The streets leading to Puerta del Sol in Madrid are lined with clean concrete buildings that have a grand look similar to London’s. The streets are wide with draped shadings across the giant walkways that provide shelter for the pedestrians below.

The Puerta Del Sol is the centre, the central shopping area of Madrid and the surrounding area consists mainly of hotels, restaurants and bars. We walked through early in the evening as we had done on our previous nights and waiters stood in the street offering free food and drinks so that their bars appeared popular to passers by as the night wore on. If you are in Spain looking for somewhere to eat, go to the places filled with Spanish people, that is what someone told me anyway.

Jessica, Josh and myself ate at a food bar that had meat hanging from the ceilings and screwed up napkins were at our feet as we leaned against the bar eating melon with cured meat draped over it. After finding a sort-of-bar that was temporarily set up for travelers we drank a lot of beers and vodka shots because that is what the people around us were doing. The following morning a bullet train took us to Barcelona at 300 km/hr.

As soon as we exited Barcelona Sants, the main train station, I saw the steel benches that are shaded by the giant-grill-roof, made famous in the skate videos that I have watched since I was a kid. This is the skateboarding capital of the world and one of the many reasons I packed a skateboard on our trip through Europe.

Josh led the way with a printed out map and we arrived in the stairwell of our building feeling seedy and in need of showers after the humid warmth that was harder to bare than Madrid’s. It was 41 degrees in Madrid but it was a dry heat with a breeze that resembled a hair dryer. The heat in Barcelona was moist and made showering a pointless activity.

The guy we were to lease our room from was out of town and we were to meet his friend instead. We didn’t know the room number and we sat down sweating in the stairwell with all of our bags. Residents walked into the stairwell and up the old fashioned steel elevator to their rooms. A Spanish guy who looked our age greeted us as he walked in, we started talking and he invited us up to his apartment. He prepared food for us and let us stay there waiting while we figured out what to do. Eladi was his name, we met his friends and he took us around the city in the two weeks we stayed there and invited us around for a dinner before we left.

Barcelona started well and only got better. Matt, Another Kiwi friend, joined Josh, Jessica and I after spending hours on a sweaty bus. Sandy also joined us in Barcelona, a crew of Kiwis in Spain! Each night as it neared 12 we would leave the apartment down the old fashion elevator with AC/DC playing for a reason I do not remember. I will remember our two weeks in Barcelona though and, out of the 50+ cities I’ve visited, Barcelona is still my favourite one.

Rocafort was our metro station. We stayed in a section of the city that had rows of buildings along gridded streets that confused us every time we headed home. We were a 10 minute walk from the magic fountain.

Barcelona has variety. The old Gotic area is dark, the leaning buildings have balconies that crowd the void between them and we walked in the winding alleyways below.
We entered a small square where hundreds of people were gathered. We watched as a group of adults formed a circle by linking arms and one by own people climbed on top of them and formed a human tower, it reached a good 10 metres and the kid at the top must of been 6 years old.

Skateboarders cruise the streets everywhere and tourists take photos of the hundreds of skaters who frequent macba – a museum with a marble outdoor area of stairs, ledges and space. At night we sat where the sand begins along Barcelona’s beach and drank 1 Euro beers offered to us by local Indian guys who also offered us drugs.

While traveling I have often left a destination feeling quite ready to move on. I don’t know how to finish this post because I am not done with this city, it is open ended, I would like to be there. I have gone back since and I left reluctantly then too. The place is basically a skatepark. The cafes, tapas, architecture – I don’t know if I could over-romanticise a place like Barcelona.

I'm a Carpenter from New Zealand. I completed a Carpentry apprenticeship and decided to build something on every continent. I started this blog so I could share the journey with people!

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