3 Maltese take on Barcelona - A photo story

I hold Barcelona accountable for giving me itchy feet. There is so much to do that a minute waited feels like a minute wasted. We barely spent ten minutes settling down in our apartment before heading out again. And immediately we found ourselves staring at this impressive facade.

On the second day, we took a quick metro ride and popped up right in the heart of La Rambla. One thing which hit me right away was the hustle and bustle. But its side streets, quiet and strewn with graffiti, were a different matter. Walking through these streets also felt like entering a time capsule. After a ten minute walk, we suddenly found ourselves right in the middle of the Gothic Quarter. As a photographer, I instantly fell in love with this place. If you’re interested, read more here to find out why: http://www.karlsciberras.com/blog/8-days-in-barcelona 

For the next day, we left behind us Barcelona’s vibrant city life and made a 2-hour trip to the magnificent Abbey of Montserrat. Hands down, this was my favourite place from the whole trip. One paragraph doesn’t do it justice. So I’ve dedicated a whole post waxing lyrical about it here: http://www.karlsciberras.com/blog/magnificent-monst 

Day four arrived. Knackered from the 30km we spent walking around Montserrat, we decided to stay within the city and visit two masterpieces by Gaudi - the Sagrada Familia and Park Güell. From the inside, the Sagrada Familia is a true work of art. I’m pretty sure that by 2026, it will look majestic from the outside too. Unfortunately, the cranes mar what is otherwise a mind-blowingly intricate exterior. Park Güell holds its own as well. The vivid colours, eccentric architecture (and exhausting summer heat) make you feel like you’re on an acid trip. It’s a lovely place and I definitely would have enjoyed it much more if it was not jam-packed with tourists.

On the fifth day, the sun simmered us slowly, giving us a very sexy and healthy-looking farmer’s tan. (as if… haha) The layout and architecture of Fortress of Montjuïc really reminded me of my home country - Malta. After taking in the wonderful views of the city from this hill, we headed towards the Olympic Village. If you are into sports, it’s a place worth visiting. Otherwise, just skip the stadium and head straight towards the Palau Nacional. Just for its gardens, the palace is worth a visit.  It’s also good to know that the Palau Nacional is the place of the Magic Fountain.  We didn’t know this and ended up spectators of the show very much by chance. It was ok.

On day six, we caught a train and headed downwards towards Tarragona. My first impression was “Bugibba”. In other words, a tastelessly developed seaside town. And to an extent, it proved to be true. The ugly modern buildings surrounding its most famous attraction, the Roman amphitheatre (dates back to 2nd century AD) made for an underwhelming start. Luckily, things took a turn in the opposite direction once we walked inside the fortified city. The colours were absolutely A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and the food on offer was simply delicious. If only the area of the fortified city was larger, I would recommend Tarragona in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, it has also been senselessly over-developed.

Our last full day started with a visit to the Nou Camp. If you are not a football fan, steer well clear. Yes, the sheer size of the Nou Camp and its immaculately-kept turf are impressive. But the crowding was horrendous. And the way things are run makes you feel like a cow ready to be milked down to your last euro.

Thankfully, things got much better once we left the stadium. By the afternoon, we were back at La Rambla. There we visited the Erotic Museum. a place full of titanic-sized dicks. However, there were also very interesting educational tidbits on placards next to the objects on display.  We concluded our trip with one last visit to the Gothic Quarter. In our first visit, we had somehow skipped past Barcelona’s Cathedral. Don’t make the same mistake we did the first time- this place is really worth a visit and you are afforded much more room to explore than the Sagrada Familia.

Having walked close to 120km over 7 days (that’s like crossing the island of Malta four times over) I can say I got to know Barcelona well. The relaxed lifestyle, inviting climate and helpful locals made me feel right at home. Just one tip. Avoid Friendly Rentals at all costs. The apartment was not as advertised and despite leaving our apartment in tip-top condition, they found an excuse to keep the €200 damage deposit for themselves. That really soured what was otherwise a fantastic time in Barcelona. 

Will this mean it was my last time in Spain though? Definitely not.  :)

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