Round the world - city #2: Barcelona

Between meeting friends in NY and London I had two spare days, and having never been to Spain before, and making feeble attempts in the past to pick up some of the language, I thought I'd spend those two in the seaside city of Barcelona - home to the Spanish F1 and the current #1 soccer club in the world.
I was staying at a hotel up Montjuic, a very green hill just south of the main town area, and so could look down over the densely packed flat city flowing from neighboring hills down to what seemed an active Mediterranean port (both for tourists and shipping).
One thing that others had told me to check out, and that really struck me in Barce was the Gaudi architecture, including the most famous Sagrada Familiar pictured above (click to enlarge) - the unfinished cathedral with thousands of little building details everywhere to be seen (and is nearly complete now it's being worked on again!). So my first day was a 5-hr walk to see it and various other interesting sites, including Park Guell, Casa Batllo (both Gaudi), and the popular walkway La Rambla.
The following day I headed in the opposite direction, further up the hill towards the site of the 1992 Olympics plus Barcelona's botanic gardens, and the impressive Castell de Monjuic (above), a Catalan fortification and execution site for Lluis Companys, a leader in the Spanish civil war.
Probably the most interesting thing I found walking around the city itself was the huge difference between the small, personal city layout common in Europe (~6 story buildings, very narrow roads, mostly foot/scooter traffic, lots of small shops) compared to that of New York. It's hard to know what it'd be like to live in, but externally it was really nice to walk around - and I can certainly say the Spanish have mastered the art of the architectural facade - everywhere you looked was impressive building fronts.
Overall, despite having much of my stuff stolen from my hotel room (but nothing required to travel!), I'd definitely be keen to revisit for a little while longer to see further away from the city - maybe before heading out on a ship into the Mediterranean... Next city up: London.

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