I screwed up – and I’m totally owning it. I promised you the first 5 places in my top ten in the last entry and I only put 4. I tried to edit it, but it only fixed my mistake here. I’d say sue me, but some of you may take me up on it and I’m not paid to blog. I’m giving you places 5-10 in this blog, promise and you are even getting a bonus Barcelona entry after I write a very exciting series on an up and coming Toronto based author! Without further ado, here are the rest of my Barcelona faves!
5. Casa Milà- see above for photo! This amazing piece of Gaudi architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Before you get too excited, like I did, everything in Europe is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Even a Starbucks that I went into mostly for the free Wi-Fi qualified (just kidding). But truly, there are a lot of underwhelming places that qualify for this distinction, but this isn’t one of them. It’s one of the most creative pieces of architecture that I’ve ever seen. It looks like it’s bones in motion, melted wax or all of the above. My only regret is that I’ve been to Barcelona twice and have never gone in.
6. Passeig de Gracia – I call this fancy street. It houses a lot of the high end stores and the REALLY SUPER EXPENSIVE hotels that we can all only aspire too. Staying walking distance from this elegant street made me feel like one of the hoity-toity’s. The best part of this street though is not the shopping or the lovely restaurants, it’s the architecture. The lovely Casa Milà is located here (I wasn’t cheating, it’s my favourite building so it got an entry of it’s own). Gaudi’s Casa Batlló AKA my second favourite building is located here. The roof looks like a dragon’s back and the facing has the mosaic tiles that Gaudi is known for. As an aside, I felt really artsy writing that sentence. If Gaudi isn’t your thing, which makes you a weirdo in my books, then Casa Amatller by Puig is right next store. Each building on this street is a bit of a marvel. Stroll it and enjoy one of the loveliest places in Barcelona.
7. Las Ramblas (AKA La Rambla) – this isn’t just a lovely street to walk along, it also serves as the entry way to the Barri Gotic (the Gothic Quarter) and El Mercat (the Market that I wrote about). The best part of Las Ramblas – it’s a pedestrian mall which means no pesky traffic to interrupt you. The draw back is that it’s teeming with tourists. That’s ok though – that’s what you are, so embrace and enjoy the crowds. If you are looking for tacky souvenirs, this is the place for you. It’s also a great place to stop and smell the flowers – literally. There are flower vendors here with pretty sweet posies, so look around and enjoy them. As busy as it is, it’s worth an hour or two, at least, of your time. Look up at the buildings – they have the best little touches from Juliet balconies to the umbrellas that you see in my less than professional photo above.
8. The beach/waterfront – confession time, this is from November 2011. I didn’t have a chance to go this time around. I loved the waterfront. The statues were fun – who doesn’t love a smiling lobster? The scenery was great and the Mediterranean was a little rough so if you closed your eyes, the sounds made you feel like you were at an all-inclusive. I couldn’t keep them closed for long though – too many things to trip over. If we have more than two days to spend, I really, really recommend spending some time here.
9. Barri Gòtic AKA The Gothic Quarter is also a favourite. Seriously, I loved every place on this list equally, but in different ways. You need time in The Gothic Quarter – time to get lost, time to wander and time to appreciate the gargoyles. Every little street leads into a square. You’ll find City Hall in one of these squares. Another street will lead you to the Jewish Quarter and another to the Barcelona Cathedral. Before your eyes roll and you say ANOTHER CHURCH, this is also worth a look. For one thing, it’s Gothic and who doesn’t love a cuddly little gargoyle. For another, it’s spectacular outside and in. C’mon, just put it on your list of must dos. My favourite time to walk this area is at night. It just lends itself to that eerie, spooky vibe that night time brings. Watch out for pick pockets in this area – where there are tourists, there are thieves. We were warned all over Barcelona to keep an eye on our purses and wallets, so be smart and only bring the necessities.
10. Fundació Joan Miró – really just an art gallery with a lot of Miró’s art. I’m including this on my list so you’ll think I’m cultured. And also because the statue in front reminded me of Disney’s Wall-E. Tell me I’m wrong….go ahead. The paintings aren’t my thing, but the fact that they are hung in the middle of the room with no walls – genius. I saw this during my 2011 trip. It was fun saying to my friend “I could totally paint this” and listening to her each time say – “But you didn’t”. That’s always been my issue with modern art – I’m not talented in the least, but I feel like I could totally splat over a page and tell people it represents passion and progress and get $50million out of the deal. I’d also get those pretentious people nodding their heads with a very serious look on their faces as I reveal a new project – a blank canvas that represents the smallness of life and how life is…a blank canvas. If you are into modern art – it’s worth a look. Give yourself an hour here, tops.