After checking into the W Barcelona, we headed out on brief excursion through the streets of Barcelona.
Introduction: Spring break in Spain
British Airways Club World DFW-LHR
British Airways T5 Galleries South Lounge @ Heathrow
The Westin Palace Madrid
Renfe Preferred Class Madrid-Seville
Renfe Preferred Class Lounge – Seville St. Justa
Hotel Alfonso XII Seville
Strolling through Seville
Sights and Sounds of Majestic Madrid
Iberia Business Class Lounge Madrid Barajas
Iberia Business Class Madrid-Barcelona
The W Barcelona
Exploring Gaudi’s Barcelona
The Hilton London Heathrow Airport T5
American Airlines New Business Class LHR-DFW
First order of business on our tour through Barcelona was getting food. We were absolutely starving after having had nothing to eat since breakfast (it was almost 4pm). A quick search brought up nearby restaurants featuring vegetarian dishes. And go figure, an Indian restaurant was at the top of the list. As I’ve mentioned before, Indian restaurants are safe bets for anyone looking for substantive vegetarian food.
Passeig Joan de Borbó 78
Telephone: (+34) 932 211 981
Rangoli is actually located just a few blocks from the W Barcelona. The restaurant is open from 1pm – 11:30pm, 6 days of the week and is closed on Monday. Though the restaurant isn’t known to have the widest selection of Indian food, we found that it did everything on the menu extremely well. The ambiance and decor of the restaurant is classy and service is prompt and courteous. The restaurant caters well to food allergies (my sister is allergic to nuts), and is quite affordable for what we would call a fairly high end restaurant.
I won’t go into the specifics of what we ordered, but the food definitely warranted a second visit within the two days we were in Barcelona. And this was certainly not due to the lack of choice.
After the late lunch at Rangoli, we headed out to Parc Guell on the outskirts of Barcelona to experience the classic panoramic view of town. I hadn’t done my research before heading to the park and so didn’t realize that the monuments park (where Gaudi’s iconic village is located) required reservations for entry. Fortunately for us the line at the ticket booth wasn’t too long for entry into the park an hour later. We were extremely lucky to get there at the time we did because lines were INSANE after we got our tickets. HINT: Buy tickets before you get there to avoid unnecessary hassle. They can be bought here and will cost 7 Euros for anyone between the ages of 12 and 65.
Anyway, since we had about an hour to burn before entering the monuments section, we wandered around the rest of the park, which was fantastic for taking pictures:
The free portion of the park itself is quite charming in itself with its variety of views and gardens. The monuments park was really more of a push and shove to get your postcard picture sort of place. My pictures really don’t do the crowd justice. There is a reason why the mosaic tiled white bench isn’t featured in any of my pictures 😉 It was absolutely packed!
By the time we left the Parc Guell it was quite dark and so we finished off the day with a stroll down La Rambla. I wasn’t too impressed by the street in general, it pretty much seemed like any city center with its abundant street performers, salespeople, and cafes. I was happy to note however that I had not been swindled while walking down the famous street. Many travel sites seem to indicate that Barcelona was the “pick pocketing capital of the world.”
We called it a day with a final stroll down the boardwalk, which was fairly deserted despite the unusually warm weather. A fine end to our last full day in Spain.
The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel restaurant and headed out to visit the world’s most famous work in progress, La Sagrada Familia. Going in I thought it would be like any other cathedral we had visited in Europe, but I should’ve known better than to doubt Gaudi and his flamboyance. Again tickets should be bought online before coming because lines are horrendous and the prices are the same at the gate and online. Brimming with picture opportunities, the cathedral’s intricate design and quirky design make it deserving of its position as Barca’s No.1 attraction.
Last but not least we capped our trip to Barcelona with what I think is Barcelona’s hidden treasure: Poble Espanol. The not so miniature open-air museum depicts the various types of Spanish architecture, arts, and crafts specific to each region of Spain. The park, as I like to call it, has many unique jewelry, and artisan workshops. And if this is your first time in Spain, you get to have a taste of all of it in one go. Sure the shops are more expensive then other places but everything is handmade. And the 12 euros ( discounted to 8 if a student) is very reasonable for the kind of experience you are getting (eg. away from crowds, old world charm etc.)
After visiting Poble Espanol, we began to walk around trying to hail cabs. It was an impossible task owing to a marathon going on in a square nearby and we nearly decided to walk all the way back to the hotel (a good 7 miles away). While we were desperately trying to hail a cab, we marveled at the magnificence of the Plaça d’Espanya and how we couldn’t find a cab in the center of Barca. 🙂 Where is Uber when you need it?
After what seemed like an eternity, I was able to finally hail a cab and we were on our way back to the hotel. It was now a rush to catch our flight to Heathrow! Talk about leaving in a hurry.
Barcelona is deservedly one of the world’s most visited cities. Its location along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, flamboyant architecture, and hodge-podge of old and new world culture is refreshing. I still prefer the organized nature of Madrid, and the small town feel of Seville, but I can certainly see how its a matter of preference. I should note that at no point throughout my stay did I feel threatened by pick pocketing or other petty crimes, but it might just be a YMMV sort of thing. Just remember two rules: always buy your ticket online and don’t be afraid to venture out into the unknown. Before I leave, I should note, one final time, that when comparing Spain with the rest of Europe (eg. Switzerland, France, Austria), it really is a bargain for the kind of experiences you get. I definitely look forward to returning to Barcelona and the rest of Spain. This is especially so now because I am curious to see the finished La Sagrada Familia.
That pretty much caps my trip to Spain back in the spring. Now for the journey back……..
What is your favorite aspect of Barcelona? of Spain?