Today I got to have my first full day in Spain. It was gorgeous and I loved getting lost on the little winding cobble-stone streets but the heat was definitely no fun.
I started my day by taking the metro to Placa Catalunya, the city centre, and walking down the famous La Rambla. The mile-long street is definitely a tourist haven but it was pretty neat all the same. There were a lot of souvenir shops at the beginning. And then there were a couple pet stores. It was strange to see street vendors selling rabbits and turtles – and especially cruel seeing the animals all cramped in their cages. I just can’t imagine the clientele on that street (mainly tourists) wanting to buy a pet rabbit to take with them.
Further along down the street there are delicious fresh fruit juice vendors, florists, artists and street performers. I indulged in a mango-strawberry juice and was quite tempted to buy a painting but couldn’t justify the price.
At the end of La Rambla, you reach the Barcelona Port. As I was snapping photos, I noticed people boarding a boat. I quickly inquired about the trip, handed over my 7 euros and jumped on board! Very spontaneous but it was a nice ride. There was a cool breeze and comfy seats. The views weren’t spectacular – but the ocean was beautiful. There was one cool strip with graffiti along a wall which I really liked. I wish I had looked into something like this in Nice where the view of the coast would have been amazing!
After my boat ride, I headed back up La Rambla to try and find this fresh produce market I had read about. I got lost for a while but eventually found it. It was probably the most amazing find I’ve had so far! It’s a ginormous outdoor market (but covered, thank god) that sells fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, seafood and juices. There are a few stands with other things like spices and eggs and a few restaurants as well. I have never seen a larger variety of fruit for such an incredible price! I wish I lived in Barcelona so I could load up with lots of stuff to take home. I settled on a cup of strawberries (1.50), cup of strawberries/cantaloupe/kiwi (1.50) and a chicken patty (1.85). I might go back tomorrow just to enjoy the deliciousness again!
I wandered around on the streets parallel to La Rambla. They are very quaint and I felt like I was in a secret old city – except I’d turn around and see H&M amongst the old stone buildings. It was fun to just kind of get lost in it all. Eventually I found my way to the Picasso Museum.
I’ve always thought Picasso was a…special artist. His stuff is really cool, but it always seemed a bit juvenile to me. This museum focused on Picasso’s early works (when he lived in Barcelona and Madrid). It was cool to see the ability he had at such a young age. It was also really great to see other styles: he was awesome at more realistic portraits and landscapes as well. The guy also had a fondness for doodling naked ladies.
As the collection progressed into his later years, he started to find his signature. It got to the point where his ceramic pieces looked like something Lee could do with his eyes closed. I did enjoy the stuff he did in the early 1910s though – the perfect mix of quirky and realistic, a true testament to his talent.
I kept wandering after the museum attempting to find the Palau Musica Catalana. It’s another one of Gaudi’s works and was supposed to be nearby. I was getting pretty hot/tired at this point. I stumbled upon a big cathedral-type thing that people were taking photos of. I assumed it was what I was looking for, snapped a photo, and moved on…
…to the Arc de Triomf! Barcelona has their own version of Paris’ famous Arc. It’s a lot smaller but still pretty magnificent to look at. I took my photos, and then found you can actually sit on the legs of the Arc. So I propped myself up, cracked opened my book, and rested my tired feet.
From there I had some “fun” map-reading times (bad directions + tired feet + heat = no fun) but eventually made it to Le Sagrada Familia! It was very impressive – the metro spits you out right on the steps of Gaudi’s most famous work. I had no intention of paying to go inside but it was cool to walk around it and marvel at the unique building. It really does look like one of those drip castles you make on the beach with water and sand. Except you can’t do that with a real building – which makes the detailing that much more impressive! What wasn’t impressive? The construction. I know they’re committed to finishing Gaudi’s vision (in the next decade or so…) but it was really distracting. At least the visitors can see that their entrance fee is not being wasted!
I took the metro back to Placa Catalunya and hit up FNAC – the big bookstore. I finished “Pride and Prejudice” a few days ago and then today I finished the book I picked up at my Parisian hostel. I bought “Little Women” and “Remember Me?” (chic-lit by Sophie Kinsella). Hopefully those will last me until my flight lands on the 5th!
Then I headed down to La Fuente Magica de Montjuic! The famous fountain was pretty packed when I arrived shortly after 9. I guess everyone was psyched for the fountain show. It was pretty breathtaking and I’m really glad I made the trek over. It’s crazy what they can do with water, coloured spotlights and a moving soundtrack! I was amazed – and ate my ham sandwich with a great view. After that I dragged my tired feet home for a shower, blog update and bed!
Tomorrow I have another full day in Barcelona and then take the overnight train to Madrid! I’m not exactly sure what my plans are for tomorrow. I want to check out Parc Guell and maybe pay another visit to the food market!