Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi
Even though I was in Barcelona four nights for a two-day conference, I got to see the city like a tourist only on my last day there. Conferences tend to be morning to late-night events, leaving little time for sightseeing. Which I why I now tack on a extra day.
I had been to the Spanish city once before, and so I know that the only way to visit the place is with your significant other. Touring it as a single is not recommended. The reason: the ramblas. These are the broad walkways that go through parts of the city and along the Mediterranean Sea. They are like freeways for people to ramble along. In the late afternoon and evening, thousands of Barceloneans take to the ramblas. To do this appropriately, you need your sweetheart on your arm.
My wife wanted to see Gaudi; I wanted to show her the ramblas. We did both.
In the morning and afternoon, we saw the famously incompleted Sagrada Família cathedral, Park Güell park, and Casa Batlló -- some of the buildings and facilities design by architect Antonio Gaudi.
In the late afternoon and evening, we went rambling.
Outdoor cafe next to Boqueria Market
Barcelona Travel Tips
- Take the subway. It runs every three minutes, and has excellent consistent signage in every station, as well as red dots inside the cars that light up the past and next stations. Get the 10-ride ticket, which cuts the price in half (down to about $1.50 a trip). Keep the ticket from getting wet, otherwise it will jam the ticket reader -- as happened to me.
- Buy the $30 tickets for the Sacra Familia online, so that you don't have to stand in the lineup that stretches for two blocks. You'll can pick a 15-minute window in which to enter the cathedral. Get the audio guide, so that you can better understand the architect's intentions. The price includes the massive underground museum of models made by Gaudi and today's architects. We spent three hours there.
- Use the subway to go between sights. Barcelona is warm and hilly, and so 1.5-mile walks become unhappy chores.