11 days in Europe: Barcelona

Over Thanksgiving, my mom and I went on an incredible 11-day trip to Europe! Over the next few weeks, I’m going to post trip recaps for each country we traveled to – Iceland, England, Spain and Ireland. Our third stop was Barcelona.

Day 1

Barcelona marked halfway through our trip. All of the early mornings and jam-packed days had caught up to us by this point. Luckily we had nothing planned for our first day in Barcelona! We arrived in the morning and easily found our way to our AirBNB where we promptly mastered the art of the siesta.

AirBNB

Wow. Our AirBNB was SO CUTE! And the hosts were super helpful. The apartment was in this cute, old building, but was completely redone complete with a washer/dryer and full kitchen. Our hosts took time to help us get our bearings and gave suggestions to their favorite restaurants. We were glad they showed us how to use the washer/dryer because they are very different from American appliances (and take 2-3 times as long…!).

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La Rambla

One of my friends from Mizzou now lives in Barcelona, so my mom and I met her for dinner and drinks. She took us for tapas and then we bar hopped a bit!

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La Barceloneta

To end the night, my friend took us to this amazing rooftop bar called 1881 per Sagardi. It’s actually on the roof of an art museum. It has an incredible view of the mountains, city and harbor.

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Day 2

Basílica de la Sagrada Família

La Sagrada Família’s construction began in 1882 and still continues today, with the projected end date of 2026, exactly 100 years after the architect Gaudí’s death.

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What a moving experience to explore this basílica. Each part of this structure had both a symbolic purpose and functional purpose, with moving sculptures and facades depicting aspects of Christ’s life.

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We climbed one of the towers to see the most incredible view of Barcelona! The basílica will be much taller in the end, but not as tall as the surrounding mountains, as Gaudí believed “the work of man should never rise above the work of God.”

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He also played with stained glass and light, where the glass colored the stone as he believed “light is the best paintbrush.”

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La Boquería

This beautiful open-air market was fun to walk through. So colorful and so many different types of food!

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Day 3

Montserrat

This was by far my favorite day in Spain and one of my favorite days of the entire trip. We traveled a little bit outside of Barcelona and up to Montserrat National Park and the Basilica at Montserrat.

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The view was absolutely breathtaking.

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We first explored the Basilica and monastery. This has been a sacred mountain for centuries, as monks discovered “The Black Madonna” statue in one of its caves. Legend has it that as they tried to move her, she became heavier and heavier so they felt that it was a sign that they should build her a church on the mountain (back in 1025 AD).

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Many devout Catholics from the Catalonia region make an annual pilgrimage to Monsterrat, walking from their homes to the basilica to visit The Black Madonna and attend mass.

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The second part of our day was spent hiking through the national park. On a clear day, you can see the French border and the Mediterranean Sea! It was so incredibly beautiful. And smelled great, too, since we were hiking through wild rosemary bushes.

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We ended the day at Montserrat with a performance from one of the oldest boys’ choirs in Spain.

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To get down the mountain, we took a cable car. Such a cool view! Though, a few people in our group were a little freaked out because it was swinging a bit in the air… All in all, our tour guide, Unai, was fantastic! I would highly recommend taking any We Barcelona tours.

Final Thoughts

Barcelona was incredible! The food, the culture, the architecture… we loved it all.

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Just another 20-something trying to figure out this whole adulting thing.

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