After some trouble involving me turning the wrong way on a street, we found the hostel. We had to sit and wait 45 minutes before we were able to check-in because the man behind the desk was doing something else and then a different group of clueless girls had to check-in before us. When we FINALLY were able to go explore the town it was almost 4. We walked along La Rambla, a pedestrian zone with a ton of vendors and street performers and then made our way to La Segrada Familia.
This church rocked. It was like the hippie cousin of the Vatican. The coolest thing about the church is that it is not even done. When it is done, it will rank amoung the tallest churches in the world. Even uncomplete, this church dominates the Barcelona skyline (as we saw the next day). Here are some pictures of the church. Bear in mind it is a work in progress, so there are some cranes and plastic covering some stuff up.
We also went up to what is now the top, but later will only be halfway:
After doing that, we went back to the hostel and then to dinner. It was an early night because we wanted to get a lot done the next day.
We woke up early and went immediately to the coastline. There was a dock system that went out into the port and had good view of Montjuic (The hill we went up later that houses all of the Olympic stuff). It was so pretty there!
There is also a monument to Columbus, Chiristopher. He either is from there, left from there, or gained support there. I am not really sure which.
From there, we walked La Rambla again and headed toward the Gaudi sector of Barcelona. Gaudi is the archetect that built La Segrada Familia. He did pieces all over the city, and one street has 4 of the buildings he built. They are all so unique and different from one another!
This one is by far the coolest, it's like water.
At the end of that walk, we got on a metro (having bought a 10 trip pass) and made our way up the funicular to Montjuic. This was probably the best decision of our day! We started out with seeing the Olmpic stuff. For those of you who were unaware, Braden is obsessed with the Olympics, and since the '92 summer Olympics were here, we were in for a treat. All of the buildings and stadiums were in one area and they had great views.
The '92 torch
From there we walked over to what we assumed was a church but ended up being a museum. It was also home to the end point of a marathon we had seen earlier. This was my second European marathon! Pretty cool stuff. There were some pretty fountains there, too.
After lounging there for a time, I really wanted to see the sea. So, we walked up a huge hill. I mean like, we needed to take a break halfway through it was so steep and long. It was not a fun walk, but it was so worth the reward. We got a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea and were able to do some tanning in the grass on the hill for about an hour. It was so relaxing. I also found super cheap postcards and bought those to send out.
These made music when you stepped on them, Braden loved them.
We walked down the hill and took the funicular down to the metro and then went to the opposite side of Barcelona and up a totally different, but no less steep, hill. This one was really bad and parts even had escalators. It was really an accomplishment to get to the top of that one! It had a better view of the city and from there the sea was in the background! It was also home to more fun creations by Gaudi. Braden says his name fits him, and I think I agree.
Here is the world's largest single park bench!
Also, this guy is on a ton of postcards from Barcelona, and he was really cool.
Here are some more random Gaudi creations.
From there, we went back to the hostel after a long walk back to the metro station. On the way, we found a shotglass for me and a mug from Braden. It was just such a successful day. We wanted to have traditional Spanish cuisine, so we went to one of the places that had outdoor seating and was also still pretty cheap and had tapas and paella. Funny story about that, Braden thought Paella was pronounced "Pallella" like our friend Steph Villella's last name. He keeps saying it now just to make me laugh.
The dinner was really good and when we got back to the hostel I read in the lounge and got so caught up in the book I didn't go to bed until 1!
The next day we were off to Madrid.