The view from inside the first of my two accommodations in Barcelona.

The view from the staircase of the first of my two accommodations in Barcelona.

Camp Nou, the stadium of one of the most popular soccer teams in the world, Barcelona Football Club (BFC).

A tour group at BFC.

Statue of a famous BFC footballer.

Where BFC trains.

Beauty is all over Barcelona. Even when you’re just walking around and not trying to look for it.

A park in Barcelona.

Look at the bottom left of the sign: no playing soccer in the park. Apparently, this city loves soccer so much, if there isn’t a sign telling them not to play soccer in a scenic park, they’ll do it.

This was at the top of the hill that the park sat on.

Another sign telling people not to play soccer next to a beautiful fountain.

Another beautiful fountain in the park… with another “no playing soccer” sign.

I stumbled upon a movie being filmed – the classic scene of two old men playing chess in the park!

La Sagrada Família, designed by one of the world’s most famous architects, Antoni Gaudí. They started construction of this building in 1882. They’re hoping to be finished in 2026. According to one conservative estimate, it will have cost the Catholic Church $1 billion to build. Apparently, spending more than 140 years and $1 billion to build a church is more important to the Catholic Church than spending that time, energy, and money on feeding the homeless (or preventing pedophiles from working for the Catholic Church).

A beautiful fountain at night.

Yes, this is what you think it is – a restaurant in Barcelona that’s named after Barrack Obama. For the record, no, I definitely did NOT go in there!

I played foosball with a Chinese guy against two Spaniards. They absolutely shredded us! Really, they have skills that I’ll never have, and I’ve played a LOT of foosball! Notice the players are made out of iron and that their feet are separated, not together and flat like you’d normally see. Also, the table was slanted towards the middle. It was quite tricky to play on.

Drinking beers around the world, I’ve noticed that when you see an IPA, often the bottle will boast that it’s a “New England IPA”. If you see a pale ale, the label will boast that it’s an “American Pale Ale”.

The Arc de Triomf at night (scroll down to see a pic of it during the daytime).

I saw lots of these while walking around Barcelona – seemingly random busts and statues just sitting next to a building.

I wouldn’t recommend this bar – not because there’s actually nothing libertine going on inside, but because everything is extremely overpriced.

Small, intimate restaurants with adventurous menus can be found throughout the back alleys of Barcelona. This one had a very unique way of getting soap on your hands. Do you see the cylinder hanging on the wall to the right? That’s the soap, so I had to… um… grab it like a… um… ya know… and uh… stroke it to get the soap. Creative, yes, but also creepy.

I saw more schools teaching English in Spain than anywhere else in Europe. Clearly, there’s a really big demand to learn the language. This one had the best name 🙂

The view of Barcelona from the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic 1 of 8)

The Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic 2 of 8)

Inside the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic 3 of 8)

The view of Barcelona from the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic 4 of 8)

The Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic 5 of 8)

A panoramic view of Barcelona from the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic 6 of 8)

The view of Barcelona from the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic 7 of 8)

My amazing hosts Cesar and Erika (left) and their friend from Brazil, Bruna (right), at the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (pic 8 of 8) I miss you guys so much!

The Arc de Triomf in the daylight (scroll up to see a pic of it at night).

A walkway near The Arc de Triomf.

A puppeteer working for tips near The Arc de Triomf.

A monument near The Arc de Triomf.

A band playing for tips near The Arc de Triomf.

Monument to Jaume Garriga I Miquel, a national hero who was one of the leaders of the Glorious Revolution in 1868.

The inscription on Jaume Garriga I Miquel’s monument.

Barcelona isn’t just filled with old, beautiful buildings, they have new ones, too. I found it interesting that this one has a sloped patch of grass next to it. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen that before. Very creative.

While I was walking through Barcelona, I found this pick up game near sunset, so I stopped to watch for a while. An important side note: all of the signs at this park were in Catalan, not Spanish. Many grocery stores also use Catalan instead of Spanish. These are more examples of how Catalonians view themselves as separate from Spain. These differences further fuel the growing Catalonian independence movement.

Beach volleyball at night.

Sculpture near the beach.

Parents watching their kids play soccer on a beautiful Friday night.

On a Friday night, I decided to go for a walk towards the beach and explore Barcelona (that’s where the last several pics are from). When I got to the beach, I searched for events on Facebook to see if there was anything interesting going on. I found a metal show that was only a 15 minute walk from where I was. This would become another example of how “not planning” can lead to awesome results. I had plenty of time to get dinner nearby and get to the show. Because the show was only €5 and only local Barcelona bands were playing, I had low expectations. Boy was I wrong! The three bands that played were absolutely amazing – Stained Blood, Expel the Grace, and Red Raw. Most of the people in attendance were wearing tshirts and hoodies from their favorite American and European metal bands. These people really knew their metal! What a pleasant surprise. I bought two of their CDs, let a roommate copy the music, and gave my host the CDs. Good times! … except for the part where I hurt my elbow in the pit. As I’m typing this two months later, it still hurts a little. It’ll probably require surgery to fix someday. That’ll have to wait until I get back to The States. (pic 1 of 5)

The metal show (pic 2 of 5)

The metal show (pic 3 of 5)

The metal show (pic 4 of 5)

The metal show (pic 5 of 5)

I wish I remembered the name of this place. It was complete and total chaos! My hosts and roommates said it’s always like this, all day, every single day. You have to push your way through the crowd, somehow find a way to order (sandwiches, cheese, wine, etc), they pass the food to you, then you pass it to your group, and all of the customers are on the honor system to pay after eating! No chairs, no tables, not even a bar rail to set your things on. Somehow, it all works and people love it! Good times 🙂

I met up with some new friends here. I thought it was interesting that in a country where reminders of the strength of Catholicism are everywhere, there’s also a small business called Satan’s Coffee Shop. Some metal kids came in later and had some food and coffee. I wonder if it was because of the name of the business or the food and drink! (pic 1 of 2)

Satan’s Coffee Shop (pic 2 of 2)

Ugh! Sorry, I can’t remember where this was in Barcelona. Still, I thought the arena and monument were beautiful, so here ya go 🙂

Inside L’Ateneu Barcelonés (a private, cultural center) is the oldest, working elevator in Barcelona (pic 1 of 4)

The oldest, working elevator in Barcelona (pic 2 of 4)

The oldest, working elevator in Barcelona (pic 3 of 4)

The oldest, working elevator in Barcelona (pic 4 of 4)