My New Adventure in Barcelona
18 Oct 2017
I think we all know that Barcelona is one of the most famous cities in Spain, a city so popular around the world that is difficult not to miss it, especially if you’re a soccer fan. I also knew about this city since a long time ago when I visited it for the first time in 2010 and since then I felt a unique attraction towards this city at the north-east of Spain.
Since I know that most of you know the main things to do in this city (I know that there is so much abundance of information online about Barcelona, that I will skip the tour guide info). The information I’m about to share it’s different from what’s typically described in tourist guides, due to my adventurous spirit I can bring you the following story and images for your entertainment.
I would like to share some of my adventures in this wonderful city in Spain and the unique happenings that I’ve experienced so far, some of them about fun things to do and some others about national conflicts. I would also like to emphasize that everything I share is from my own point of view; the best way to experience is by trying it yourself, my stories are here to inspire you to do so anyways.
Walk around the city
For all of you who haven’t been in Barcelona I will tell you a little secret: the city is not as big as it seems and the main places can be visited by foot and for those who are lazier there’s still the option to take the metro, which will take you to all the main places very easy. Public transportation in the city is efficient and easy to access. My advice is to adventure and walk around in the city center, which is basically everything that surrounds La Rambla, the chance that you will stumble upon a monument or important museum is higher than you imagine. What I also recommend is to take a free walking tour, which you can find in pages such as meetup.com or couchsurfing.com; these walking tours are usually guided by locals who know the ins and outs of the city and who can tell you unique information to make your adventure more enjoyable.
The annual celebration of La Merced
Before arriving in Barcelona I was already aware of this local celebration, I got the information by searching for activities to do in Barcelona that involve experiencing the local side of the city. The annual celebration of La Merced happens every end of September in Barcelona, there are several concerts on the streets, parties everywhere and the city is full of lively events happening all over. One enjoyable activity that I discovered was the dragons’ parade and drum bands, which pretty much resembles a carnival on the main streets of the city.
Another night time activity which you can see on the photos below are the Correfocs; which consists of locals dressing as devils and playing with fireworks on the streets, each group is accompanied by a drum band and one specific dragon; for this activity it’s recommended to wear old clothes in case your clothes get burned by the fireworks. During these days of festivities some locals decorate their streets with a specific theme in which in each of them you can find music, food and many people enjoying their time with neighbors and visitors.
The independence of Catalonia movement
Events that are affecting the city lately are the rallies on the streets where people go out and claim their support for the independence from Spain. Apparently there has been a situation happening in the past years which has been escalating more and more each year; Catalonia has been asking for their independence, because they consider that they’ve been treated unfairly by Spain (I won’t go into detail but you can do your own research about it). There are always two sides to a story and personally I’m just an observer in this case.
There’s also a part of the population that don’t want the independence; this has resulted in many protests on the streets from both parts and conflicts with the Catalonian people against the Spanish police and vice versa. There was even a referendum taken place on the 1st of October where the city was paralyzed and where there was a lot going on in Barcelona. Besides the negative side these big events also involve many free concerts of local artists on the streets of Barcelona, the celebration of La Merced took place in the middle of these conflicts of independence and it was interesting to see how people in Barcelona celebrated the annual festivities while being in the middle of it.
Besides these events Barcelona is a touristic hotspot for many people around the world, thus the conflicts that are shown in most media are not visible for tourists, since all the political happenings take place in local parts of the city and not around the main attractions. I had some guest from other countries during those days that were worried about what they saw on the news, but ended up feeling safe after realizing that they weren’t affected by these political conflicts.
To conclude my adventure in Barcelona so far I would like to say that it's a city that can surprise you, there is so much to see and to do even if you don’t want to be the typical tourist the possibilities are quite many, but if you want to experience the other side of the city (the local one) there's is also a big chance to do so even without researching beforehand.
Photos By Fernando Smolders
Written by Fernando Smolders
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