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willow Barcelona - A travel report by willow
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Barcelona,  Spain - flag Spain
9700 readers

willow's travel reports

One of the most beautiful cities in the world

  15 votes

Barcelona is an art nouveau city. When I first arrived I was exhausted from 6 months of 15-20 hour work days of saving for my escape from the US for school and life in Spain. I walked down the streets in a daze...looking up at the architecture as one who had never seen the sky. The art nouveau era was a rebellion against the ugliness of an industrial age. Balconies held up by swirls of flowers, buildings that tell mythical stories (Casa Battlo- St. George & the Dragon), have ice-cream cones on top, beauty for the sake of beauty... This is Barcelona. A place where life is more important than work, or making a name for oneself. A place to find oneself and to remember that joy is the thing. Gaudi is a major influence and you can find many of his works in and around BCN. Parc Guell which overlooks BCN is a park filled with fantastical and colorful forms, has been described as what happens when a dream comes to life. The open-to-the-sky Sagrada Familia alone is worth the trip

Favourite spots:
Las Ramblas, a mile-long pedestrian paved old riverbed has street performers and so much more. One can find newspapers, caged animals, flowers and portrait painters all the way down from Pl. Catalunya to the Columbus statue facing the sea.

In nearby Gotico is a wealth of museums, bars and shopping. You can see the old Roman walls, trip through the Picasso museum and breathe BCN.

Personally I prefer Gracia (the barrio above diagonal, up Pg. de Gracia then Gran de Gracia). In Gracia are very cool clubs, bars and tapas. There is little english spoken, but they don't mind if you don't. Try what you know and they will be kind. The price of a beer in Gotico is about 5 euros whereas in Gracia it's 1-2 euros. Gracia is also the most beautful place to spend a Sunday afternoon watching the children play in Placa del Sol, dogs out for a romp and the gypsies playing their flutes for tips.

What's really great:
Placa del Sol hosts a generational blend that's perfect after a pizza at La Govina (the Angel Bar) around the corner. Make sure you also pass by Casa Quimet (the Guitar Bar) where 200 guitars hanging from the ceiling have many a time given rise to jam sessions. Barcelona is a place for love like no other...love for a place, a life. It's grand to visit but grander to live. Half an hour train ride from the Pl. Catalunya is Sitges, a beautiful old beach town. It's the place where lots of Catalans go to get away from the city. BCN's own beaches are lovely and you can take a ride up Monjuic when you tire of the fun in the sun. At Monjuic are beautiful gardens and you can leisurely walk you way back to the city. Cab rides in BCN are cheap. Rarely over 5 Euros in town, so feel free to explore and cab it home!

Sights:
Barcelona in general, Las Ramblas and Gotico in particular with all of their museums, enticing stops, Roman empire leftovers and more..

Then Gaudi especially:

Sagrada Familia, (1883-1926) , Plaça de la Sagrada Familia The unfinished cathedral. They're still building this from Gaudi's designs.

Casa Vincens (1883-1888) , Carrer de les Carolines 18-24 This is a surprise in the neighborhood if you're just strolling. It was made for the owner of a tile factory and made great use of tiles!

Casa Calvet (1898-1900) , Carrer de Casp

Casa Batllo (1904-1906) , Passeig de Gracia 43
This building tells the story of St. George (the patron saint of Catalunya) and the dragon. It's my personal favorite.

Casa Mila (1906-1910) , Passeig de Gràcia 92 ..30 years ago this was too weird and they couldn't GIVE space away inside this building. Now it's a popular tourist destination and affectionately known as the building with ice-cream cones on the roof.





Accommodations:
A good place to find rooms is http://www.loquo.com/english/sl/3 There is a large variety of price, location and some with pics.
For those with a fantastic budget, the Hotel Majestic on Paseo de Gracia is without compare. A friend stayed there and we spent some happy afternoons in the rooftop pool, or just gazing over BCN with a bottle of wine.

Nightlife:
A good guide to the neigborhood places is
http://www.all-barcelona-guide.com/en/nightlife/

The following are places that I've been, or friends have gone and I remember. (there was a lot of drinking so BCN is more of an impressionist city to me despite 6 months of living there)

Salsitas C/Nou de la Rambla, 22 is a popular destination.

Moog C/ Arc del teatre, 3 is great for techno lovers

Bel.luna Jazz Club Restaurante- RAMBLA CATALUNYA, 5

There's so many...I usually either wandered down by the waterfront, where there are great dance clubs, or around Placa del Sol in Gracia.


Hangouts:
When I think pubs- I think Irish, so here's the list of Irish pubs as I can remember them (and find the addresses). English IS spoken in these. Drinks and food are more expensive cause, well...you can order in English.

KITTY O'SHEA'S C/NAU SANTA MARIA 5-7

THE MICHEAL COLLINS
PLACA SAGRADA FAMILIA,4
00 34 934591964

The Quiet Man
Marquès de Barberà, 11,
34-934121219
Cross St: Ramblas










Restaurants:
Bar Tomas
Major de Sarrià 49 - a local dive in a charming neighborhood where the king has been seen and well known musicians have been known to have impromptu jam sessions. You'd never guess to look at it, but not to be missed (very cheap too)

Tapas Tapas
Passeig de Gracia 2-4 blocks above Pl. Catalunya on the Rt hand side has a nice tapas spread and you can sit outside
Very convenient after a day of shopping in Gotico

My favorite places are 1: a Chinese place called Molina on Guillem Tell en Gracia. They have a wonderful and filling lunch menu. The staff is dear. Best Chinese in BCN!

and 2: La Caravan , on Corsega between 356 and 376 Jack speaks English and makes the BEST shwarma around if you ask for it like he makes it for himself!! (sigh. I miss Jack!)


Other recommendations:
Parc Guell, 1900-1914) An interesting concoction of gardens and multi-dimensional architectonic forms which seem to be born of the ground. Gaudí took his inspiration from nature and created a world that is somewhat Lewis Carol-esque.

Published on Saturday January 10th, 2004


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Thu, May 06 2010 - 04:19 AM rating by compvend

yes i agree Barcelona is a great city, i went for holiday and still have some great souvenir but also bad one because someone stole my wallet (i think on metro at plaza catalunya), hopefully my passport was safe. Great fun in the city but be careful on tourist place like la rambla. I found great recommendation on http://www.world-rt.com a site from a local guy talking about Barcelona, very useful to plan my holiday

Mon, Oct 02 2006 - 06:26 PM rating by mrscanada

I love the buildings that look like candles dripping. Barcelona is the only place I've seen them.

Tue, Aug 01 2006 - 07:59 PM rating by hrle

iiiHola amigo!!!
Everything is just like you told us your in report. I have been in Barcelona for a few days and now I am still full of imprecions! I am practicly in love in Spain, and I know spanish language too!!! You are so lucky that you lived in Barca! My major dream is to live in Spain and to visit every corner of this beautiful country! I am hoping that legend of the Font de Canaletes is true and that I am really going to visit Barca again! :)))

Sun, Apr 30 2006 - 10:14 AM rating by jorgesanchez

Thanks for this beautiful report

Thu, May 13 2004 - 07:53 AM rating by beograd

Great article! I love it!

Tue, Jan 13 2004 - 12:05 PM rating by whereisliz

Magnificent, a wonderful report on a great city! Unfortunately, it should probably also be mentioned that pickpockets are a major problem here, especially on the Ramblas and in the subways/stations--be wary!

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