Over the weekend, we took a trip to Barcelona to finally get some beach time that we desired so much since arriving in Spain. We took a Renfe Ave train to Barcelona and booked a hostel in the center of the city. We had expected Barcelona to be similar to Madrid in many ways, but we were in for a surprise. The primary language in Barcelona is Catalan, which is a mix of Spanish and French. For example, “Exit” in French is “Sortie”, and “Exit” in Spanish is “Salida”, and many of the signs in Barcelona labelled “Exit” as “Sortida”.
It was confusing at first to understand signs, but we also discovered that Barcelona is a much larger tourist city than Madrid. Nearly everyone spoke english, and many people were from around Europe or were from the United States. Needless to say, we lost some language skills during our stay.
After we arrived at the hostel, which was much nicer than the one we stayed in Seville, we trekked over to the beach and soaked in the sun for about 4 hours. The water was freezing, but I can officially say I’ve swum in the Mediterranean.
Barcelona is also home to many of Gaudi’s work. Antoni Gaudi was a Spanish Architect who admired architecture, nature, and religion. His notable work includes “Park Guell” and “La Sagrada Familia”, both of which we witnessed during our stay. His architecture is unlike any other I’ve seen across Europe. His most notable architecture “La Sagrada Familia” is unlike many cathedrals in the sense that it derives its influence from nature and geometry. Although unfinished, the cathedral is mesmerizing once inside. From the stain glass windows to the modern depictions of Christ, the cathedral has a unique appeal.
The park was just as impressive. Positioned on a hill north of the city, it is covered in ceramic tiles with beautiful colors and magnificent scenery. I definitely recommend Barcelona to anyone who plans on visiting Europe.
On Sunday, we headed back to Madrid for the Madrid game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.