36 Hours in Barcelona


October 30, 2013 by Keisha || The Girl Next Door is Black

I spent about 36 hours in Barcelona recently. My friend V and I planned a 3-city tour of Spain, and Barcelona was the first stop.

We scrambled at the last minute to find a ride to SFO since the BART strike nixed our original airport-transpo plans. Thank you Lyft, for coming to the rescue!

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! I liked the city already. If a city is down with its citizens freely hanging out with Mary Jane, chances are it’s down with other fun-loving shenanigans, and I enjoy not having to fear getting arrested for some random minor offense I didn’t know was illegal.

However, unlike San Francisco, Barcelona was really humid. The subterranean train stations felt like steam rooms, yet somehow I didn’t feel like I was getting free skin exfoliation.

Highlights and things we learned in Barcelona:

It’s true what they say: the Spanish really do eat late. 

In many US restaurants, at 10pm on a weeknight, they may seat their last customer, if not preparing to close. In Spain, 10pm is when the dinner party is in full swing. 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 younger guy from London who’d been living in Barcelona for three years. His energy and humor made for richer 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

Spain 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 over 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.

8 thoughts on “36 Hours in Barcelona

  1. […] October, a girlfriend and I traveled to Spain for a three-city trip. After Barcelona – the first city on our self-planned tour – we boarded a Vueling flight to head 650 miles […]


  2. cielorasca says:

    Ooh, this just took me back to my Barcelona memories. Loving the pictures!


  3. wocpdxzines says:

    Reblogged this on See Me and commented:
    Wow, I’m ready to pack my bags 🙂


  4. wocpdxzines says:

    Wow, the food looks amazing. I like to eat 🙂


  5. Heidi says:

    Yes…. 4-5 days is about what you need to see Barca… if you want to experience the night life, add a few more days/night so you can sleep in and still see everything. 🙂 I LOVE it!!!


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