Regarding our accommodations, we are happy to say that Barcelona was the only place we paid to stay – 3 nights of the whole trip! I’ll tell a little more about where we stayed below.
In Barcelona, we hit the major Gaudí sites, like Parc Guëll, Casa Milá, and La Sagrada Família. Gaudí had quite the vision – I think La Sagrada Família is a little shocking the first time you see it. It’s hard to imagine how huge it is! It’s been under construction since 1882, and we’ll be lucky if it’s finished in our lifetimes.
The next day, we hit Las Ramblas, the “main street” in Barcelona. There are tons and tons of living statues interspersed among tourist kiosks, bird vendors, cafes, and flower vendors. It is a very lively street! Perhaps the most wonderful part of Las Ramblas (and let’s be honest, it’s not all wonderful) is La Boqueria. It’s a vibrant, bustling, grocery-type market just off of Las Ramblas. It seems you can find anything there, from exotic fruit, to sheep’s head at the meat counter, to cheeses you can’t pronounce. It really is amazing, and we would give anything to have it here!
Later, we went down by the ocean and strolled around a bit. We made the (possibly poor) choice to skip the Picasso museum because I wanted to go to…the Chocolate Museum! It shows the history of chocolate, along with some chocolate sculptures (see some pictures on our photo site). I enjoyed it, but I’m sure how into it Joel was.
And finally…the main event. My friend Hitoshi at work informed me about a super huge soccer game that was to take place while we were there. I didn’t really understand the magnitude of this until we were there. The game was essentially the European championship for club teams, which I surmise must be very important in Barcelona considering their Catalan identity. Anyway, Barcelona played Manchester United in Rome, and Barca won with no problem. We went to watch part of the game in the main square, and it wasn’t as wild as we expected. Apparently all the wild folks were in the bars, and they came out in full force afterward!
As we walked to our hotel, the scene became progressively louder and crazier. Car horns, air horns, fireworks, yelling, drums, sirens, etc. Peta satelit dunia . Our hotel room faced one of the main city thoroughfares, through which thousands and thousands of Barcelonans paraded. This was fun for a while, until it was 2am with no sign of anything stopping. We found out later that riots erupted, many people were arrested and/or injured, and some even required hospitalization. It was quite an experience…one that could not be created in many cultures. Leave it to the Spaniards…oops, I mean the Catalans!
See a video of the post-football craziness here. Disclaimer – we did not see anything this bad. I think it was after everyone was fully drunk, and we were safely in our hotel room, a few blocks up the street from this area.
See our pictures here.