If you want to experience one of the most beautiful beaches in the world by yourself — go at 6am. After a long night of travel, the alarm was a rather unwelcome sound. However, I had been promised a beach sanctuary in a mixture of Spanish and English, so I pried myself from my present coziness. The ride there was quiet and sleepy, full of expectations for a regular trip to the beach. It was already humid out with an emanate cloud covering. Maybe 6AM is too early to swim. On your average beach day, it probably is. As I passed under a low bridge, an ethereal sight glassed over my eyes. I couldn’t be barefoot quickly enough — tiny silky golden sand grains pressed against my feet. I waited in the sand for several minutes, looking out across the refreshing teal mass of water leading to the edge of the world. The Mediterranean Sea is proper nice. You can float in the Mediterranean Sea without really trying. No matter how far out you go, you can see your toes and the bottom of the ocean. And you can lay, right there on the surface of the entire ocean and watch the clouds pass by for hours — and I recommend that you do.
A walking tour through Barcelona provides opportunities that a bus tour simply does not. Beginning in the central area of the city, Placa de Catalunya, a walk down the famous street La Rambla will take you past shops, restaurants and various vendors. A tourist attraction in its own right, La Rambla is a wonderful introduction to the sights and effervescent culture and atmosphere of Barcelona. One cannot take a walk through the city and not see architecture masterpieces such as the Casa Batllo by Antoni Gaudi. Seemingly on every corner and street you walk down there is another beautiful building that will stop you in your tracks. Wander northeast of the city center and you’ll encounter even more of what makes Barcelona one of the cities with the most character — La Sagrada Familia, another masterpiece by Gaudi that has been in the process of being built since 1882. To the east of La Rambla lies the Gothic Quarter of the city. In stark contrast with the more modernized areas of the city, entering into the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona seemingly takes you to a different place in time. Enter through a narrow side street off of La Rambla and an almost other worldly feeling washes over you. Surrounded by a sea of towering gray walls and intricate carvings and statues, the Gothic Quarter is somewhat eery. Upon wandering through the labyrinthine narrow streets that suddenly open up into a square with fountains and detailed building fronts, you will be struck with surprise that there are people here, simply enjoying their daily lives of plopped down at a tiny street cafe. This part of the city looks as if it should be sparse with people, a far cry away from the bright liveliness of the heart of the city, just a few streets away. Come across the magnificent 13th century Gothic Barcelona Cathedral and take in the intricate details of the exterior facade that includes mythic gargoyles. Sit on the steps and watch the charm of Barcelona dance by. This lively square is often filled with street performers as well as tourists and locals alike.
For many visitors I’m sure, Barcelona has a certain quality that awakens the spirit. The sheer history, character, delicious food and culture — not to mention the beaches settled right on the Mediterranean Sea — Barcelona has it all.