Actually I have tried to write this post twice now, once in Barcelona hotel and once in Dublin after returning, but both times, publishing crash. I try once more, hopefully it will work.
To begin with, its an impressive city :), no surprises there. Offcourse, if I could speak spanish, it would be much more fun. It was my first trip to Spain, and now I'm debating which language course to join during summer ie. French or Spanish. I think I'll give Spanish first try :).
We did pretty much most of the touristy stuff in the city (next time, some local stuff). One thing which stands out in Barcelona is the architecture of the city. First thing which I noticed was, the buildings, all around, were much taller taller than rest of european cities I have seen, min. 5-7 stories. And secondly lot of architecture is heavily influenced by genius of architect and designer Antoni Gaudi and his work can be seen all around the city.
And no trip to Barcelona would be complete without visiting atleast one of Gaudi's work esp. Sagrada Familia (or El Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família). Its quite a magnificient building and the design inspiration of using nature's shapes into his work. As its still unfinished and inside its still a construction site, which was bit disappointing but nonetheless, its brilliant.
We also visited Casa Batlló, which in my opinion would be the work of Gaudi's style and modernism. Its so detailed in design that would amaze you, don't forget to take the listening guide along to know about each an every section of the building and how much thought and detail Gaudi has put in restoring it, the shapes, the design, natural ligthing, natural ventilation etc.
I like the design of the ceiling on the pic cool, isn't it the coolest design you have seen :) .. great work
Our next stop for Gaudi's work was Park Guell, high above the city and gives stunning views of the city and park itself is a network of naturally twisted pathways and buildings. Def. worth the visit. Ah La Casa Mila is another fav. tourist destination thou the lines were never-ending.
Also, beware and avoid eating n drinking on this street (i think its called Passieg de Gracia), they will totally rip you off for food which you should anyway avoid. Better try stores around or nearby smaller streets, much better value for money and good quality.
I'm not a big fan of museums, not becoz I don't like art, but I feel trapped :) and sorta forced upon to see it by myself. Anyway, Barcelona has so much to offer in terms of museums, arts, culture. We went to see the Museum of Contemporary Art, which was quite good. Our friends also visited the Picasso Museum, I didn't so can't say much, but they said its was ok.
Palau-de-Musica-de-Catalyunia is another site to visit. We went to see Spanish Folk music concert there. The normal tourist gudied tours were booked for 3/4 days in advance. And i think its better to see a concert in there than just a site visit. It has an amazing glass roof, which they don't let you take pictures off :). But there are places of eaveryone's taste.
No trip is complete without visiting the main city cathedral, which for Barcelona is Cathedral of Barcelona. Its a quite big from inside and has Gothic architecture. More here.
Def. not to miss. And even more so the surrounding areas of the cathedral are called the Gothic Quarter with small alleys and paths. Very good to spend some time walking, window shopping, or just having a good tapas. Highly recommended.
Another nice part of town to visit is the sea front, I miss something of that sort in Dublin. Its quite nice during day or night, depending what you want to do. During day its has nice resturants, markets, shopping or at night, leisurely walk or some night life with pubs and clubs nearby.
Not to miss, the La Ramblas Street, the main street to the city, and its amazing how it changes its character from day to evening to night. It has lots of pubs, clubs, food joints, etc. and extra stuff you may wish to try ;).
I can keep on going, I would try finish off about the visit to Montjuïc, one of the two mountians, the other one being Tibidabo, you can go to them with a cable car if you don't wish to walk. We went to Montjuïc and the castle on top and it has amazing views of the city & the harbour. While returning, you can also go to the Olympic village and stadium and the Museum of Joan Miro, both not to miss.
Ah, this post won't be complete without the mention of FC Barca / Barcelona, one of the best teams in football and with the history like that, if you are football fan, you can't miss the Camp Nou or FC Barca Stadium (esp. before its being completly renovated by Norman Foster). We went there and it was one of the highlights of the trip :) and we took a very worth guided tour of the stadium.
Finally don't miss all the good sea food and other spanish food like tapas, etc.
Enjoy your trip!!