I arrived in Barcelona, Spain on a cold mid-January evening.
I arrived with high spirits knowing that Barcelona notoriously attracts a party type atmosphere for tourists. Thus, I made sure to stay in a party hostel, Sant Jordi, to receive the full experience. My 26th birthday would be spent in this magnificent city.
The first night was spent getting lost in downtown Barcelona. My body was a bit lethargic and my sinuses were still weezy so I decided to walk around the city for a few hours and call it a night.
The next day I woke up rejuvenated and went exploring.
On my MUST see list:
La Sagrada Familia
I had other various sites and attractions I wanted to see in Barcelona, but those three listed above were the main attractions.
Day 1: La Sagrada Familia
The magnificent church, designed by Gaudi, was in full construction mode when I visited. Never in my life had I seen such an impressive looking church, from the outside.
Though the cranes too away some of the old time feel, the numerous towers, delicate Christian artwork, and columns made La Sagrada Familia look more like a palace than a church. I remember having neck pains just from getting mindlessly lost starting at the incredible structure.
Inside was a different story.
For 12 euros I feel like I got robbed. The building is completely empty! I understand the church always needs money to help fund the completion in 2026, but taking advantage of tourists is not the way to do it!
Inside I was greeted with the enjoyable sound of large spinning saws and the smell of fresh saw dust. I could have spent all day watching these construction workers do their job, but I decided to leave after about 5 minutes.
Day 2: Parc Guell
Day 2 was one of the most memorable days of my trip. A trip to Barceloneta beach in the morning and an adventure to Parc Guell in the afternoon.
I celebrated my 26th birthday on this day. More on that later.
On the walk up to Parc Guell, I had two friends with me, one I met at the hostel and one I met while having drinks near Barceloneta Beach with my friend from the hostel. I remember the long hilly streets up the the park. Very similar to those famous downtown streets of San Francisco.
Another one of Guadi’s creations that went unfinished, Parc Guell is a fabulous park with large statues, gardens, and romatic houses. Even during the winter, there was still vegetation all around.
The atmosphere was electric, with people climbing to the top for beautiful panoramic views, and local musicians playing for the crowds. I really enjoyed the sight seeing and the walks to reach summits like this one below.
Day 3: Picasso Museum
One of my favorite themed museums on euro trip, the Picasso Museum houses some of the late Pablo Picasso’s best work.
I highly recommend a trip to this museum to check out exceptional paintings from the Blue Period and the exhibits documenting Picasso’s obsession with Japanese pornographic paintings. I need not explain more!
The museum did a great job of going in chronological order to help follow the life and inspirations of Picasso. As with most museums in Europe, there are times during the week where entrance is free. A great way to see first class art work on a backpacker’s budget.
Nights in Barcelona
The nights in Barcelona were a completely difference experience.
Spain is well known for it’s relaxed life style. Clubs stay open until 6am in the morning and the locals don’t usually go out until 3 or 4am!
I went out on the pub crawls 3 of the 5 nights. The 1st night I explained above, the 4th night was a rather special one I will describe later.
If your used to going to bed at 8am in the morning and waking up at 2pm in the afternoon then you need not worry. For others, like myself, there is quite a bit of an adjustment to “normal” lifestyle.
Typically we the travelers would gather around 11:30 – 12am in in the evening, hang out at the hostel for drinks until 2am, (Did I mention the drinks at these clubs are expensive!), and go clubbing hopping until your mind goes numb.
The night would usually start off at a couple of local bars. The drinks were cheap and the locals scarce. As the night went out we’d arrive at clubs that progressively grew bigger by the hour. Finally around the 5th or 6th destination, we would be taken to an ultra-club, packed with locals and tourists alike. Picture pulsing loud euro-dance music and extraordinary cocktail bars crowed with people waiting for their next drink.
And if you still haven’t had enough, head to the local after party to dance the morning away. The weekends are even crazier as the party does not stop until 2pm in the afternoon! I never did make it to the final club on the pub-crawl.
Easily the best birthday I’ve ever experienced in the most random of ways. The only night I did not go club hopping, besides the 1st night. This adventure deserves its own post in the future. I spent the day at Barcoleneta Beach, climbed Parc Guell in the evening, and had a great sushi buffet date at night. I never knew a sushi buffet existed. Such unusual circumstances led up to this day.