Happy New Year, Barcelona!
Updated: Apr 30
I left Tarragona in the afternoon to get to my next destination: Barcelona. The train trip is not so long and as it goes along the cost the landscapes offers you a great view.
Getting of at Passieg de Gracia and reaching the “outside world” I’m welcomed by Gaudi’s art. As I walk along the street towards my destination, I enjoy the colour show the buildings offer on the blue sky background.
For my night walk I went to Parc Guell which can be visited for free after the sunset until 11 PM (the lower area with Gaudi’s work). The park itself is one of the largest green spaces in Barcelona, occupying more than 19 hectares and it is situated next to Sierra de Collserola. It might have been dark but also the site was under renovation so I decided not to visit it the next day (buying a ticket) but rather explore the other parts of the park.
The other areas have as well influences of Gaudi’s work with columns and aqueducts, stairs and forest landscapes, with little houses here and there. As you climb the paths you can often see street vendors.
I’ve reached El Mirador Joan Sales that overlooks a part of the city through its green “soldiers”. It is impossible not to see from here The Sagrada Familia’s towers as the tall buildings reach the sky.
I continued my path with great ambition to reach another peak, in the neighbourhood of Els Canons where el Turo de la Rovira is, an old bunker settlement at 262 m above the sea level. The place had an important role during the Spanish Civil War. Created in 1937 it is now used as a view point overlooking at the city. Even so, the park offers to bike and trekking lovers very good routes.
The previous time I was in Barcelona around Sagrada Familia was 2010. I have to say it was not as I was remembering it. The city is full of tourists for the New Year so my chances to grab a ticket to visit it were 0 so for this I should come back in a perhaps calmer period. I walked around it though and discovered parts of it I wasn’t remembering at all.
One of the most amazing nights I had with people I didn’t know was on 30th December. We gathered at the house of a Nepalese, invited my Italian friend Giada, together with a French, a Tunisian, a Spanish, an Albanian and a Peruvian. Do not ask me how we ended up with this combination but what is certain is the fun we had talking and laughing together like good old friends. The atmosphere, the people, the food – everything was delightful.
The next day was for going to the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Cascada del Parc de la Ciutadella. The main entrance is done through the Arco de Triunfo. A wide green spot in the middle of the city offers you the chance for long, quiet walks, picnic or rowing a boat on the lake. It’s the location of the Catalan Parliament, the zoo, The Museu de Geologia and the Museu d’Art Modern.
Designed by Josep together with the young Antoni Gaudi for the hydraulic part, the waterfall section is surrounded by winged dragons, a figure quite commonly known for his work. The sculptures bring together different stories, mystical and mythical creatures.
I started walking through the Gothic neighbourhood discovering the old soul of Barcelona: the cathedral, passages, Jewish influences, Picasso and Gaudi’s works, La Boqueria one of the oldest markets in Europe and many more. Pubs, cafes and restaurants are as well present everywhere.
And here we are on the New Year’s Eve. I spent the night with a bunch of Italians, friends of Giada’s host. Lots of food involved, chatting and dancing all night long. Now the only tradition of Spanish/Italian New Year I got to see was eating 12 pieces of grapes for every last second of the year, 1 for each following month, with the obvious hugs and wishes after.
After a delayed breakfast which was pretty much lunch, we headed to the last part of the current Barcelona’s plans: Castell de Montjuic. We took the bus up to the castle as it was shorter time. I have to say the place was rather disappointing as it was not open to visit and what was visible on the outside were rather walls. The sea view was to the harbour and to the industrial part of it. Finishing quite fast this part, we started descending going through the forest. This path was better as offered us a calm, relaxing walk. In this area you can also find the botanical garden and the Olympic Complex.
Getting closer to or initial point we stumbled upon the Archaeology Museum of Catalunya and returning to the Font Magica de Montjuic we went for lunch. The road further is about to begin.
It was not my first time in Barcelona and same as with Valencia, every time I have some time to spend here, I chose to go to different places and explore more areas. I spent some days here so I had plenty of time to try a bit of everything. I still have many things to do here.
Off to Girona now!