Having gone from country to country with 50 other people for a few weeks, I decided to extend for one more week to sit back, relax, and enjoy what was left of my Eurotrip. I would’ve extended for a longer period of time, but my visa did not permit me to do so (I know, it sucks having a Philippine Passport). I’ve always wanted to go to Spain, so being a reader on must-see cities, I decided to book a trip to Barcelona, although Madrid was an option too. And to Espanya I flew!
Took a cab from the airport and although cabs are really pricey, I did not have the luxury of time to study the metro system and since I was traveling alone, I decided to splurge on cab rides to ensure my safety. After getting a glimpse of Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi on the way to the hotel, which I have been dying to see in person for the longest time, I finally arrived in Hotel Sagrada Familia. I honestly was so surprised by how nice the hotel was, well, of course it’s not anything like Shangrila, but since it cost me not more than 130USD/night, I was more than satisfied! Also, the hotel is just 2-3 blocks away from Sagrada, although a little far from Las Ramblas.First stop: Sagrada Familia
The exteriors exhibited such authenticity and originality. After having been to a number of churches around Europe, this definitely stood out.
I knew that it would take about an hour to get tickets to go inside so I rushed to get tickets and apparently, lady luck was on my side. It took me less than 5 minutes! I have to admit that Sagrada’s exteriors impressed me so much, that I actually thought of skipping the interiors, but having seen the 5 to 10 person queue for tickets, I rushed to take advantage. It was a good thing I didn’t skip exploring what Gaudi had envisioned the interiors of La Sagrada to be. Let the photos speak for themselves.
Every part of the basilica was carefully planned that even the staircase was such a sight to see. I found La Sagrada Familia to be so magnificent that I took about a hundred photos inside/outside the basilica in a span of an hour and a half. Although I am careful about saying this, it might’ve impressed me just a tad bit more than St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. I know it is not nearly as big, but everything was just so strangely beautiful. It actually made me wonder what in the world was going on in Gaudi’s mind and how in the world he thought of all these intricacies.
Although Gaudi passed almost 100 years ago, his work has yet to be finished. If I remember right, La Sagrada has yet to be completed till 2028. I can’t wait to see what it’ll look like when it’s finally done.
Next stop: Park Güell.
Just like La Sagrada, it is a UNESCO Heritage site and also, another one of Antoni Gaudi’s works. Said to be a failed housing project, it is now deemed as one of the most beautiful parks in the world.Just as he did with La Sagrada, the designs of Park Güell were so amazingly intricate.This area in the park was how I discovered this attraction, actually. A few years back, I saw the finale of America’s Next Top Model and before leaving for Europe, I tried to find out where it was (hoping it was on my itinerary). So when I booked my trip to Barcelona, I told myself, I have to go there! One of the perks of traveling alone is you get to take your time and sit back and relax without having to hassle anyone. Got a bottle of water and a Magnum sandwich, which I completely devoured in less than 5 minutes, by the way. I just sat down and looked upon the the spectacular view of Barcelona from Park Güell, but I did have to transfer tables thrice cause my fear of birds got the best of me.
Luckily, one of my closest friends from the tour also planned on going to Barcelona so before leaving for my Spanish Holiday, I made sure I contacted her to figure out if we were going to see each other or not. She had no phone and we relied on the internet (which I only had in the hotel btw) to contact each other and I told her right after I go to Park Güell, I’d meet her infront of her hostel along Las Ramblas. I wasn’t sure if she got the message, but I still took a cab to her hostel and from afar, I saw her and we both ran to each other!! Not only was I so happy to finally see a familiar face, but Kyra is also one of the people I got really close to in the tour group, so it was really nice seeing her.
One of the perks of staying in hostels (which she did and I unwisely didn’t), aside from cutting on costs, is the fact that there is a bigger chance that you will make friends. And so two of Kyra’s friends from the hostel went to dinner with us.
The food was delicious, as usual, and having dinner with an Australian and two Canadians did me well after being alone for a time.
During my last morning in Barcelona, I took a cab from the hotel to Las Ramblas to do some last minute shopping before heading out of the city. I was up bright and early, so nothing was open yet; I decided to look for a place to have breakfast.
Final stop: Las Ramblas
I’ve seen the film Taken far too many times and yet, I have to be honest that I made a few decisions then that might’ve been setbacks for me, but thank God the people I met were kind ones.After a few twists and turns while walking around Las Ramblas, I found a little cafe and as I was being seated, I heard someone speaking in Filipino! This Filipino family ended up inviting me to their table, which explains the picture. It reminded me of how hospitable Filipinos really are, specially when you’re abroad in the midst of people from around the globe. They were amused that I had traveled alone to an unfamiliar place and warned me of possible perils, but I did manage, didn’t I? They also paid for my breakfast! I refused at first, but they gave me an ultimatum, to pay for everyone’s bill or to let them pay for mine. Being on a budget, I went with the latter. After thanking them profusely and saying my goodbyes, I went shopping. That afternoon, I had to fly out of the city, so I took a cab to an airport after a wonderful solo trip to this beautiful Spanish city. To wrap this all up, going solo on a Spanish holiday really is one for the books. One day, I’ll be back in this great city. I feel like even if I’ve seen so much, there’s still so much that Barcelona has to offer (and also other parts of Spain, obviously). So book the trip, head to Barcelona and you’ll see what I mean. I even told my dad that among all the cities I visited, Barcelona is a city where I can see myself living in.