Sunday, April 17, 2011

City Guide-Barcelona

I've spent a lot of time in Europe. We've travelled and seen a lot of places and Barcelona is one of my favorites. More than anything, it was the atmosphere and general feel of the place. It was busy, but casual. The people there in Barcelona were very friendly and although I do speak Spanish, I got the feeling that there was a lot of English speaking especially in the tourist areas. The accommodations vary with anything from the more lavish hotels to the cheap hotels in Barcelona. The quality may vary as well. Hopefully if you are staying in this beautiful city, you are only spending a little bit of time in the hotel.

There are plenty of sites to see including famous architecturally significant buildings designed by Gaudi. In fact, once you see these in person, you realize how this name became synonymous with loud, someone colorful and some extreme designs. The Sagrada Familia is one of the cathedrals by Gaudi that are still being worked on today. There are a lot of other designs throughout the city and there are few opportunities to not recognize these works when you see them.

The Olympic Games took place in Barcelona in 1992 and although the complex isn't used as much as it was during the games, there is a distinct feeling of awe when walking around the grounds. There is some magnificent statues that symbolize the spirit of competition. The complex can be confusing to get to, but if you approach it from the lower museum, plan on a good fifteen minute walk.

In the same general area as the Olympic complex, there is a hill that has a fortress at the summit. This fortress overlooks the city and also the bay where cruise ships come and go every day along with countless container ships. This is a very busy port and if you wanted to, you could watch the ships come and go all day long.

I was only able to stay in Barcelona for one day, but the city sold me on its charms just as quickly. I loved the open markets, especially the fresh fruit markets, and the Spanish cuisine is exceptional. Life here would be worth it and if you're fortunate enough to make it here for a trip, plan ahead and leave some time to just soak in the culture and the relatively relaxing feel of a great European city. In the event you're booking a hotel, you can find some cheap hotels in Barcelona that may allow you to save your budget for some great activities.