The last time Todd and I visited Barcelona, we spent less than 18 hours in the city, stayed in a crappy hostel, and decided we didn't like it. We gave it another chance, and I'm so glad we did. By the time we were done with our short visit, we were making fantasy plans to move there.
We stayed in El Raval, an up-and-coming neighborhood a few minutes from Las Ramblas. The apartment we rented had an awesome view of the street below; it made us feel like residents of the neighborhood. (Note that all of these photos were taken on my iPhone, because I got tired of carrying my camera around.)
We were tired from our early flight, so we decided to just sit for awhile and take in the scenery at Plaza Real. Our past trips have been all about go-go-go, but this time I think we really perfected the art of relaxing, watching, and soaking up the atmosphere. We may not have seen quite so many sites, but I think we enjoyed our time more and got a better sense of the city.
Everything I read about Barcelona said we had to go to La Boqueria, a massive food market that's apparently as popular with locals as tourists. It ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip. There was every kind of food imaginable, from delicate chocolates to neon-colored fresh fruit juices to seafood so fresh it was still moving. And then there were the churros y chocolate, which easily ranked as one of my top three food moments of all time.
Our feet were aching terribly from the previous day's hike, so we did something we've never done before: We purchased a bus tour. We decided on a double-decker, hop-on-hop-off option, and it allowed us to see the far-flung sites we couldn't have fit in on foot: Olympic Park (above), Gaudi's buildings, and the beach, for example. Todd may or may not have lost his ticket after eating lunch on the beach, but luckily we'd already seen most of what we wanted to see, so we just took the metro back to our apartment before heading out for more tapas and sangria (sensing a theme?) in Barri Gotic.
Barcelona, you might be the most delicious place I've ever been.