Five hours in Barcelona
11:00am - First, chuck all the suitcases into storage right by Placa Catalunya, in a cool little spot called Locker Barcelona. Between 5 and 8 Euros, your bags are stored in a safe, clean place for the day.
12:00pm - A metro and a monstrous uphill walk, aided by several escalators near the top, takes you to Park Guell. It was designed by Antoni Gaudi, whose name is synonymous with Barcelona, between 1900 and 1914. If you've ever seen of photos of Barcelona, you've seen Gaudi's work.
Perv behind me taking the dreaded - and rare - "upshort" photo
The buildings and public sitting areas are covered with hundred of thousands of coloured tiles, basically a huge mosaic.
Once you do make it to the park, you're rewarded with the coolest bench you'll ever sit on, and massive views of the city.
2:00pm - Next, via metro to the Sagrada Familia stop (Barcelona, like Paris, makes it dead easy to get around and see the sights in no time at all), to the church of the same name that also happens to be a Gaudi design.
Despite all the cranes (it's expected to be completed in 2026, the centennial of Gaudi's death), your jaw drops when you see this place. The intricacy of the sculpture work and the sheer scale of the place is amazing. Yes, it does feel somewhat douchey to say "intricacy of the sculpture work", but I am out of descriptive juice at the moment.
What a building. No time to go inside... next time!
2:30pm - Then it's off to lunch at a renowned tapas spot called Tossa - a place made all the more convincing by being A) off the eaten path and B) packed with locals. We received slow, kinda bumbling service that seemed as though they hadn't seen an English-speaking tourist before, but the food made up for it.
With very little time until bus time to the airport, a metro trip to the neighbourhood known as El Born to quickly check out some cool shops was in order. I've been here before, but only at night and in the bars. With a renewed sense of wonder, I felt El Born Again. Wow - a long way to go for a lame one. Sorry.
It's here that you'll find great stuff for men and women that isn't found in every other major tourist center. I bought some boots, which are somewhat out of character. This, as you might have guessed, provided me with something of a new El Born Identity. Again, sorry.
4:00pm - Then, it's back to Locker Barcelona, hauling out the bags, hustling around the corner, hopping on the Aerobus (there's no reason to ever take a cab to the airport; the Aerobus leaves every 10 minutes, it's air-conditioned, and there's tons of room for your baggage) for a mere 5.30Euros, and half an hour later a smooth check-in at Barcelona's airport and a two-hour flight to Amsterdam.