Everytime I come to Barcelona there is something new to see. That is one of the reasons that I love this city so much. There is an energy about this city that you cannot find in every city. Barcelona is a very artistic city in the heart of the region of Catalunya. Barcelona is to me a smaller version of New York City. Obviously New York City is a city like no other, but so is Barcelona. It has an ability to appeal to a variety of people.
Each neighborhood in Barcelona is unique to itself. There is a large international seen in Barcelona, which adds to its flair as cosmopolitan city. Walking down the street you will hear a variety of languages from around the world, including Catalán of course, which is the local language.
The food, music, and nightlife of Barcelona leaves most everybody with lasting memories and a strong urge to return. One might say you get the Barcelona fever. When I have left in the past it is always a bitter-sweet feeling, and I always hope that I’ll return.
This has been the shortest period of time that I have ever stayed in in the city so I have been rushing to get to see new things and redo old things that I love to do in Barcelona. I started by making a pass by the Sagrada Familia to check out the progress that they have made in a year as that was the last time that I was here. The Sagrada Familia is a one of a kind church designed by the architecture Gaudi. The Sagrada Familia has been under construction for more than one-hundred years and it still has more to go. I do not think that they have started on the largest part. Gaudi’s work is also featured in other neighborhoods around Barcelona and can be noted architecturally for its distinct shapes and colors. Another of Gaudi’s famous tributes is Barcelona’s Park Guell. Park Guell is built on a hill, which over looks the city and sea. From the top you can see many of Barcelona’s famous landmarks.
After enjoying the works of Gaudi, I headed over the city’s center near Plaza de Catalunya. Plaza de Catalunya lies at the heart of Barcelona’s main attractions. From the Plaza you can quickly get to Montjuic, La Rambla, Barrio Gotico, Plaza Rieal, and the beach or port. I typically like to start with the Plaza and make my way to other things from there.
Arriving last night, the first hostel that I stayed at was Urbany Hostel on Passeig de Gracia. Equity Point is a chain of hostels with locations in several countries and additionally multiple hostels in Barcelona. They are quality and offer lots of amenities such as bars, common area, and sometimes a rooftop terrace as mine did. Equity Point Centric is well located and less than a 5-10 minute walk from Plaza de Catalunya.
For the next two nights in Barcelona, I moved to a hostel outside of the center, right next to Park Guell. It is located in a quiet neighborhood that is very ‘Catalán’ or local as I would say. Properly named in Catalán, the hostel is called Mar de Déu de Montserrat. This has turned out to be one of the most beautiful hostels that I have stayed in. I was so impressed upon entering that I felt as if I were in the Alhambra.
Mar de Déu de Montserrat has an interesting history. In fact, it only became a hostel, or albergue, in 1983. It was original built for the Marsans family as a center for financial activities. Finished in 1907, it was surely a stand out building among the others in the region. During the Spanish Civil War, which began in 1936, it temporarily served as a hospital and a barracks for the Moorish forces. Following the war, it served as a center for social activities ranging from use by monks to a center for the social assistance of children. It was finally donated to the public in 1983 and became one of the first hostels (el primero albergue de Barcelona) in Barcelona. I feel privileged for the experience of staying here.
I finished off the afternoon doing some site-seeing of the city and taking some pictures before retiring to my hostel to catch up on some needed rest.
Did you know that I am current on tour with REAJ.com of Spain? I am traveling to different hostels and albergues around Spain that are affiliated with Hostelling International and getting to see other cities as well. I have been fortunate to be able to use Alsa Bus to get to many of my destination as I receive a discount through using my Hostelling International card. Something that you can do also. The card is cheap it will get you discounts to all Hostelling International hostels in the world as well as a 15% discount on all Alsa bus tickets!