Barri Gotic y El Born
When it was time for Michelle to return to the states, we sadly bid farewell, and I set off to continue my exploration of yet unseen parts of Barcelona. I was as happy as a pig in you-know-what wandering around the Barrio Gótic (Gothic Quarter) and El Born, two very cool barrios of Barcelona. I visited el Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (National Arts Museum, aka MNAC), housed inside the Palau Nacional, an Italian-style palace-like structure. Situated waaaay up on a hilltop (requiring no less than 3 escalators and even more stair climbing on top of that), it provides stunning 360 views of all of Barcelona. Meandering down the back side of the hill took me through the elaborate gardens and then into yet another eclectic neighborhood, full of cafes and local hang-outs, including a great little hole-in-the-wall - Chupitos. This is my favorite kind of place!
By this time, I had officially mastered the Metro as well, which is no small feat, but once understood, proves to be a most efficient, clean and well-planned subway system. Good job Barcelona!
El Born is a fabulous up-and-coming neighborhood nestled between the Gothic Quarter and Parc Ciutadela. Some of Barcelona's best art galleries, funkiest boutique shops, yummiest tapas bars are hidden away here in what was once an unknown little fisherman village, but has now become one of the trendiest neighborhoods of Barcelona.
A bustling fishing village due to its close proximity to the port, the fisherman built what has become a famous and magnificent church - La Basilica de Santa María del Mar.
Once in the Gothic Quarter, I easily found La Catedral de Barcelona - Pla de la Seu, yet another breathtakingly beautiful masterpiece of architecture...
...and was treated to a personal concert by a talented harpist in the alley...