A quick 1 Hour 15 minute early morning flight from Madrid brought us to Barcelona right in time for breakfast. We took a train from the airport to the city, which was surprisingly free of cost. I am not sure if that is the case always but maybe it was just because it was Christmas. We reached the station and walked to our hotel (Oasis Barcelona Hotel). Our hotel was at a very convenient location, very close to the railway station (Estació de França) as well as the beach! Wasting no time, we quickly checked in and were out on the streets; ready to explore the city. Unlike Madrid, for Barcelona we had roughly planned which city attractions to visit and at what time.
The first one on our list was Park Guell, one of the works of Antoni Gaudi. The park was actually quite a walk from the nearest metro station. We got down at Vallcarca metro station and started walking towards the park. An uphill walk on a bright sunny day, Perfect! We reached the park and were amazed by the architecture at the entrance. Gaudi had a unique style of architecture, which sets each of his works miles apart from the conventional designs. One of the best part of visiting this park is its location. The location is such that it provides a panoramic view of Barcelona, which itself is a sight to behold. We spent about an hour roaming in the park admiring the beauty and walked back to the metro station.
Our next destination was La Rambla, a popular street in central Barcelona. The street was jam packed with street performers and tourists. We walked the entire stretch towards the harbour and in between stopped for a late lunch at Maoz. Maoz, I can say is a decent place to eat if you are a vegetarian. As we reached towards the end of the street, the sun was beginning to go down. We then walked back to the nearest metro station to catch a train to Sagrada Familia. If “Witnessing Northern Lights” and “Visiting Stonehenge” were my first and second dreams. The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família or more commonly known as Sagrada Familia was my third dream destination.
I have no words to describe the feeling I had when I saw the massive and intricately beautiful building for the first time. Since it was already sunset, the Church was lit up with flood lights. The facade was lit up in white light, which was making it look as if the entire building is made of bones! We had reached just in time for the Christmas prayers and were allowed to go inside the church. There were not many people inside the church and I consider myself truly blessed having attended a prayer ceremony inside the most celebrated church on Christmas Day! It was a wonderful experience indeed, which had made our trip to Spain more worthwhile. A salute to Antoni Gaudi for coming up with this impressive piece of work. We left the Church and started walking towards another impressive building, Torre Agbar. I wanted to capture the amazing night view of this building from close. We then turned towards our hotel and on the way explored some other attractions like the National Theatre and Arc de Triomf.
When in Barcelona, go see the sunrise. This is my personal recommendation! One of the reasons, I chose a hotel close to the beach was to witness the sunrise. Early next morning, I woke up well before the sunrise and walked to the beach. I chose a location, set-up my camera and waited. I had never seen sunrise at a beach before so it was quite exciting. Thanks to a clear sky with no clouds or mist, I got some spectacular views of the rising sun! A perfect way to begin my day. We only had until evening to explore the rest of this beautiful city before heading back to Copenhagen. Our first stop was Sagrada Familia, Yes! again. Having seeing it in the night, how could I miss the day view? 🙂 It was equally impressive in the day as well. I bought myself a souvenir from there, a 1500 piece jigsaw piece puzzle of the Sagrada Familia. It took me about 10 days to complete. Throughout the rest of the day we kept walking from one place to another. The city has a radically different architecture from what we had seen at Madrid. Checkout some of the buildings on the streets. We saw Casa Terrades, La Pedrera (another masterpiece by Gaudi) , some really old streets and Plaça de Catalunya (a large sqare in central Barcelona). Late afternoon we left for the airport by train to catch our evening flight.
The Sagrada Familia is poised for completion around the year 2026 and my dream now is to visit it once again on its completion day!