A Travellerspoint blog

Day 2 - Sunday, 28 June 2015

Barcelona

sunny 30 °C

Day 2 Sunday 28 June – Barcelona
Breakfast was once again a delicious start to the day. At 9.15 we walked up La Rambla to catch our coach. We headed towards the hills that we visited yesterday to Park Guell. What a surprise we were in for. Initially we saw dirt pathways and some century old viaducts created by Gaudi. He had a vision for this area that looked towards the sea but it was never completed. We moved along the paths to an open area covered in sand and surrounded by the signature ceramic tile seats. Our guide then took us down some stairs that led under this platform. What an amazing creation, believed to be what Gaudi intended to be the market place. The area was a mass of huge pillars with the ceiling covered in tiles. Steps led from this area to a lower level flanked by fountains. George the dragon lay quietly spouting water to the levels below, forming the lower part of Gaudi’s intricate water system. You have to see the waving lines of Gaudi’s structure. He was certainly “out there”.
Our next stop was Sagrada Familia Church, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. It’s difficult to say whether this is a “pretty” basilica. Architecture is certainly subjective. What we probably all would have to agree on is that this man, Gaudi, had a different way of looking at life. He was extremely religious and he worked on this church for 40 years before his death and still did not finish it. He died on 9 June 1926 from his injuries from being hit by a tram – obviously off with the fairies when crossing the road. At the time of his death he had many other projects underway. The intricate work on the exterior of the church is worth seeing. The inside is mind-blowing to say the least. All sides are enclosed with stained glass windows. The vaulted ceilings are beautiful. Admission fees to the church go towards the effort to complete the construction as no one, including the government, would sponsor its completion. They hope it might be finished for the anniversary of Gaudi’s death in 2026 but it is doubtful. He also provided a school for the children of his workers.
As it was Sunday, very few placed were open. We tried another tapas bar which proved to be quite nice for lunch. We had to meet the local guide so as to visit another of Gaudi designed homes. It turned out that we had looked at this home from the street the previous day. Casa Batllo’s façade is covered in ceramic tiles that represent fish scales and its roof is like the backbone of a dragon. Gaudi loved nature so once again you see his link with the sea. The interior is mindboggling. There is not one corner in the house – the entire walls, floor and ceiling flow in smooth curved lines. The timber work is simply amazing and the tiles feature throughout the house for various purposes. It is certainly not to my taste but the concepts have to be appreciated for what they are.
Once the tour was finished we headed back to the hotel to meet the group for our welcome dinner. The bus drove us back to the hill area to this lovely restaurant where we sampled a variety of tapas and some lovely wine.

Posted by gpric6 13:24 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Day 1 - Saturday, 27 June 2015

Barcelona

sunny 30 °C

After almost 35 hours from leaving Jalomy Street, we arrived safely in Barcelona. All went well until we went to leave Dubai. We boarded our flight only to find they had to deal with a “technical difficulty”. That to us translated to “problem with air-conditioning”. After sitting on the plane for two hours, they decided that the problem couldn’t be fixed so they took us back to the gate. We were given a voucher for some food and were told to meet the new plane in an hour and a half. So we tried flat bread pizzas which were quite nice. Finally we were off and I must say that six and a half hours were the longest ever. We were very tired so were pleased to be met by our driver who took us straight to Hotel 1898 at 2am Barcelona time. The shower was most welcome and bed and sleep awaited us.
Breakfast at Hotel 1898 Barcelona didn’t disappoint. Uncle Bill was mesmerised by what was available. Aunty Denise headed for the yoghurt, fruit and nuts. Ross was more reserved and had his cereal followed by his hot bacon and eggs. Me, of course, controlled myself and left the pastries until last. Holidays – where would we be without them?
Our hop on hop off bus tickets proved to be a great purchase. It was so easy. We headed for Placa Catalunya and climbed on board. We did the green route first that took us through the streets of Barcelona, to the harbour and out to the beaches. What a glorious sight with the sun shining on the Mediterranean, people skating and walking on the boardwalk. It was quite hot but with the occasional breeze on top of the bus, we soon forgot about the heat. A highlight of this route was the great unfinished work of the architect Gaudi, Sagrada Familia Church. Once we completed the loop we headed back to the hotel to grab some lunch. We thought we would give the much talked about “tapas” a go for lunch. The cafe next door proved to be a great spot. Once we ate it was back up La Rambla to catch the orange loop bus.
This bus went in the other direction towards the port, passed Christopher Columbus’ monument and up the hills behind Barcelona. There was a spectacular view to behold. Pity the bus went so fast!! To me, it looked like Athens with the crowded streets and the sea close by. Both of the loops took at least two hours so it gave us a very good view of the city from many vantage points and a good idea of what Barcelona actually looks like. We caught a glimpse of the Olympic facilities used in 1992.
Of course, we had to attempt to see if the tour guide for Scenic had arrived as there should have been a meeting to tell us what was happening. I hadn’t seen anything so was confused. We had just finished our gelato and thought we would return to the hotel. Luckily we asked as the meeting was happening. Tom, an Irish man living in Spain, outlined the events for that night and the days to follow. He took us for a walk into alleys behind the main avenue. During the day we managed to do some shopping and in the afternoon we tried to find another battery for the camera. We decided to have dinner at a restaurant on La Rambla. We tried some different tapas and then we were presented with a huge pan of paella!!! After much walking, bed was most welcome.

Posted by gpric6 22:22 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

Ready to go

sunny 15 °C

Bill and Denise arrived tonight ready for our Spanish adventure.

Posted by gpric6 05:48 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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