Saturday, March 25, 2017

Barcelona and Beyond - Spain (Part 2)

I am excited about my trip to Barcelona since my friends have been recommending the city for me. As there are a lot of places that I was recommended to visit, I decided to stay in this city for three days, starting from the time I arrive at 22.00 on my train ride from Madrid. I decided to stay at St. Christopher’s Inn Barcelona — the same hostel franchise that I also had in Paris — since I find the location pretty strategic and that I am familiar with their facilities. Good thing they also have a bed available since I booked the hostel once I was in Madrid. So after arriving at Barcelona Sants station, I bought an R-train ticket from the station to my hostel stop in Placa de Catalunya. I took the R2 train to Passeig de Grácia. I decided to go to bed right after getting a key to my room that I shared with 7 other girls and starts dozing off without even turning my alarm on.

 I woke up pretty late after dozing off on my top bunk that I almost missed breakfast time. I finally took off from my hostel at 11 a.m. and went down to the metro station. I bought a two-day Hola! BCN pass to Barcelona’s public transportation that is priced at EUR 14 and then took a ride to one of the biggest building by one of the most prominent architects in the world: to Antonio Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia through Metro L2 from Universitas to Sagrada Familia. 

I was amazed from the time I get off the metro station and saw La Sagrada Familia standing tall under the bright sunny sky. There is a great considerable crowd but it does not take away the grandeur of the towering building. Even from the outside, you can see the intricate details of the building and how every side has its own unique charms. To enter the building you can get your ticket here with the entrance ticket priced at EUR15 and up for the tour. Check for detailed prices here, but it is encouraged to make an online reservation. Or if you’re like me, you can just observe the building exterior from the outside and take a look at the souvenir shops right behind the building — got myself a bunch of magnets for EUR 1 each. I continued the day to look at another Gaudi creation, which is the Casa Batllo. Again I took Metro L2 and took off at the Passeig de Gràcia stop. 

The Casa Batllo is a bit harder to find, it is placed wall to wall between other buildings (most of which are shops) and is notifiable only from its unique forefront display. The building used to be a house until it is renovated by Antonio Gaudi that now is open for tours. This attraction is not as crowded as La Sagrada Familia was and so you can get a better look at Gaudi creation here. Tickets for an adult is priced at EUR 20. Click here for the complete price.

After walking a few blocks I decide to go to Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, a famous open market that spreads around the La Rambla. Unfortunately, I was there on a Sunday, which is the day the market closes. Frustrated, I asked the tourism office for a recommendation of a thing to do. A very kind staff recommend me to walk through the passageway of the market and to walk around La Rambla, the famous Barcelona shopping street that connects to Plaça de Catalunya instead. Although many shops are closed since it was a Sunday and that I arrive during the siesta time slot, at least I found two pairs of espadrilles as souvenirs. There’s also an open Christmas market held in an open space nearby a church there. I almost bought half a kilo of honeycomb but I remember that I have to bring it on a plane and I don’t want to take a risk. 

I end up spending the rest of the day strolling around La Rambla. Once it got dark, I get back to the top of the bunk bed and spend the night watching Korean variety shows. I deserve the rest, I told myself. To more adventures tomorrow!