For my partner’s birthday I decided I’d take him to Barcelona in the Summer. I love giving holidays as gifts, because I get to go too!
Although I live in Oslo and it’s summer there as well, I was excited to feel the heat that only 30 degrees can give you. I hadn’t realised I’d missed that feeling since I left Sydney the year before. I guess a double Winter finally got the better of me.
I know that Barcelona has a lot to offer, from food to architecture and of course, shopping! For me, my number one priority was getting in to the ocean. Ok, my first priority was actually eating my way around the city, but I’ll write about that in another post.
We headed to the beach at Barceloneta. It may not be the best beach in town, but the sun was shining, the water was warm and we found a lovely little spot in the sand to sit and relax.
Feeling refreshed, it was time to hit the streets and check out some of Gaudí’s work. Starting with the infamous and unfinished Sagrada Familia. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know too much about Gaudí, but while in Barceonla, I could quickly see the impact his work has had on the city. I love that even after his death, the passion still lives for his vision of the Sagrada Familia. The picture below shows the building still in construction in July 2013 and the works aren’t expected to be completed until 2026 – exactly 100 years after Gaudí’s death. What a mammoth project!
You could also go inside and see the museum for 14.8€, which we didn’t do on this visit.
Here you have the Casa Milà. The smooth, almost fluid lines of the building are quite different to the designs found in other cities. Gaudí really did create unique pieces of liveable art. Again, you could go inside and see the temporary exhibitions for around 18€.
Another of Gaudí’s large works was the Casa Batlló, also known as the House of Bones due to the skull-like balconies and other skeletal design features. It always amazes me that a wealthy family just wanted to renovate their home and thought, hey, why not cover the front of the building in a radical new style. I would have liked to go inside here, but the line was a bit too long and we were in need of some lunch. Tickets cost 20.35€.
The collaborative work on the facade of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia was another example of Gaudí’s imagination. I thought it was more traditional than some of his other works, but still stunning to look at.
In front of the Cathedral were a group of elderly people dancing in a circle. They were performing the Catalan national dance, the Sardana.
While wandering around the city, we also discovered that Barcelona also has an Arc de Triomf. Not to be confused with the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile in Paris, this impressive structure was built for Spain’s first international Exposition. Seems like even back then, the Government liked to build new buildings just to show off their city’s wealth and skill.
The Parc de la Ciutadella is a great open space, that apparently was the only green space in Barcelona for decades. If we had a bit more time, I would have liked to check out the zoo inside the park.
And what’s a good European city without plenty of drinking fountains!
Barcelona is a city that has something for everyone. On one hand you can loose yourself amongst the urban sprawl and endless boutiques, but on the other hand, there’s so much history and in just a few metro stops you can escape the hustle and bustle. I was pretty happy to enjoy Barcelona in the Summer and look forward to returning one day and exploring it some more.
Stay tuned for my Barcelona food discovery!