BARCELONA – More than just Football!

-Srishti Magan

Recently I had a chance to visit the exotic and famous (for all the right reasons) country “Spain” for work. Since it was for work, despite the fact that I spent three weeks there, effectively I had just three to four days to soak in as much of the Spanish siesta and sangria as I could. And trust me when I say, I took full advantage of those three days.

Since 5 days of the week I had to gather my age-old company laptop and drag my ass to work, I had picked a hotel near to my office and thus I ended up staying in a small town called Coslada. If I call it a ghost town, it won’t be too far from the truth! But patience I command my tapping fingers – I essentially roamed around 3 places – Coslada, the capital city Madrid, and the football mecca Barcelona. Let me start with Barcelona!

BARCELONA!

I was in Barcelona for just one day. The day my flight landed here in the morning, as the next day I had to fly to Coslada, where I was staying for the rest of my trip. Barcelona is epic in the way it captures the spirit of modern day and combines it with the innate pace of life and culture that makes Spain seem so exotic. Barcelona is the place that truly allows you to explore and you will find old gothic structures right in the middle of the street selling you modern design shot glasses and cute little showpieces. Yes, it invites you to explore and roam around and get a little lost, but wonderfully so. The main points of attraction would be –

1. Las Ramblas – it’s a hub – just like our CP. It’s literally what it means, a combinations of streets (ramblas) where you can start from one end, and end at the other and manage to grab a few things on the way for sure. Be they the local food being sold by street vendors or small gifts from countless shops, I guarantee it is impossible to cross this area without making your pockets a little lighter. A point of warning – although I faced no trouble of my own, I read up on enough sites plus was warned of the same by my colleagues – beware of pickpocketers. They can smell tourists from afar.

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2. Font Magica de Montjuic: So sadly for me the show started too late at night, and my hotel was a little too far from the main city and thus I ended up seeing only the starting of the show, but I did explore the whole arena before and it was vast, and beautiful, and the perfect jogging stretch! In short I can imagine how spectacular the whole show would be, and to anyone going there, I would definitely recommend it.

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3. Football Arenas: It is Barcelona, and you may nothing about Football other than Beckham and Messi (aka you can be just like me) but you still have to see one of these. They’re huge, kick-ass, and just give you the feels!

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4. Food, Communication and travelling around – It is easy. Yes, there is a slight language barrier but not so much to cause a problem. There are million little eating joints at every nook and corner, and even vegetarian options are easily available. There is an extremely well connected system of metros all around Spain, including Barcelona. However, give the buses a miss – because you really can’t be too sure of all the local stops. Additionally, yes you can take a Taxi, there are enough taxi stands on the streets; however Taxis are always an expensive option. They may not be as expensive as some of the other European countries but still can cause a considerable drop in your expenses.

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Other than this, I’m sure Barcelona has brilliant other scenes too offer and a fabulous night life to boast off too! However, since I was there for just half a day this was all that I could capture and end up with the feeling that I wish I had more time. It truly is a city worth exploring every inch of!

Tips of travel: – go for hop on- hop off bus if you want to check off items from your tourist checklist, go for walking tours or self-exploration if you have specific places in mind. Both options are good options and worth the time and money, the only difference is your own interest. Also, the main center point is Pl. Espanya, where there is a big bright information center for tourists – and that is always a good way to start! Most of the shops and even Taxis accept cards, so that is always a good point!

For Madrid and Coslada, wait a little, because Madrid is too beautiful, and I ended up exploring so much of it, that combining it in this article would feel that I am being unfaithful to my time there. And Coslada was more of personal learning experience, but worth sharing. So keep a lookout for the upcoming articles in the ‘three cities in three days series’ and know a little more about Spain – the exotic, liberal sister of India. (Read more about this on our first article on Spain).

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