Nine reasons to visit Barcelona this summer. By Anna Glarin
To be in a major European city and still have access to a fantastic sandy beach is a godsend (and I don't even believe in God). If the thought of a nudist beach tickles your fancy, you got it here. If you just want to chill in the sun with a drink in your hand, you can do it here. If you want to people-watch, this is the place to do it. Or if you just want to have a swim and a spot of lunch, you will find the best seafood here.
Daytime you won't even know it's there. Night time it's a haven for die hard rock fans. Upon entering Tequila Bar on Carrer dels Escudellers you are entering a different world altogether. This is a world where a vodka and coke is served with a glass full of vodka and can of coke on the side, this is a world were the metal-music is blaring so loud you have to shout to make yourself heard, this is a world were you can shut the world around you out altogether by putting on a pair of headphones at the bar and rock out to the music blaring EVEN LOUDER straight into your ears, this is a world where no one gives a damn what you look like or what you wear as long as you enjoy the music. And the music is awesome. Did I mention that it's loud?!
Looking at Barcelona from a bird's view, it just looks like a city full of squares. However, walking around in Barcelona, particularly the Gothic district, it's impossible not to be in awe of the spectacularly old buildings and narrow maze-like alleyways.
The weird and wonderful world of Gaudi will get anyone's imagination going for sure. The stunning and mammoth project that is Sagrada Familia (right and opposite page) takes your breath away with its imposing exterior and Parc Guell invites you to another dimension; the Gaudi dimension. And what a fantastic dimension it is.
Possibly the cleverest way of eating; a few small dishes rather than one big meal. Variation is the spice of life and with tapas your meal can be as varied as you want it to be. If you find the local tucked-away places with not a tourist in sight you can get the best tapas at really decent prices.
The famous market where every possible piece of food is sold. The fruit section will make your mouth water with all its vibrant colours and strange fruits, and the meat section will either make you want to eat a whole cow immediately or turn you away from meat forever; the rather graphic backdrop of animal-heads on display can make you a bit queasy. However, if you can see beyond that you can find interesting and unusual meat. And don't even get me started on the chocolate section - that is just something else!
Highly reliable and very easy and safe to use, the Metro is the quickest and cheapest way of getting around Barcelona. A T10 ticket gives you 10 journeys for around 7 euros. And unlike London's tube, that blatantly lies to us as one minute normally really means three minutes, the Metro counts down the minutes and seconds till the next train, and they are always, without fail, punctual.
OK, so it can be a tad annoying when you need something urgently and you realise every single shop/restaurant within a two mile radius is closed. But the idea of a siesta to break your day up, to enjoy/get out of the heat, is just fantastic and although the heat is the main reason for the siesta, I think all countries should adopt a little bit of the Spanish siesta, even colder places like the UK. Just imagine - if we all had a power-nap in the middle of the day, wouldn't we be more productive at work or home?
Whoever came up with this magical concoction should get the Nobel Peace Price. Deliciously refreshing, a jug of Sangria is synonymous with Spain and a hot day on the beach.
Originally from Sweden, Anna Glarin moved to London in the mid-nineties and is currently living in London with her partner and daughter. She completed her PGCE in teaching 2008 and works as a primary school teacher in South London