We find ourselves on our plane taking off from Sabiha Gökçen Airport with the first lights of the morning. The feeling of excitement that we live before every journey, maximizes towards the end, and once again this feeling sparks up our souls. After an approximately 3 hour flight we can see Barcelona down below.
My recommendation for wherever you are visiting is this; make sure you get some prep-work down before you get there. That is learn the city, main bus routes and use a map if you can while doing these. While looking down from where I stand in my plane I can already recognize some buildings and squares from my researches in google maps.
The Barcelona Airport consists of two terminals. We land down to the terminal 2. After a rather quick passport control, we follow the RENFE signs and reach to the train stations. The easiest and cheapest way of getting to the city from the airport in Barcelona is through the RENFE railways. Our hotel is very close to the largest train station in the city; Sants station. After getting off at Sants, we get to our hotel on foot. We leave our stuff at the rooms, and start our tour of the city without losing any more time.
Through the researches I have made prior to coming here, I decided that using the HOHO (hop-on hop-off bus) system would be the most efficient one in touring the city. The HOHO busses are two storied, open air vehicles that have headphones connected to the seats that you can listen to at certain landmarks, and these headphones will give you information about the said landmark. I pre purchased the tickets from the internet before coming to the city, now all I have got to do is to get our tickets printed at one of the HOHO stations. The HOHO s have three main lines throughout the city, red, green and blue. You choose which line you want to go on through the HOHO map, and get on one of the HOHO busses that go through there. You do not pay extra for these hop on and hop offs. You can do as many HOHO’s as you like for three days. Another advantage of getting HOHO tickets is that you will be having a lot of discounts at many of the touristic areas and stores. We used these busses in inter city travel. I strongly ad
vise you to do the same if you are going to stay for at least 3 days in Barcelona.
The easiest and fastest way of getting around in Barcelona is probably the subway. There are 9 subway lines throughout the city, so you can get to any part you want with ease. So make sure that your hotel is close to one of the said subway stations. This is my personal opinion, this rule of mine is applicable to any city that has a reliable and large subway network system.
Our first stop is Barcelona’s largest and one of the most busiest street; built in 1929 and located just near the Montjuic hill, the Placa Espana. Things to see in the square are respectively; the statue near the curve in the road, the Venetian Towers at the side of the MNAC where trade expos are held, and the center of the Barcelona’s bull fighting world the Arenas de Barcelona. Although bullfighting is no longer conducted in Catalan, since one of the things that separates Catalans from the Spanish is that they do not want to accept Bull Fighting as a cultural activity. Other than that Catalans also have their own flag and their own language.
While walking through the Spanish square we head up to the Montjuic Hill. The road is like a half climb, half stairs and half trekking since in Barcelona, everything has been thought beforehand to make the tourists comfortable. Our stop here is the Catalan National Art Museum. I was a bit undecided about whether or not visiting this museum before coming to Barcelona. I even had a little referendum with the team before going in, Mesut said yes, Filiz said yes and Şebnem also said yes… well I am glad thay said yes because this was an amazing place. Our trip through MNAC took about 3 hours.
There are statues of Roman, Renaissance and Baroque style statues along with many paintings, and art objects, a very rich collection. I strongly advise visiting this Museum if you ever find yourself in Barcelona.
We got a bit winded after our museum tour, but fortunately there were many great café’s just in front of the museum entrance, so we decided to take a break. The view of the Café was truly relaxing and serene. We also paid our respect to the musician playing his guitar across the street.
After getting on the HOHO bus at the MNAC stop, we head to the Montjuic Hill which acted as a center during the Barcelona Olympics. After this our next stop is Maremagnum. Margemegnum, is a mall built just at the end of the Barcelona Port. There are 3d cinemas, food courts and even an aquarium inside. We transfer to the red HOHO from here, and head to the east of the marina, to the Mar Bella beach area. It is possible to swim from the Barcelona city center, the beach is of high quality but the services provided at the beach is a bit limited. For instance finding showers or dressing cabins were a problem. Best thing to do is to go back to Hotel after the swimming fun, for showers and some rest. At the end of the first day, we take part in the fountain show that took place at the Montjuic hill, and do a short Las Ramblas tour afterwards. We ate our dinner at around 23:00 just like the Spanish do, although the fatigue of the day gets the best of us and we head back to the hotel.