Friday, May 29, 2015

Barcelona, Spain: Camp Nou, Torre Agbar, & La Merce

Actual date of this event: 21&22 September

Sunday was our last day in Barcelona. We put on our bathing suites underneath our clothes as we planned to use our metro pass like crazy and then head back to the beach in the afternoon. We took a ride out to Camp Nou first.
Camp Nou is the home of FC Barcelona. As one of the world's most successful soccer/football clubs, it was an amazing stadium! All right, we didn't go inside, but we did walk around the outside which was all shiny and clean looking. Much like an American football stadium :-)

We also took a walk through the shop, which was an experience in and of itself. There were jerseys and balls and water bottles and more galore! There was also a small stadium inside the shop where you could sit and watch an electronic screen show the players and other stuff. It was fun to see the images of some of the star players of the World Cup which happened just a few months prior.

We got back on the metro and took a long ride to Glories where Torre Agbar is located. We kept seeing this building each time we got city views, and we kept calling it the Gherkin (it looks just like London's Gherkin). It is colorful on the outside, but actually has little clear shutters on it which make the colors glisten a bit. The tower is the third largest building in Barcelona.

The area surrounding the skyscraper looked newly built but was very dead on a Sunday afternoon. We could even see La Sagrada Familia towering over the sky. It is crazy to think how much taller it will be when it is completed.

Next, we got on the metro to the beach. We stopped for an afternoon snack at one of the beachside restaurants and relaxed with a few beers. We did some of the best people watching we have ever done, and learned of new toys kids are playing with these days. We actually didn't even go onto the beach because we were too relaxed in our chairs.

Afterward, we went back to the hotel to change for dinner. A few days before, we scoped out a restaurant in L'Eixample that we wanted to try but it was too busy, Cerveceria Catalana. We decided we would head there for dinner and at the same time checkout some of the architecture we viewed on our second day. This was one of the best meals that I have ever had! The tapas were so delicious, we still talk about it to this day and have not found better! I think my favorite thing about the whole experience was that we sat at the tapas counter. We were able to watch the men prepare each plate and make drinks, and it was convenient to order more plates, which we did! We got lucky though because there was a huge line of people waiting, and when we walked in, a couple left the bar so we sat down immediately. No waiting! Anyway, I didn't take a single picture because we were both scarfing it down. After dinner, we walked down Passeig de Gracia looking at the interesting buildings.

Then we wandered our way back home through Barri Gotic. We stumbled upon the craziest La Merce event there is. La Merce is Barcelona's biggest festival, which celebrates the Roman Catholic Feast Day of Our Lady of Mercy. There are many days of events and activities all leading up to the actual feast day on Sept 24. The event most recognizable is The Castellers.
Unfortunately, this event did not take place until after we left Barcelona. It would have been pretty cool to see though! We did, however, see Correfoc which is an insane fire parade. We actually saw a daytime one the day before (probably much more contained)...

...and then the nighttime (probably much more drunkenness). I had read before going to Barcelona to stay as far away as possible or else you and your clothes will get burned. So that's what I did, while taking a video of course, meanwhile Luke snapped some pictures with the zoom lens.

Below is a video from the nighttime craziness.
We saw some coo-coo event at the Castle on Saturday, where a band was playing inside this spinning wheel thing that moved by two guys pedaling. So strange, but also fun :-)
To get the full effect, watch the video below.
La Merce on Sunday was a massive crazy party with loud fireworks popping all night. Somehow we got some sleep and were able to wake up Monday morning. We packed up our bags, and walked our way up to Placa de Catalunya where our airport bus would be. We took our time wandering though and actually passed a few things we hadn't seen yet.

After a while, we hopped on the bus back to the airport and said goodbye to the wonderful Barcelona! We really enjoyed this trip - really really enjoyed it! For us, it was the fact that it has everything anyone could want in a destination - small city, big city, beach, beer, wine, delicious food, unique architecture, sun, great culture, and relaxing but also busy. I am so glad we went for five nights, but amazingly, we did not do everything we wanted. Next time (and we really hope there will be a next time), we will see that fountain show and we will visit La Pedrera/Casa Mila!

Other posts from Barcelona: TeaserArchitectureLa Sagrada Familia & Park GuellBarceloneta & the WaterfrontChurches & MontjuicCamp Nou, Torre Agbar & La Merce

Built in 1957 with an expansion in 1982, Camp Nou is the largest soccer/football stadium in Europe, and the second largest in the world.

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