25 August, 2010

Hola Barcelona!

Things I did in Barcelona:

Took Barcelona Hop-On-Hop Off Tour. 

Barcelona has so many interesting attractions, so as a first-timer in the city I had so many places to go and so little time. Hop-On Hop Off Bus Tours was seemed a great option, and it was, really. Very convenient for sightseeing.

Walking down Placa Reial, Gothic Quarter & Pablo Picasso Museum:

Spent the rest of my first morning stopping by Barcelona's Maritime Museum which is in the different part of the city. Then later in the afternoon I went to Placa Reial through Placa del Rei, then turned around to take picture of Arc de Triomf, afterward visiting The Castle of the Three Dragons before walking down to Barcelona's Gothic Quarter. Passing by was actually more correct. Passing by Barcelona's Gothic Quarter all the way into small alleys to Pablo Picasso Museum.

Pablo Picasso Museum located in a small alley, only fit for one car to pass by. Unlike other museums I have visited in Europe that mostly super huge, Pablo Picasso Museum felt nice and homey. Love it.

Explored Important Streets Connected to Plaza de Catalunya:

The round large square (as also the meaning of Catalunya) is the meeting point of Barcelona's main streets like Passeig de Gracia, La Rambla, Pelai, and few others I forgot its name. These streets are must-visit for shopping lovers, I strolled drown Passeig de Gracia and Pelai for window shopping. Taking pictures several of Gaudi's famous works,Casa Amatller, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo on de Gracia, as well the-now-transformed into hotel La Vanguardia on Pelai. I love walking around these streets, clean and stylish, with lots of other tourists around. So even though I traveled alone, I did not feel lonely.

For affordable shopping, Avenue Portal d'Angel offers great stores like Mango, Zara, Bershka, etc. There is this huge Bershka store right in the between corner of Catalunya and Barri Gothic. I went there but can't seems to find what I like (am no fashion expert but for me Bershka has a terrible cut and use underquality patterns), instead, I only bought a Mango bag for 12 EUR and Benetton sunglasses. The first one because it is difficult to find not-so-cheap-looking white bag, the second one because I needed sunglasses, it was only Spring in Barcelona yet the sun lights like summer does.

Las Ramblas is another story, a pathway with bohemian soul of street artists, flower stalls and unique stores. There is also this market, La Bouqeria, which offers great selections of fresh fruits, juice and foods. I splurged a little and tried several things, albeit only half an hour ago having breakfast at McDonalds (stupid choice!). Should have had wait and had my breakfast there.

Considered as Barcelona's city center, Catalunya is also where you can find several options of Hop-On Hop Off Bus Tour.

Took a picture in front of Sagrada Familia:
Barcelona is full with beautifully unique buildings. Gaudi's most ambisius work, Sagrada Familia is a church that has been an ongoing project since 1882, the church is expected to finish in 2026. I did not go inside, however, consider the ticket is expensive because it is part of the donation for the church continuing construction. Instead I just took a photo in front of Sagrada and admire its beauty.

Not far from Sagrada Familia, I found Hospital de Sant Pau. The hospital is beautifully built and so ancient, it actually one of the first hospitals in Medieval era, having founded in 1401. Between 1901 to 1930, Sant Pau was rebuilt to a 20th century style. Sant Pau is part of UNESCO World Heritage site.

Tried Tapas and Sangria:

Japan has Sushi, Spain has Tapas. Tapas is like sushi in Japan. Tapas was originally ENTRANTES (starter food) that lately has become a hip way to dine (or snacking). With its upgraded status, Tapas is not cheap, yet a must to try. I went to a Tapas Bar around Plaza de Catalunya and randomly picked PULPITOS, MEJILLONES, and several other plates. It all tasted great (even for a picky eater like me). I also recommend to try Sangria, fresh and super delicious! After a first glass, Sangria is now my new favorite drink after Teh Botol Sosro.