After my less-than-awesome introduction to Barcelona, I felt we should try again. Seeing as how we got off on the wrong foot, I allowed that perhaps Barcelona was just in a bad mood that day, and perhaps I was as well, so we both shook hands, put on our best behavior, and spent some quality time together.
A good thing, too. One can (and should) spend a lot of time exploring Barcelona. I started at the obvious place: the beach:
The beach scene is lovely, though it doesn’t really hold up well if compared to Playa Del Carmen (but what will, really?). There is a large and active beachfront with lots of restaurants and shops. There’s even a mall which sells all manner of things. For example, maybe you need to get new hair?
Also, in this mall there is a for-pay restroom, which is pretty much the nicest example of one that I’ve ever seen. There’s a maid in there to direct you on which room to use, and you can use your receipt for 10% off something you purchase as a keepsake from their store. Yep, a bathroom with a store.
However, back to the beach! They are busy constructing a large sandcastle of sorts. I’ve been back here a number of times, and each day they make steady progress against it. There are intricate details carved in, and it’s all made from the sand on the beach.
Walking around more, you get lovely views of the downtown port area.
And there are lots of cool buildings, both historic and modern.
I wanted to see a really good view of the town, so I and a few guys from the hostel decided to take the cable cars off of Montjuic, and while we were there we might as well see the castle too. To get there, we had to walk through all manner of cool parks and buildings, including the old Olympic stadium:
Once up in the cable car that takes you to the castle, you get a good view of how sprawling Barcelona is.
The castle itself is pretty fantastic. Reading up on it, you run into some very enlightening facts, such as this description from one of the tourist sites for Barcelona:
It was primarily used to repress the people during two centuries. Repression of the anarchists in the XIX century and prison for the political prisoners under Franco. In 1940 Lluis Companys was executed here.
So that’s fun. Nowadays is seems to primarily be housing for many large cannons.
Eventually we’d seen all we wanted to of castles and guns. So, you can wander down the mountain to a second cable car that will take you over the city and down to the port / beach area.
So, say you enjoy all the cable cars, but you want to really see the city at the ground level. No worries, biking is EXCELLENT in Barcelona, and there are bikes everywhere.
That rack is for residents though. You need some form of electronic card, then you just take a bike from this station and (presumably) leave it at whatever station you are biking to. Since we don’t have these mythical cards, We opted to rent bikes from one of the many tourist bike rentals. Note: these bikes are not messing around. They are basically the 2-wheeled equivalent of a Sherman Tank. If you get hit by a car riding one of these orange behemoths, the car will be destroyed.
Alternatively, you may want to visit many places that would be awkward by bike, such as places with many (many) steps. Barcelona is also excellent for meanderers.
Also, there are many art museums worth checking out. One deserving of a special callout is The National Art Museum of Catalonia, housed in a giant freaking Palace.
In addition to all the marvelous sights, you will run into a few questionable ones. For example, this item found in a back alley of the major shopping district called “Las Ramblas”:
Regardless, at the end of the day, it’s best to unwind with a little sip o’ the local:
One last thing to leave you with: the Sagrada Familia deserves it’s own post. A quick peek though: