Barcelona - The City
Tourism and History.
There's so much to say about Barcelona, but for purposes of brevity, I'll keep it to this: The summer is crazy busy with tourism.
This year marked a lot of firsts for me, but most notably was my first trip to Europe. I'll admit, this trip was very last minute. With just two days notice, and 2 days off, we scrambled to find a city that was both easy to navigate, but also affordable. Barcelona turned out to hit both marks, and the entire trip was a success. Arriving at 9am the first morning fresh off of a 6 hour flight, the entire day was spent frantically seeing as much as we possibly could.
During the first day, we made it to both the beach, and several tourist spots including the Cathedral Sagrada Família (which has constantly been in construction since 1882). Other notable spots included the many winding side streets that stem off of La Rambla which all house beautiful and colorful buildings. The incredible Gothic architecture can't be missed, and some areas are simply breathtaking.
As with any trip, one of the most rewarding parts of this one was the food. Spain is known for several foods, but what we experienced here was Tapas. While our experience was somewhat touristy (last minute decision out of pure hunger), it was great none the less. Language also played a big role in this trip, with my Spanish skills not-quite-cutting-it in the Catalan heavy region (Catalan is a separate language from Spanish and is mostly spoken through out Barcelona).
Finishing the trip was a late night exploring La Rambla once more, which looking back was something special. This central corridor connects the historic Gothic regions with the coastal side of the city, and is a hub for both tourism, and culture. At the end of the day, Barcelona is a city I'll have to visit again to truly appreciate. The heavy summer crowds and blazing heat made it difficult to take in everything, but the bigger than life architecture made it truly special.