Barcelona, or maybe you can call it Gaudí capital? It is a beautiful city and it is a little different from other cities I have ever visited. Yes, this is where the Gaudí capital comes into the picture. As you might know Gaudí was an architect and he did not like normal squares or "straight lines" and all his buildings / creations shows an impact of this. It is absolutely beautiful.
We went to Barcelona on a family holiday because my mother had just turned 60 and this was her present from us "kids". We arrived (all from different places and flights) on a Thursday evening so that day was more or less gone. We just sat at a bar/restaurant outside our hotel and planned what to see and do over the next few days. We stayed at Astoria Hotel and it was very good. 4 stars, clean, central, nice staff and the price wasn't too bad either.
The following day we went on a sightseeing bus to see some of the city and get an overview. We went on the normal hop on hop off bus but we only bought a one day ticket, you might want to get at least two days because there is a lot to see, Barcelona is a big city.
There were several things we wanted to see, but we started with picking out what we felt were the best to see first, a very good idea if I might say so. Again our sites was very Gaudí inspired and we started with Sagrada Família, one of the most famous sites in Barcelona.
The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família was drawn by Gaudí and the building of it started in 1882/1883. It is still not finished today, but they are still working on it, even though it was at a stand still due to the economic problems in the country during the financial crises period.
We decided not to go in as the cue was massive and we did not want to waist any time by standing there for several hours. You can see the beautiful building from the outside as well.
We got back on the bus and our next stop was Park Güell (Park Gaudí). Getting off the sightseeing bus you have to walk for about 10 minutes up a little steep hill, but once you get up there get ready to see some of the most beautiful architecture and buildings you have ever seen. You can easily spend several hours just walking around. And you can get some great pictures.
After we were finished there it was time to get back to the hotel and change for the evening. Well, we were going to stay on the bus so we could drive by Estadi del Futbol Club Barcelona or Camp Nou as it is called. This is Europe's biggest football stadium so we just had to see it.
Later that evening we were going for dinner and as I have become very fond of using Trip Advisor for where to go, we found a great restaurant through their app. It had a good rating and it was very cheap, and the food and service was great! It was called El Callejón.
We couldn't decide what dishes to get (we wanted the tapas) so we just ordered the whole tapas menu. We were 6 people so it was perfect with food for all of us. Some of the dishes we ordered double as they were very small. This was just an amazing place and I would so go back there again. And it was so cheap, I still can't believe that you can get so much great food, wine and service for that price. Just go there and you will see for yourself.
After dinner we had a little walk and a night cap in the neighborhood.
The next day, Saturday, we had made some great arrangements for dinner as we were celebrating my mothers 60th birthday. So during the day we wanted to go shopping. My dads and husbands favorite thing to do ;) My brother in law doesn't mind shopping and he has great taste and style so he knows how this shopping thing works ;) But first, breakfast! It is so many places to choose from so you can just walk around and pop into any place you fancy.
So, shopping! There are so many shopping places in Barcelona, but we went to Placa De Catalunya where you have the whole tourist trap places. We wanted to go there as it is a very popular place for tourists and we kind of had to see it.
There is a reason why we went to these two shops, it had a bar/restaurant across the street!
After that we just had to get back to the hotel, relax a bit and then get ready for our big night out! The restaurant we were going to is called Arola and it is rated as one of Barcelona's best restaurants.
This is also a tapas place and it is located in the fashionable Hotel Arts.
Very nice place and they had their own little herb yard outside where they got all their fresh herbs from every day. So what they did at this place was that you chose the dishes you wanted and then they brought you the cold tapas first and the warm tapas after that. The only thing we didn't like very much was that even though they had a great selection of wine the sommilier (wine waiter) did not know what wine they had or didn't have, and they served the wine wrong. It sounds weird saying it like that, but in a restaurant that is suppose to be fancy, this is stuff that you will notice. The restaurant sets the standards, not the guests. But it wasn't bad now, the food was very good and very different from other tapas dishes that you can get at any tapas restaurant.
But just look at the food, it looks great! Very well presented, I just wish they served us all the wine from our bottle whiles we were eating and not give us the rest of the bottle when we had asked for the bill (it was a full glass for all 6 people). Anyway, it was nice and we had a great time. Now it was time to get a nightcap somewhere, but first a little walk around the harbor.
My sister had gotten a tip from one of her friends of where we should go, and it was called Pipa Club. Now this place is a bit different! First of all, it is located on a square that is packed with people all the time. However, seeing Pipa Club is not that easy. It is located inside one of the buildings surrounding the square and it has no signs or anything that indicates where it is. It looks like this.
Yes, ring the door bell and they will let you in. We were there early so the door was closed and then it is even harder to find the place. We knew though and we were prepared to walk into something that looked like someones apartment. Later that evening the door was open, but still no signs, you need to know where to go.
It is a great place! And when we arrived there was hardly any people there, but by the time we left, the place was full of people. If you're ever in Barcelona, find this place.
My parents went home after this, but us "kids" stayed out for one more drink. This time, great beer!
Last one is not from Brooklyn Brewery but it is a Punk IPA, which is one of my favorite beers.
The next day we just had to see the beach. How many huge cities in the world have that! As the beach was a little bit away from our hotel we used the underground. That was so easy and i was amazed how clean the underground in Barcelona is, it looks rather nice! So conclusion, underground is definitely and easy and comfortable was of getting around in the city.
We I got back to the hotel it was still sunny and nice so I went up on the rooftop to the little sundeck and pool that was up there and laid out in the sun for a little while, and also got some pictures off course.
That evening we went for dinner at a Belgium restaurant, located in the Gothic Quarter, actually it is just opposite El Callejon, and it is called Gilda. this one is also ranked very good at Trip Advisor and I must say that everything I read about this place was right
We had some really nice food at this place and we all were very pleased with the whole trip. I will definitely go back to Barcelona at some stage, and I will also go to both these restaurants again, highly recommended. For my next visit to Barcelona I am going to see more of the sights and I will try to be there for more than 4-5 days, you really need to spend a week there to see and do everything.