The Barcelona Olympics

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.

Montjuic, castle, Barcelona, Spain, Olympics, 1992 Olympic Games, architecture, Canon EOS Rebel, travel, photo

Montjuic Castle at the foot of Montjuic where several events were held

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??

1992 Olympics, ticket, event, diving, final, competition, Barcelona, Olympic Games

Ticket to the diving final

Final of the women's diving at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

Presenting the medals, top center: Prince Albert of Monaco

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.

Montjuic, La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, vista, view, photo, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

Top left shows La Sagrada Familia (under some cloud of smog) from Montjuic

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.

1992 Barcelona Olympics, Olympic Games, souvenir, ticket, billet, public transportation, mascot

Public transportation pass with the Olympics’ mascot

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.



  1. I love the Olympics but have only attended the Games in Atlanta. I wanted to go to London and would love to go to Brazil, but my wife convinces me that it’s probably not the best way to experience those communities, at least without spending a fortune.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..My Pros and Cons of HostelsMy Profile

    • Lance, I worked in the Atlanta Olympics as a volunteer and greatly enjoyed all the activity. I think if you go to an Olympics, you are going first and foremost for that and not to explore a new town. The town is not fully itself with the Games going – so I think it really depends on the expectations for what the trip is about. Either one of you could be right depending on that! I hope you get to go to Rio 🙂

  2. Maybe not the best way to see a city, but a fantastic way to see many countries all in one place! I loved the Olympics in Vancouver! People from all over the world gathering and getting excited. There was such great energy everywhere! I agree you’ll need to return and see the city again, it will be very different I’m sure.
    Heather recently posted..Zambia Loves to Shake Shake the Budget BoozeMy Profile

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