The rest of my weekend trip to Barcelona! You can find Parte 1 here. (Also, sorry for taking so long to post this…)
Day 2 started bright and early after a night of not much sleep (when your Airbnb host warns you that it’s a little noisy at night, he means it’s really, really, really noisy at night). We had tickets to Sagrada Familia at 9:00, the earliest entry time, which we purchased with the intention of avoiding the crowds later in the day.
A metro ride later, we came above ground to this:
Buying tickets online ahead of time and for early in the morning was definitely worth it. The line to get in was practically non-existent.
A little bit of history: Sagrada Familia is a basilica/temple that began construction in 1882. Antoni Gaudí, a well known modernist/naturalist architect, took over the construction in 1883 (not much had really been built by that point), and eventually altered the original plans. Gaudí died after being hit by a tram in 1926 before the construction was finished (he’s buried in the crypt of the church, which seems quite fitting). Since then, construction has slowly continued following the plans Gaudí left. That’s 134 years of construction so far. Sagrada Familia should be finished in 2026 (guess I’ll have to come back to see it 🙂 ).
I took a lot of pictures of the inside, so I can’t possibly post them all here. Also, pictures just don’t do this enormous work of art any justice, but I will post some nonetheless. (Click on the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.)
I think my favorite part was the stained glass windows. They’re even more vibrant in person. I can only imagine what they look like later in the day when the sun is shining on them directly.
After touring the inside, we walked around the block to look at each of the outside facades (some of which aren’t finished yet).
After going to Sagrada Familia, we went back to the apartment to rest, eat, and plan the rest of the day.
Next we went to Parc Güell, which is a little hard to get to and a little bit of hike. We opted not to pay the 7 euros to check on the Monument Area (where the mosaics and famous steps and sculptures are). We were running short on time, so we didn’t get to see for ourselves, but I’m fairly certain you can see most of the famous things (the mosaics on the stairs, for example) from outside the front gates.
The reason we were short on time and the next place we went was Casa Batllo, one of Gaudí’s famous houses. This is one of my favorite sights we saw the whole weekend.
For dinner that night we met up with some other girls from our program, who also happened to be in Barcelona for the weekend, and got tapas. That’s it for Saturday!
Sunday (day 3) was our last day in Barcelona. We decided to spend it checking out museums, since most of the museums are free on Sundays in general or the first Sunday of the month (which it was). We slept in some (I was supposed to go to church with my friend but ended up sleeping more while she went…) before heading to the first of the museums.
We returned to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, this time during the day.
This art museum houses old Romanesque art from Catalunya, as well as more modern art (from the late 1800s and early 1900s) and some rotating exhibitions. This was another one of my favorite things from the weekend. I love art, especially from the late 1800s or later, so I really enjoyed the modern section of this museum. They had a large amount of Art Nouveau pieces (one of my favorite periods), including works by Théophile Steinlen (Chat Noir poster) and Alphonse Mucha. I was very, very excited by this. Seriously, I was grinning from ear to ear while we were walking around.
The temporary exhibition was the works of Xavier Gosé. I’m not going to lie, I had never heard of nor did I recognize and of his works, but I still really liked them.
We ate lunch on the steps of the museum, enjoying the views of the city, before heading to the Picasso Museum. We waited in line for over an hour to enter, wandered around for less than an hour, and left. We were both glad the museum was free because it wasn’t worth the hour we stood waiting in line, let alone the normal 14 euro entrance fee. Go if you’re a die hard Picasso fan, but don’t expect to see many of his famous works. Most of those are at other, larger museums around the world.
We then made our way to the train station to head back to Valencia. By this time, our feet, legs, and backs were sore from all the walking and backpack-carrying, so we were glad to sit on the train for several hours.
So what did I think of Barcelona? It was awesome. Lots of museums and things to do, plenty of sights to see and places to wander around. There are a lot of tourists, though, even in February (which is considered part of the off season), so buying tickets ahead of time is definitely worth it.
Well, that’s it for now. We’ll see what this weekend brings.