Barcelona, Spain: Port Olímpic

Upon leaving Barcelona’s Olympic Stadium, Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, my sister and I boarded the hop-on/hop-off bus and made our way to Port Olímpic. Before arriving, we passed the Mirador de Colom at the lower end of La Rambla.

This statue of Christopher Columbus (which is said to be the largest in the world) was built in time for the Universal Exposition of Barcelona in 1888, which payed tribute to Columbus’s first trip to the Americas. Seeing as he reported back to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in Barcelona after the trip, it is fitting for the statue to be placed here.

The statue has Columbus pointed with his right hand to the New World, as he holds a scroll in his left hand. However, instead of pointing west, Columbus is actually pointing southeast, which is the direction of his home in Genoa.

As we the bus tour continued, we passed “Gambrinus,” a thirty-two foot lobster, which inspired the mascot for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. We also passed “The Head,” which is a 50 foot sculpture, also designed in time for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

We then drove past La Vila Olímpica del Poblenou by Port Olímpic, which was a residential area the Olympic Village where the olympians stayed during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The area has since been turned into apartment complexes alongside the port (which are much more expensive now than when they were first built for the olympics).

Barcelona, Spain: Arc de Triomf

Once we left La Sagrada Familia, my sister and I decided to stop at a local restaurant for traditional tapas. Tapas are small appetizers or snacks that serve the purpose of helping one get through the difficult time before or in between meals (or at least that’s what I view their purpose as).

As we sat down outside—only a few blocks away from La Sagrada Familia—we couldn’t help but enjoy the beautiful weather and take in the incredible sights around us. It also didn’t hurt that we had delicious snacks in front of us to feast on.

Throughout our time in Spain, I found that sitting down to enjoy tapas allows you to put your busy life on hold and take a few moments for yourself. You aren’t necessarily stuffing your face (unless you order multiple items like we did), but you’re stopping the needless worries around you and putting all of that on hold for just a short while. That is exactly what we did, and it helped us better appreciate the fact that you don’t have to be somewhere unique or special to take some time for yourself to unwind. (But then again, this realization was much better seeing as we were in Barcelona).

After our mid-day snack, we walked back to our hotel to get dressed for our evening activities, but on our way, we came across some more fascinating sights. Barcelona hosted the Universal Exhibition in 1888, and the Arc de Triomf (pictured below),  was built as the main entryway to enter the fair.