Just as I expected, my hypothesis was correct! I definitely feel like a tourist in Barcelona. I couldn’t help but notice how often the locals would stare when I snapped selfies. Some of their reactions were priceless, especially when they witnessed a group of college students all individually taking selfies in front of the same landmark. In areas that were particularly dense with tourists, I felt uneasy taking selfies. Due to my unfamiliarity of the landmarks, I felt like a target for pick pocketing. My mapped out route was convenient to follow, almost every destination was a walkable distance away from the next landmark. My classmates, Kasia, Felix, Zarbab and I started north at Gaudi’s statue and ended south by the Casa Batllo. This route allowed me to explore different neighborhoods and their cafes, shops and hot spots along the way. As the days go by, the routes are growing clearer and I am more aware of my surroundings. I use monuments and important architecture as a guide that the selfie project has introduced me with.
Located at Porta del la Finca Miralles stands Antoni Gaudi’s statue. He was a Catalan architect who built iconic structures in Barcelona including the Sagrada Familia which earned him the nickname “God’s Architect”.
The Columbus Monument, located at the end of La Rambla stands tall at 197 ft. This monument was built to honor the first voyage to the Americas. My roommates Stacy, Kasia and Eddie joined me on a 3 mile run to The Columbus before class.
The Sagrada Família, located on Carrer de Sardenya and Carrer de Mallorca is the most visited monument in Spain. Antoni Gaudi started the project in 1883 and was not able to finish construction due to his tragic death of getting hit by a tram in 1926. Today, architects, sculptors and modelers collaborate with Gaudi’s vision to finish construction. The goal is for construction to be completed in 2026.
Casa Mila, built by Antoni Gaudi, is a modernist building and most definitely stands out like a sore thumb compared to the surrounding architecture. Selfies fail to capture its incredible height and unique structure.
This statue is part of the main entrance to the Catalonia Square, a landmark that I pass on my way to class. In the center of the square, there is open space for tourists and locals to admire the beautiful sculptures, fountains and architecture.
The Plaça d’Espanya is one of Barcelona’s most important and largest squares. This is one of my favorite landmarks and it leads to the Magic Fountain and the Catalan Museum.
Casa Batllo, my favorite architectural building in Barcelona, is another masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi. My favorite features of this modernist piece are the skeleton-like balconies and a colorful rooftop that resembles a dragon. During the day, the sunlight reflects off of the tiles, giving the structure a sparkly appearance.
On an Sunday afternoon run, I made it to the Arc de Triomf. The arc was build by Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas and was the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair. There were barricades and tents set behind the arc for a distance cycling event that was taking place earlier that morning.
Built in 1929, The Montjuïc Magic Fountain is one of the most popular attractions in Barcelona. I recommend seeing this landmark both during the day and the night. The fountain, along with the rest of Plaça de Carles Buïgas, is lit up with an amazing array of colors.
Gabriel, the doorman to our apartment at Balmes, has been living in Barcelona all of his life. Although we had a language barrier, he was excited to hear that I was from Chicago. He has never been there, only seen the beautiful views on TV.
// ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ARE EDITED //