It is said that Barcelona is one of the most exciting cities in the world. On first arrival there were only hints of this, but as the coach further into the city its true colours were shining gloriously. I couldn't be sure if it was the fast street entertainment or the immense amount of shoppers and traffic, but either way my pulse was pumping because of this electrifying city.
My excuse for being in this exhilarating environment is a day trip to the big city everyone talks about. My accommodation was situated in a coastal town named Salou, roughly one hours drive from Barcelona. My hotel was called hotel "Cleopatra", a nice but relatively insignificant next to this manic metropolis. As my accommodation was over an hour away I was anticipating a good day out and so far things looked set to be going that way.
Approaching the city centre now, I notice two extremes of Barcelona's busy life. The first are apparent to be the wealthy, designer labelled snobs who frown upon and grace no pity towards the other forgotten race that that are the remorseful tramps. It seemed that the rest of the city was moving forward so blindingly fast that that these endless vagabonds are left in a sea of no hope. However, in an action so hypocritical to whom I just accused, we deliberately admire a crumbling sculpture to move on swiftly past the swarm of homeless Spaniards.
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Our first objective of the trip is to get a topless bus around the city. We vaguely made out the attempt at English from the operator, which did seem to be a recurrence throughout the day, demanding of us, "four people, 68 Euros!" You've got to be joking!! However at this point we didn't really have much choice as this was the only real way we could ever get a good old gander at the sites of the city. So despite the outrage, me, my Girlfriend, her Mum and her Dad decide to give it a go. The bus was certainly filled with most British, yet the navigator on the microphone never thought to attempt a spot of English, no, strictly Spanish. Nevertheless we could still view the sites and scenery, if of course we hadn't of taken poor advice in which we asked for the route which takes us past the illustrious Barcelona Cathedral, but never did we actually see the magnificent building. At least, not from closer than half a mile away viewed on a hilltop.
The one truly satisfying thing about this exhilarating experience was that from inside the topless bus the sun came beaming down on us in which I believe I turned about 5 different shades from white to brown within a matter of two and half hours.
On departure of our trip that proved a somewhat anti climax situation, I felt a large overpowering sigh of relief come across me, and a look around made an impact and my original feelings of the day that was the anticipation of the new city ahead of me. Fresh air? No block buildings? No traffic and insane amounts of shoppers?? We had reached a completely different part of Barcelona which we had looped around the city to get to it in the bus, but we had ended up perhaps ten minutes from the city centre. We couldn't even feel that it was Barcelona, it felt like Spain, which seemed like so much different. This was certainly more the family side of the city as it had many more family shops and attractions, and not to mention families. Yes, this part of the city was giving me the holiday feeling that the closed up, claustrophobic busy mainstream of the city wasn't.
This new side of Barcelona creates a new feeling of ease and I finally find why this so highly rated city gets the praise that it does, and is so renowned worldwide as a hotspot for any age or type. It was almost as if there were two separate cities mixed in together to make the ultimate holiday destination, with a family attraction to the city being just a 10 minute drive from a busy and unpredictable centre, its bound to be that. Such a huge variation in tourist attraction is no doubt how this city rakes in millions upon millions of pounds through the tourism industry, making it Barcelona's key and its largest impact on the cities economy.
My favourite attraction from the whole experience was stumbled upon at about mid afternoon and was a stones throw away from where we departed with the bus. I stared at first, mesmerised at the colossal once used Olympic Stadium. From the outside I witnessed it to be a enormous display of architectural genius used subtlety to emphasise the home of the flame once held within. As I leave the magnificent Stadium in which we were not allowed to enter, I felt like I could spend all afternoon with the satisfaction that I am butterflied with at the moment. No sooner said than done we ended up in that very place where we started off originally, but somehow I managed to appreciate it a lot more than I did as a first impression.
It now occurs to me that these two parts of the cities are maybe simply complimenting the other to combine creating a worldwide holiday destination. However there are many reasons I would tell a holiday maker contemplating where to go to not travel to this big city, but there are so many reasons more why I would tell them to book it for Barcelona. After a hectic day we made it back to Salou at around nine thirty when I came to my conclusion on my day. I felt that as busy and difficult as Barcelona was, it was worth every minute and is not a day to miss out on, whoever you are.
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