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We made it to Barcelona without incident and hopped on the Aerobus – an inexpensive shuttle to the city center and various Metro stops. As we exited the Metro station that first night on our way to the hotel, the familiar smell of ganja smoke wafted past us, not just once, but a few times. I gave my friend a knowing look. It’s like home in San Francisco!
However, unlike San Francisco, Barcelona was really humid. The subterranean train station felt like a steam room, yet somehow I didn’t feel like I was getting free skin exfoliation.
Humidity aside, Spain’s cosmopolitan capital city is definitely worth a visit and we made the most of our 36 hours in Barcelona.
It’s true what they say: the Spanish really do eat late.
The hot time to arrive at dinner in Spain appears to be sometime between 9:15pm and 10:20pm (or 21:15pm and 22:20pm in the spirit of the country).
That first night, we grabbed a (late for us) dinner at Paco Meralgo, a tapas bar and tavern in the Eixample district.
It’s probably a good idea to buy tickets early to visit La Sagrada Familia
By the time we arrived at the tourist-magnet, Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia church, the line was days long…if you didn’t buy tickets online.
Ham is kind of a big thing
We visited La Boqueria, an open-air market in the center of the city and we saw ham, ham and more ham.
A walking tour is the way to go
Many cities offer free walking tours and Barcelona is one of them. It’s a great way to get a condensed history lesson and see the sights the city is known for. Our tour guide was a young guy from London who’d been living in Barcelona for three years. His energy and humor made for rich tales. Along with us on the tour were couples from London and Denmark, an Aussie duo and a trio of girls from Mexico.
Art is everywhere
Barcelona doesn’t mess around with its art. Even things you think aren’t art, are art. You’re walking on the sidewalk and the tour guide tells you, “Oh, by the way, you just stepped on a Miro work.” Well, damn. I don’t expect to find intricate mosaics beneath my feet on the daily! What other groundart have I been missing?
The buildings look magnificent at night
There is so much more to see in Barcelona and I only hit a fraction of it. Another 24-36 hours would probably have been sufficient. Lack of time notwithstanding, I consumed enough of Barcelona to decide that it’s a dynamic, artful and cosmopolitan city. I get why people love it.
- Here’s How Sagrada Familia Will Look When It’s Finally Done In 2026 (gizmodo.com)
- My Top 10 Things to do and see in Barcelona, Spain! (awardtravelpoints.com)