Along with 2 friends, I arrived in Barcelona during the Olympic Games in 1992, ready to experience the Olympics. Being the pre-Internet age, planning for this wasn’t as “easy” as it would be today. So we arrived with NOTHING.
A crowded hotel scene during the Olympics with the arrival of thousands of tourists could scare most people away. Not us. Foolishly and in the carefree way of young people , none of that made us think we shouldn’t do it.
We arrived at the train station from our overnight ride in from Madrid (my first real train ride and first overnight!) and figured out where we needed to go to be in the center of the action. We found out there was a kiosk (or maybe a series of them) that helped visitors, among other things, find accommodations. So we headed to the plaza at the foot of Montjuic and found the kiosk.
It was awesome – they immediately started calling hotels to find one that had rooms. And so it was. It was a very small hotel, nothing grand but it would do for sure! Don’t remember anything about it except that the toilet tank was up high and we had to pull a chain to flush. It was the first one like that we had all seen so it clearly remained stamped in my memory whereas other details where flushed away from my memory. (I had to…)
However, I jumped a step ahead. We also took advantage of being in Montjuic to look into tickets. We were able to get tickets to a diving final event right on Montjuic from some folks who were selling their tickets without trying to retire off the proceeds from the sale (clearly, not Americans). We got lucky! So before we went to the hotel to check in, we went to the event with our bags along for the ride! Imagine that: today, who would be allowed into a venue with any large shoulder bag??
The event was in a great setting as it overlooked the city – it was a phenomenal view. Plus we got to see a medal award ceremony which was neat.
After the event, we then went to the hotel to get rid of those bags and keep on “doing” the Olympics and eating, of course.
Over the 3 days we were in Barcelona we also got to see athletics competition, a basketball game, and a baseball game. Tickets for the latter we got at the U.S. Consulate. A fellow American tipped us off that we could get tickets there. One good thing about experiencing the Olympics was the camaraderie with fellow Americans. It didn’t matter that perhaps in our country we would sit next to each other at a restaurant or bus stop and not talk to each other. But abroad? Instant conversation and friendship. It was pretty cool.
Sadly, our stay in Barcelona was too short and too Olympics-focused. We got to see some of the sites (e.g., La Sagrada Familia) and experience some of the city (e.g., Las Ramblas) but the Olympics is only once and that was the focus. I shall return to Barcelona to see progress on La Sagrada Familia and explore more of this great world city.