|Barcelona, Image taken by Jim Davies|
Barcelona, also famous as Barcino during Roman time, has a rich history dating back at least 2,000 years when it gained prominence as a Roman town. It is the second largest city in Spain and 48th most densely populated city in the world. Situated on the plains, which rise gradually from the sea to a range of wooded hills, Barcelona is Spain's most cosmopolitan city. You will always find restaurants and bars packed and beach crowded.
After completing my trip to Lisbon to celebrate my Portuguese holidays, a visit to Barcelona seemed like its continuity. The core center of town, focused around the Ciutat Vella provides days of enjoyment for those looking to experience the life of Barcelona, while the beaches the city was built upon provide sun and relaxation during the long periods of agreeably warm weather.
From Portugal to Madrid, to Ibiza and now to Barcelona, my journey has been really long but there is something in the air which makes me want to see more around. I took a ferry from Ibiza to Barcelona, I wanted to see the port of the city, as it is known as one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean.
I don't think I have ever been to so many beaches in such a short time. Though I am not bored yet, but still I wished to see something towards the inland and so I decided to visit Parc de Guell.
It was a bit out of the way from other sites in the city, but the trek is worth it. Park Guell is another venture of Antonio Gaudi and, in fact, he lived in one of the two homes that got completed. The intent of Eusebi Guell, the owner of the land, was to have 60 homes developed. Gaudi developed the serene park between 1910-14, as part of the motif to entice people to live here. Eventually, the park that was intended to replicate an English garden became a visiting place for the locals to get away from the grime and crowded city center.
|Park Guell, Image taken by Johannes Breunig|
There are a variety of shapes and designs throughout the park, beginning with the sitting arena with thousands of mosaics imbedded into the concrete, the irregular and rough terrace walls and bird nests appearance, columns holding up an upper portion, and winding road 7 trails to the top. The mountain used to be flat on top, and it is now simply a place for bench rest. It is about half a mile from the main entry to the top. Entry to the park is free, but the fees for the small museum is 2 Euro.
Another wonderful attraction was the Las Ramblas, the street that certainly is the heart of Barcelona. It is a lovely tree lined pedestrian walkway that extends 1.2kms from the Placa de Catalunya down to the Christopher Columbus statue at the port.
|Las Ramblas, photo taken by Juan Salmoral|
Barcelona's most famous avenue, la Rambla, is also its liveliest. The centre part of this tree-lined avenue is pedestrianised, allowing for cafés, kiosks, mimes, florists, tourists and pickpockets alike to take advantage and to keep this circus-like thoroughfare busy around the clock. The avenue officially runs from the Mediterranean shore all the way up through Eixample to Avinguda Diagonal. However, the most celebrated section of la Rambla is the lower part, starting from Plaça de Catalunya to the port. Numerous historic buildings line la Rambla, which trace the shape an old filled river bed. In fact, the avenue's name is derived from the Arabic world ramla which refers to the sand in a dry seasonal river bed. Over time, the river bed was filled to become what we see today. Along this part of la Rambla is also some creative architecture as well as a few famous old-world shops with Art Nouveau details.
If you are in Barcelona, and even if you have seen all the beaches, shopped from all the shops, ate in all the restaurants, you haven't seen Barcelona if you haven't visited Nou Camp Stadium.
Even if you’re just a little bit interested in soccer, then you should take the trip to the Nou Camp stadium and visit the museum of the FC Barcelona. It was good to see their cups, medals and photos. There was a section on the history of the club with all the sports they play, not only soccer but also FC Barcelona basket ball and rugby.
|Nou Camp Stadium, photo taken by Sam Hancock|
Another section showcased the famous players of the team, their shoes and jersey. I could see the jersey of the legendary Bernd Schuster and Diego Maradona. What I really liked in FC Barcelona museum was the old soccer memorabilia - an old ticket booth, the dressing room, a sports pub, old soccer magazines, board games, balls and other equipments. The best of all is of course the view from the president’s seat in the stadium. When you look at the stadium from his seat, the only word that came into my mind was 'magnificent'! You could see how huge the stadium was. The stadium has an exciting atmosphere even with nobody but a few visitors around. It gives you the shivers thinking about 100,000 FC Barcelona supporters singing and cheering and just 22 guys playing on the pitch.
|Nou Camp Stadium Dressing Room, photo taken by Will Palmer|
If you have seen this stadium and if you are also a fan of Barcelona, then I am sure your trip to Barcelona will start from Nou Camp and end at Nou Camp. Same was the feeling for me. It felt as if I have seen everything. But as I told you, Barcelona is not just about Soccer. Watch this space or subscribe to my feed to follow me to different places I go.
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