Now, to the final stop of the trip.
Arrived from Porto and immediately went about to wander around our awesome neighborhood (our B&B was in THE perfect location) and stumbled upon our first Antoni Gaudi masterpiece – Casa Batllo. Wow. Photos just do not do it justice. I never considered myself to be much of an architecture admirer (I had no prior knowledge of the art, and knew very little about Gaudi prior to this trip), but Gaudi’s work is awe-inspiring. And to think he did all of this in the early 1900s. He was commissioned by the businessman Batllo to re-vamp the original building. And do this he did. There are no straight lines in the building, and every little detail, down to the ergonomic doorknobs were imagined and designed by Gaudi. Seriously, so cool.
Up next was roaming the stalls of La Boqueria market – right off of Las Ramblas – a famous, and major pedestrian (and a bit touristy) thoroughfare. The market was impresively large, with everything from cow brains to jelly candies to umbrellas. And it was the place where we saw the most awesome woman of the trip. She was working at a fish stall and had the best persona – she had a lit cigarette hanging out of her mouth while giving orders to a delivery boy with a cleaving knife in one hand, a fish in the other, and blood and guts all over her apron. She just seemed like a strong, charismatic woman. She. Was. Awesome. I wanted to talk to her and get her life story… But we had more exploring to do.
Before we left the market, we tried some dragon fruit – eh – I could live without it. A little bland, but oh so pretty.
That night we got some small plates at Tapas 24 which was great, but then, more importantly, found the most amazing beer bar in Barcelona sitting right next door! Up to this point, we had been drinking a lot of wine, and a lot of bad beer. We were ready for some hops and some sours. George and Dragon had our backs. We ordered a Gueuze Tilquin (amazing Belgian sour that we knew) and tried Nogue de noruega’s imperial IPA which was awesome. New favorite beer. Although I don’t think I can get it here in the US. Boo.
The next day saw us exploring the Olympic village, the Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia (both by Gaudi – we were OBSESSED with this man) and the National Museum of Catalan Art (Picasso, Dali!!) which was in a beautiful old building on top of Monjuic Hill and had some amazing views of the city.
No trip to Barcelona is complete without a trip to cheer on their famous football team – FC Barcelona. And now I can say that I saw one of the greatest players of all time play live! The stadium was massive (one of the largest in Europe), the game was great (Barca wins 3-1 over Zaragoza), and the fans were enthusiastic, but VERY controlled. I expected a crazy, rowdy scene – not so much. The were certainly loud, but it was definitely a controlled crowd. Maybe because they don’t serve alcohol in any football stadium in Spain – which we quickly learned while trying to order a beer at the stadium hot dog stands. I’m glad we snuck in our growler we had from George and Dragon! 😉
I loved Barcelona. It has everything a great city needs – beautiful old buildings, the ocean and beach, a great football team, delicious food.
But Porto will always have my heart from this vacation.