While I was planning my trip to Edinburgh, at the last minute, I decided to book a trip to Barcelona. I’ve been to Spain before but unfortunately I couldn’t make Barcelona happen. I decided that this time around I would make it to Barcelona, even if that meant traveling there by myself.

This is how I spent 48 hours in Barcelona:

I arrived in Barcelona around 10:30am, and got on the Aerobus. Once I made it to my hostel I kept my luggage in their storage room until it was check-in time. I charged my phone then went to explore Barcelona.

Day one – whAT TO SEE/DO:

  • La Rambla – An open-air mall filled with: clothing, food, souvenir stores and more. When walking around La Rambla, you’ll notice different side streets you can venture off to. These streets have more stores and food for you to explore (hence why you often here the name in plural form, Las Ramblas). I shopped at a few of my favorite clothing stores in Spain (e.g. Stradivarius and Pimkie) and got souvenirs.
  • Plaça Reial – A square adjacent to La Boqueria Market. I sat on the ledge of the water fountain and: ate, enjoyed the warm weather and people watched.

Day Two – What to see/do:

  • Life of Gaudí tour – My hostel (Black Swan hostel) provided free daily walking tours. I picked the Gaudí tour over the Gothic Quarter. My guide wasn’t the greatest I’ve ever had, he was clearly drunk from a bar crawl he guided the night before. I did, however, learn some important things:
    • All of Gaudí’s work was inspired by: nature, religion, ceramics and animals. Gaudí’s father worked as a boilermaker which inspired his use of ceramics.
    • Gaudí didn’t care to get paid for any of his work, he was more invested in creating perfect architecture.
    • Solely dedicated to his work, Gaudí never had a wife or children.
    • Gaudí’s first work for Barcelona were lampposts in Plaça Reial.Casa Batlló
    • Towards the end of his life, Gaudí began working on Sagrada Familia. He moved into the church to focus on it full-time. While working on Sagrada Familia, Gaudí took a daily stroll to church for prayer, when he was hit by a tram. Gaudí was left on the street for days; he was not keeping up with his appearance at the time, so he was perceived as a beggar. Gaudí was eventually taken to a hospital, but died a few days later. His remains were buried in Sagrada Familia.
The works of Gaudí that we visited were:
  1. Palau Güell – Gaudí’s, and his families, residence in Barcelona. Gaudí stayed here until he moved into Sagrada Familia, later in his life.
  2. Casa Batlló – Also known as the “House of Bones” because of the skeletal design. A man named Josep Batlló hired Gaudí to work on the building. Casa Batlló is located on the most expensive and fashionable street in Barcelona, Passeig de Gràcia; think stores like Versace, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Armani, etc.
  3. Casa Milà – Also known as La Pedrera, this residential building is on the same street as Casa Batlló. Since people live in the residence, my guide insisted that it wasn’t worth the entrance fee to go inside. This building was the last work designed by Gaudí for the city of Barcelona. Once the building was completed, the apartments were rented out to families. These families still reside there, 4 generations later. But, my guide says an insurance company now owns the building and won’t allow the next generation to stay. After the 4th generation passes away, that will be the end of their tenure.
  4. La Sagrada Familia – Probably Gaudí’s most famous work. This church has been under-construction for more than a century (since 1882) and projected to finish in 2030. Barcelona has continued to work on the church thanks in part to tourism and donations. There are three facades for the church that are being completed in sequence. The Nativity, Passion and Glory Façade.
  5. Park Güell – A park built by Gaudí. You may want to book your ticket in advance to enter this park. While most of the park is free, you’d have to pay for the picturesque parts.

Where to eat/drink:

  • 100 Montaditos Urquinaona – A 5 minute walk from my hostel. You have the option of sitting outside, or inside and can order small sandwiches, fries, sangria and more.
  • La Boqueria Market – Also known as Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. La Boqueria Market is right off of La Rambla and offers a diverse range of goods. The market reminded me of Torvehallerne, Mercado de San Miguel and Faneuil Hall in my home city. The only difference is that La Boqueria Market isn’t enclosed like the other 3 markets I listed. There’s vendors everywhere you turn selling: fruit, seafood, meat, smoothies, nuts, candy, cheese and more. This place is perfect if you can’t commit to a single dish, or if you need fresh food to cook for a meal.


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