Bon dia! Over spring break I visited Spain for the first time. Our spring break lasted from March 16 – March 19 (basically the length of fall break at Hope) so I had a short time to visit as much of the city as possible.
This was a popular travel weekend. Flight prices were getting expensive once I factored in all the attractions I wanted to see and my food budget, so I decided to take an overnight bus on Wednesday, March 15. The ride itself took over 14 hours, including breaks, but it honestly was not as bad as I expected. I ended up having two seats to myself, and there were outlets at each seat as well as Wi-Fi.
I arrived in the city early in the morning and set off walking towards the Latin Quarter where I wanted to see the Picasso Museum and the Barcelona Cathedral.
I loved the Picasso Museum (sorry, taking pictures inside was not allowed) because the collection was supplemented by descriptions of changes in the art world as well as changes in Picasso’s life. It created a better understanding of the pieces.
After walking to my hostel and getting dinner, I took public transportation (bus and metro) to the Bunkers del Caramel. These old Spanish Civil War bunkers offer some of the best views of the city. It was a little nerve-wracking; the last bus to get up to the bunkers was more like a rickety school van, speeding through the hills. But watching the sun set over Barcelona was definitely worth a little motion sickness.
I dedicated the next days to the architecture of Gaudi. I recommend buying tickets online to avoid longer lines and get a discount at major attractions such as Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell. You also get to choose the times that work best for you, so you can plan your day accordingly.
On my last day, I relaxed at one of Barcelona’s many beaches with some seafood paella before catching my flight to Paris.
If you’re able to visit Barcelona, don’t hesitate! The city is stunning and the people are welcoming. I was able to practice my (very minimal) Spanish, but I never felt judged asking to speak in English. If you learn a few phrases in Catalan before you go, you may get an even warmer welcome – I got a free pastry with my coffee for trying a few phrases.
Barcelona is an extremely walkable city, but I would suggest getting an HOLA BCN pass when you want to visit sights further from the city center such as Parc Güell, and to take the bus to the airport. You can buy passes online for 2, 3, 4 or 5 days.