Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Barcelona: Of Sun,Sea,Sand and finding a Hero

With a lot of ground to cover in just three days in Barcelona, it was imperative for us to visit the Barceloneta area once we arrived from Madrid.On that balmy afternoon a bit weary from the 4 hrs train ride from Madrid, we made our way by metro to Barceloneta. A short walk from the metro stop of Barceloneta lead us to the harbour that borders the Meditteranean sea. Numerous sailboats dot the waterfront along with the huge shopping mall Maremagnum. Here, one can leisurely walk along the harbour and be treated with the best view of sunset over the Catalan capital. 

View of the sailboats and the Meditteranean Sea

The area seems to be a favorite place of tourists and locals alike, evident by the numerous joggers pounding the pavement, tourists slowly walking and whipping out their cameras (us included), locals lounging in the grassy area enjoying the soft golden rays of the late afternoon sun and young lovebirds smooching beneath the docks.Not only locals and tourists do the seafront attract but also petty thieves, we have been warned twice while walking along the harbor to take care of our belongings and the cameras slung over our necks. When you tire from all the walking there are a lot of Paella restaurant in the Barceloneta area just make sure to use google maps so you won't find yourself lost or for the more obvious option Maremagnum is a stone's throw away and it offers several options of fastfood joints and restaurants that can fit any budget

Near the end of the harbor one will notice the hill that towers over Barcelona called Montjuic. A ride in the funicular (Funicular de Montjuic) in the Paral.lel metro and a scenic cable car ride will bring you up to the Montjuic castle. The castle used to be a military fortress that have seen its share of battles and political prisoners. A few months before his execution, Dr. Jose Rizal was incarcerated in the Montjuic castle on his way to Cuba and from Barcelona was transported back to Manila.

Now,  a room/cell is named after Rizal  (Sala 17 Jose Rizal) in honor of the national hero of the Philippines and the castle serves as the perfect vantage point for a panoramic view of city of Barcelona from the waters of the Meditteranean to the steeples of the Sagrada Familia.
A panoramic view of the Barceloneta are from Castell de Montjuic
Montjuic is huge and it goes beyond the castle, one can actually spend a whole day in Montjuic visiting the grand Palau Nacional, the Olympic Stadium that was used during the Barcelona Olympics, the elaborate Font Magica with its fountain and light show, the picturesque Spanish village of Poble Espanyol and the morbidly charming Cemeteri del Sud-Oest.
The sun setting over the Catalan capital taken from Castell de Montjuic

How to get here: Take the metro to Barceloneta station. Follow the signage to the waterfront.

How to get here: Take the metro to Paral.lel, do not go out of the metro and look for the signage to the Funicular de Montjuic.
Take the cable car to get to the Montjuic castle (Castell de Montjuic)


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