Barcelona – from disgust to my favorite city
Are you done securing your flights to Spain? Is everything set for your much awaited holiday? Well, just before you fly to this well-loved city, allow me to give you so many reasons why tourists can’t help but fall in love with Barcelona!
What comes to your mind when you hear the word Barcelona? Maybe Gaudí. Maybe La Rambla. Or maybe Sagrada Familia. But when I hear Barcelona, the first thing I think of is MY FAVOURITE CITY. Yes, now I just absolutely adore Barcelona. But my opinion changed massively since the first time I visited. It was July 2004. Me, a friend (the same one who went hitchhiking with me to Madrid when I ended up in Italy instead of Spain) and my boyfriend (the one looking exactly like Ian Somerhalder – why the heck did I break up with him?!?!) took a road trip to Catalunya.
From Olomouc, Czech Republic where all three of us used to live at the time, across the country, Germany, France and finally Barcelona. 26 hours. I guess I don’t have to say more about the trip itself. The plan was to find a job for 2 months. But life changes, right? So just holidays. We did not have any hotel booked, just spent 18 days sleeping at the beach, campings (for free) and in tent everywhere possible. We were changing the place to stay over almost every night so no one could actually kick us out as it’s not legal to sleep at the beach in Barcelona.
It was the hell of an adventure, trust me. I will never forget cooking lunch at Burger King car park, jumping over the fence to the camping site to have a hot shower and enjoy swimming pool at night, waking up at the beach by a dog licking my face or even worse, by naked old all-wrinkled men when by accident we put over sleeping bags at nude beach, but most of all I will always remember watching sunrise at the beach just from ‘bed’ and then fall asleep again for a bit. During 18 days we explored 80 km of the coast a couple of times, all the towns from Barcelona to Lloret de Mar, such as Badalona, Montgat, El Masnou, Mataró, Arenys de Mar, Canet de Mar y Pineda de Mar.
All the experience was better than great, but like I said I did not like Barcelona itself at all at the beginning. It was typical ¡que asco! for me. One of my first impressions of the capital of Catalunya was just disgusting. Full of smog, it was really smelly in the morning, the clouds were quite low and they had a weird kind of pink, orange and grey colour. I seriously hated it in early morning hours.
Then all the traffic jams, bicycles, scooters and motorbikes absolutely everywhere. Some areas of the city (even in the center) were so filthy and with homeless people annoying you all the time to give them spare change. Sometimes too overcrowded.Very dangerous place, too. Saw many thieves and many people being robbed till once a guy stole my handbag as well. Thank God he just took the phone, the wallet and debit card, and left all the rest with passport, an expensive watch and a lot of silver jewelry. So he left me with no money and the holiday was over. We went back to Czech Republic 2 days after.
But then very quickly I changed my opinion and I realized how beautiful Barcelona is. Now a big part of my heart belongs to this Gaudí’s city. Barcelona has it all. Nice beaches, great history, breath-taking views, tasty food, cheap accommodation, all the shops you can imagine, many parks to relax, pubs and clubs, precisely decorated buildings, is a good place for sports … I’m sure everyone can find here what he likes. I’m wondering what exactly makes me so happy every time when I’m in Barcelona. I guess, it’s all I mentioned above together with the atmosphere and having some good friends there.
So far it’s the only place I’ve been to, where I could imagine living for a longer time, i.e. more than a year or so. Since 2004 I go back to Barcelona every year. We made it a habit with my best friend – at least once a year a couple of days there. Usually before the summer to enjoy the first sunbeams and not overcrowded beaches. In 2010 I enjoyed Barcelona even 5 times. I know the streets by heart now.
I know where to go shopping and where to relax. After so many times in Barcelona, I still find it stunning and each time I visit, there is something new to see plus it’s still cool to see everything again doesn’t matter if I’ve seen it 3 or 100 times already. It’s a city of never-ending possibilities. And just to be in Barcelona makes me superhappy. That’s why my first disgust about Barcelona disappeared completely and it became my favourite city. If you want to know what to visit in Barcelona, you’ll find at least 30 must see’s in Barcelona.