THE ONE WHERE WE WENT TO BARCELONA

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In late April, we went on holiday to visit our cousins in Barcelona. We were so excited to visit Spain for the first time. We only heard amazing things about the city and we wanted to experience as much of Barcelona as possible and we were able to take some day trips as well. There is so much to experience in Spain its so hard to pick and choose. Chase and I are both fluent in Spanish, so it of course makes things easier when you speak the language when you are visiting a country, If you don't speak Spanish I would definitely recommend to learn a few phrases in Spanish because it will make things a little easier for you. 
We made a list of what we did and why you it should be on  your list also when you visit Barcelona. 

-WHAT WE DID IN BARCELONA-

TIBIDABO
The story goes that Tibidabo was built upon the mountain above the city as a reminder of the Bible story when Jesus was tempted by Lucifer and shown the world. There are various ways to reach the top: hiking, biking, vehicle,  or funicular. So take your pick and be prepared for stunning views of the city when you get to the top.

The church isn't the only thing at the top of the mountain, there are also restaurants and a little amusement park. Be sure to go into the church and learn some history from a curator before getting distracted by the rest.
MONTSERRAT SPAIN

I had seen pictures of Montserrat on Pinterest for such a long time. I knew I wanted to take a day trip there, and Chase so kindly went with my plan. We got on a train to Montserrat and from the train station we took the funicular up to the mountain range.  Montserrat is basically a monastery sitting on top of a mountain range. Probably one of the most magical places I've ever been. 

There isn't too much here, besides a few restaurants and a couple of hotels and of course the beautiful monastery. However, the views are one of a kind.
SITGES SPAIN 

The day we went to Sitges it started out raining, but it was lunch time when we arrived so we decided to grab a bite and escape the rain for a bit. After lunch the sun had come out to play. In May not too many people were out enjoying the water with us. Which was great for us to snap a few photos around town.

This is a great looking little beach town, and on a hot summer day the beaches would be full of sunbathers. Take the time to wander around the Muralla de Sitges and old town before you head out.



CASTELLDEFELS
Located about 15 mins south by southwest from Barcelona this seaside town is the home to some of Barcelona's longest beaches. Alongside these wide, sandy beaches is a boardwalk scattered with some awesome restaurants and bars called chiringuitos (little bars or restaurants on the beach). It was such a treat to see some Spanish men on horse back practicing dressage on the beach. If only there were some flamenco dancers and it would have been an epic Spanish day.

MONTJUïC 

The walk leading up to the great palace of Montjuïc is pretty amazing. There are several ways to arrive, but we took the metro to Plaza Espanya and walk the promenade from there. I was overwhelmed by the vastness and size of it all. The fountains and grand staircases are full of visitors snapping photos and people trying to sell their goods, but there is room for everyone. 

Loads of great places await your arrival at the top of the mountain: the National Palace Museum, Olympic Park, Castell de Monjuïc, and much more. We would just wonder around and stumble upon great gardens and even found ourselves on the olympic stadium field, although I don't think we were supposed to be there. In fact I know we weren't supposed to be there because a guard kindly told us to leave. 

MONTJUÏC CASTLE 

One of the places mentioned earlier is the Castell de Montjuïc. To get to the Castell it is best to take a funicular to the top so that you have the time and energy to discover the castle at the top. We stumbled upon a group of archers practicing their skill in the castle's old moat. Even though the castle was built in 1640, it was still a cool sight to see as we imagined these archers a thousand years ago would have surely been employed to protect the city during medieval battles. 

POBLE ESPANYOL

This is a bit of a tourist trap. We went with our cousin who lives in Barcelona, she had heard about this place, so we went to check it out. Again it is located on top of Montjuïc, about a ten minute walk up the road from el Palau Nacional. This little place features the prominent architecture found in each of the regions of Spain, from Andalusia to Galicia. I would say just skip it, trust me its not worth it. 

FUTBOL GAME 
Chase was able to see FC Barcelona take on RCD Espanyol. My cousin's partner is a socio (or member) of the club de Espanyol and was happy enough to take Chase along for the big match, as long as he didn't cheer for Barça. Chase is a Chelsea fan, so he was cool with that. Plus he didn't want to start any trouble during such a big rival match. At the end of the day FC Barcelona won the match 3-0.

GOTHIC QUARTER

A small part of the city packed with twisting streets and little plazas, all still in the old gothic style when these streets were first laid down. The Basilica del Santa Maria del Pi dating back to the 14th century and the Catedral de Barcelona constructed throughout the 13th and 15th centuries are both found in this area. So much history can be seen and experienced here. Also, the ambience at dusk is beautiful to experience.

Almost any street coming off the Rambla will take you into the gothic quarter. Within the quarter you'll find loads of shops, restaurants, and hotels if you would like to stay directly in the gothic quarter of the city. 

LA RAMBLA

They say be careful for pick pockets in this part of the city, and don't get me wrong always be careful, but we didn't have any problems or feel uneasy walking around. Here is one of the main promenades of the city. Starting at the plaza de catalunya and ending at the Columbus monument on the port. It's a great walk shaded by tons of trees, however, I would avoid the vendors here as they are expensive.

SAGRADA FAMILÍA

This huge cathedral is a must see in Barcelona. Really the pride and joy of the artist Gaudí. It has been under construction for over 200 years and still not finished. Take a walk around the Sagrada Familia to take in the details from all sides. 

On the northeast side of the cathedral there is a park called Plaça de Gaudí, which is a great place to snap some photos of the Sagrada Familia and play some pétanque with some old locals.

PARK GÜELL

If you are into hiking or don't mind a bit of a walk then this is a good place to get good views of the city and also some exercise. At the bottom of Park Güell is the Gaudí experience, essentially a museum showcasing the many talents of Gaudí. Around the museum is a famous nature walk and park also featuring some of gaudí's architecture. 

LA BOQUERIA 

Do you like wandering around markets? Then the Boqueria is for you. I always say can tell the prosperity of a community based on its market. If this is the case then Barcelona is rich for sure. Inside the Boqueria you will find all sorts of vendors selling their products. Meat vendors display their delicious jamon serrano. While the chocolate vendor shows off a colorful display of truffles and other confectionery. 

We went inside and were instantly enticed by the offerings, so we picked up a few empanadas and zumos (juice) as a snack. 

ARCO DE TRIUNFO 

Off of the Plaça de Tetuan and down the Passeig de Sant Joan is found the Arco de Triunfo. Every major city in the world seems to have one, and its always fun to walk underneath the arc and feel triumphant. Barcelona's is a bit different as the color is more red and the architecture is a neo-mudéjar style based on the moorish architecture brought to Spain by the moors themselves.

PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA 

Somewhat of a gem to find in the city. As you walk under the Arco de Triunfo the path will lead you right into the park. As we wandered around the park we found an awesome fountain called the Cascada Monument. This was a great place to take some pics, people watch, and just relax. This was not something we saw anything about before we came to Barcelona, so it was a cool treat for us to find as we were just walking around. 



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