Barcelona is an extremely fun city and it happened to be filled with some of my favorite people! Not only was a bunch of the crew from the French Acro Convention and BeWater Gatherings present, but my good friends Gen and Julia came to soak up the good vibes as well!
The two weeks I spent here started off with the Barcelona Yoga Conference. I’ve written a bunch about yoga and Thai massage festivals in the past so I’ll spare myself from being redundant except to say that it’s always amazing to be around so many shining souls, singing, dancing, connecting, and healing one another. The BYC has a free program that consisted of a lot of Thai massage, acro yoga, and Kirtan, can’t beat that!
You can’t beat the architecture in Barcelona either. The architect Antoni Gaudi is synonymous with Barcelona. His signature architecture always incorporated mosaics comprised of different sizes pieces. The Casa Bottló resembles the scales of a dragon, La Pedrera is quite wavy with balcony railings that resemble seaweed, and the Sagrada Familia…
The Sagrada Familia is the most interesting building I’ve ever beheld. Towering spires are capped by sculptures of different fruit. The front face of the building contains impeccably realistic sculptures. Gaudi actually took casts of dead people and animals (although sometimes the larger animals were alive during the casting) to create molds that were as realistic as possible. Gaudi became obsessed with his work, eventually hitting the streets to beg for money to help fund the construction of his holy masterpiece. It was while looking like a disheveled beggar that he was hit by a taxi and left in the streets for hours before being taken to a hospital and dying days later. During war time most of his models for the completion of the church were destroyed, leading architects to try and guess how he would want it completed.
The opposite side of the building is being completed by a different architect and is in stark contrast to the entrance. Harsh straight lines show scenes from the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus does not even have a face up on the cross, his head is more of a rectangular box. These harsh lines were meant to convey the brutality of the event. The building is being worked on around the clock, funded by donations from the 17€ entry fee. The plan is to finish the building by 2026, and there is still much work left to be done. Six new towers will be added and it will eventually become the highest cathedral in Europe at 172.5 meters.
Keeping with the religious theme, Julia and I headed up to the mountain of Tibidabo overlooking the city. At the top of the mountain is a small amusement park and a large church with a statue of Jesus on top. We got to experience the same view as Jesus, overlooking the entire city, past the beaches, and well out into the Mediterranean Sea.
To say that the beaches in Barcelona are quite crowded with tourists is an understatement, especially in Barceloneta. However it’s still nice to spend a couple hours on the beach, declining mojitos and beer from the illegal vendors walking up and down the sand. The parks in Barcelona are much less crowded but have just as much going on. At the Parque de la Ciutadella you’ll find free yoga classes, people working out, dancing, playing strange instruments, and just lounging around having a good time.
Everywhere you look in Barcelona there is interesting architecture and people from all over the world.
It truly is an international city, the variety of restaurants are evidence of that. We wound up eating a lot of pizza from Pizza Circus because it was just down the street and was so damn good. You can also take advantage of Spain´s culture of the menu del dia, which you get a starter, main plate, and dessert for a fixed price usually between 8-12€. Many of the restaurants and eateries stay open late to accommodate the infamous late start to Spanish nights out.
Barcelona is also infamous for its party scene. I didn’t enter any of the gigantic clubs, but had an amazing time dancing at the more local La Merula. After a bottle of wine when the Spanish music hits you you’ll be dancing all night. Literally. Things normally start to get going around 1-2 in the morning, ending once the sun has come up. If you hit the streets early enough you can see many people stumbling wearily on their way back to their beds. Just make sure you dodge them if you´re biking around.
Biking around is one of the best ways to see Barcelona. There are many bike paths throughout the city, but if you visit Gadui´s Parque Guell be prepared to climb some serious hills. After those hills you will be rewarded by a beautiful park and a cruising ride back down to the city. It definitely would have been easy to spend much more time in this eclectic city but I had to get cruising on down the coast of Spain for some more adventures.