of Gaudi inspired city planning!
Some weird instrument at the park's gate.
It's so up that you have the entire city view, inluding La Sagrada Familia.
Also known as Casa Milà, La Pedrera may be Gaudi's most renounced masterpiece - well, after Sagrada Familia, probably. Although, in my personal opinion, La Pedrera is a bit overrated (when compared to Casa Batlló for instance) it's still an impressive structure in its own right. Likewise, La Pedrera is located on Passaig de Gracia too, a short walking distance from the rest of the typical Gauidi material.
After some point you start naming what's Gaudi and what's not, anyway :)
Lonely Planet describes Casa Batlló as "Gaudí at his hallucinogenic best". It indeed is one of the strangest buildings you are likely to see in a lifetime.
The window frames and balconies have this cat-to-tiger-to-dragon resemblence while the building's vertical support sections remind you of bones and skeletons. The tiles and the color harmony from the many shades of blue to green seem to be inserted there to create an oceanic aura. But what this place really inspires in me?
Eixample is the Upper East Side of Manhattan - sorry, Barcelona. Passeig de Gracia is the Oxford Street of London - sorry, Barcelona. It's rich, it's historical, it's decent, it's green and totally fun to walk and look around. It's basically high street fashion put on a medieval display; which is pretty awesome :)
Most cities have many but one major, top-of-the-mind symbol. This is the one for Barcelona.
The masterpiece of Gaudi is probably one of the few structures ever created by a man that is strikingly awesome and fearsome; at the same time and to the same degree. Only, it's not created by a man. Gaudi transformed an entire city into what it is today, but couldn't pull through long enough to see Sagrada Familia completed, which most likely makes the whole thing even creepier.
All and all; Sagrada Familia is like some renaissance novel bursting with heavy symbolism and subtext waiting to be deciphered... and completed.
Be ready to spend some time circling around each sector of this daunting structure and observe its details; but probably a bit more to decide whether you are amazed or intimidated by it.
In other words, the hippest, coolest part of the city.
Packed 24 hours with tourists as well as locals; Born brings together the best range of cafes, restaurants and tapas bars of the city. They are in plenty; as you need to get a break every now and then to take back the energy you pour into browsing the most stylish boutiques and shops of the city, which are also in Born. Not so pro-shopping? Then you'll probably be tempted to join the hordes of tourists queued up in front of the Picasso or the Textile museum. Wait! Born's not over yet! It's also the heart of casual night life in Barcelona. I drank the best mohito of my life in one bar there. Even I don't remember the name of the bar, so yes it was that good :)