In lovely September 2010 I had my first trip to Barcelona - to lovely Spain, that I have been waiting to meet for a very very very long time :) The trip lasted for more than a week and it was a pleasure I shared with one of my friends from work . She never visited any place outside the Romanian border so as I was having my mind set for Spain I asked her if she would like to go with me :)
The trip was done by plane :) and as I love flying... well... I did not feel the time go by :) My friend took care of the hosting - and she found a very cute hotel (and even though it was not in the city center I was very happy it was in a very nice and chic neighborhood... unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the Hotel...). I was in charge with the flight and with the setup of the trip: what we are seeing, when we are seeing it, what we should do :)
Of course I am quite a maniac when it comes to travel ling and seeing 100 things in one day :D at the end of the trip she told me I was quite a travel-buddy and she never could think that she would be able to do and see so many things in the given amount of time :) Her feet were hurting each day but each day she was fresh for a new adventure without saying NO! to anything. I loved the trip and I am glad I choose her and she choose me :)
Of course I wanted to see Gaudi's works - the houses and the park! and the Sagrada Familia. And see everything I could and get lost on the streets and get drunk on Sangria (which I did by mistake...) and sit a whole day at the beach and eventually watch the sunset... Well... what can I say?! We did all that and much more!
"For the first time since I had been in Barcelona I went to have a look at the cathedral--a modern cathedral, and one of the most hideous buildings in the world. It has four crenellated spires exactly the shape of hock bottles. Unlike most of the churches in Barcelona it was not damaged during the revolution--it was spared because of its 'artistic value', people said. I think the Anarchists showed bad taste in not blowing it up when they had the chance, though they did hang a red and black banner between its spires."
- George Orwell on the Sagrada Familia, Homage to Catalonia, 1938
Well I do not agree with THAT as much as I love George Orwell and as much as I consider him as being brilliant, I must admit that I love Gaudi's work and I adore Sagrada Familia. I believe I spent there almost 4 hours and I could have spent the entire length of the vacation just admiring it and taking pictures of it, or just sketching....
Much of Gaudí's work was marked by his big passions in life: architecture, nature, religion.Gaudí studied every detail of his creations, integrating into his architecture a series of crafts in which he was skilled: ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry. He introduced new techniques in the treatment of materials, such as trencadís, made of waste ceramic pieces.
Here you can see a picture of Casa Batllo (also named "The House Of Bones" and that is part of the UNESCO Patrimonial) - Gaudi's former residence on/in which you can find all the elements specific to Gaudi's art. As you can well see all the front of the house is made so it would resemble the heads of dead fish... for example ;)
Here you can see me in front of Torre Agbar - you can see it from everywhere in Barcelona, as it is one of the highest buildings it has... and it is located in the technological district of lovely and artful Barcelona.
And here you can see a close-up on the tower. It is formed out of multiple pieces of colored glass that in the nighttime they bring the Tower to life... you will see a picture below ;)
This is a photo of one of the malls in Barcelona. This one is located near the Agbar Tower - in the tech district. Not one of the largest ones, of course ;)
I am sorry for the quality of the photo - this was done by my phone. It is just but a small example of how beautiful the Tower is during nighttime :)
Here is where the flame was lit during the Olympics in 1992... I was very happy to see this place and I also visited the Olympic Museum and surrounding Olympic Park :)
Here I am, after exiting the Olympic Stadium - overlooking the Olympic Park (which is HUGE, btw ;)...)
Mirador de Colon is another popular place in Barcelona :) and it is located at the end of the La Rambla :) and it is the point of start of the Port Vell :) And in Port Vell you have one of the largest Mall's in Europe ;)
Here you can see a picture that I took of the entrance roof :) mirrors everywhere... and me and my friend :)
Of course the visit of Barcelona (or any other place in Spain) could not help not including a trip to the bull fighting arena :) unfortunately I did not get to see any show :( but I did get to see 2 of the bulls they were keeping in the back of the arena ;)
Another place you need to visit if you like Gaudi's work is Casa Mila (or better known as La Pedrera (pronounced: [ɫə pəˈðɾeɾə], meaning the 'The Quarry') :) Get in and visit the museum and also run to the rooftop and spend there as much time as you would like. The place is just AMAZING!
Arc de Triomf is another good place to have loads of pictures without people bumping into you as this is such a huge place you can have your picture anywhere without having hoards of travelers around you ;)
Here I am in one of the biggest parks in Barcelona, some 20-30 min away from the sand and sea and the port :) and quite close to one place in Barcelona you should not miss, if you are a chocolate lover: The Museum of Chocolate :)
Museu de la Xocolata (Catalan for "Museum of Chocolate") is a private museum in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, owned by the Gremi de Pastisseria de Barcelona (the city pastry-makers' guild).
The museum opened in 2000, at Carrer Comerç 36, in El Born, Ciutat Vella, on the ground level of an old barracks.
Many of the displays are chocolate sculptures, including various well-known Barcelona buildings, and illustrations from various stories ( including some very nice sculptures in colored choco of Asterix and Obelix and the others :p)
Opening times and prices:
Chocolate Museum Opening Times
The Chocolate Museum is open to the public from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm and from 10am to 3pm on Sundays and public holidays
Summer Opening Times: The Museum will be open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 20pm (from June 17th to September 15th). Sundays and public holidays from 10am to 15pm.
Admission to the Chocolate Museum
> Individual admission: €5
> Group admission (15 or more people): €4
Funny part: the ticket is actually a bar of regular chocolate - very tasty btw ;)
And above you can see more views from the park - there was even an elephant! :o
The Arc de Triomf again :) from a longer distance - picture taken with phone... sorry for that :s
Montserrat is another place you SHOULD go in Barcelona! for me it brought back memories from Greece and The Meteora's :)
Montserrat (Catalan pronunciation: [munsəˈrat]) is a multi-peaked mountain located near the city of Barcelona, in Catalonia, Spain. It is part of the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m). The mountain is the namesake for the Caribbean island of Montserrat. Montserrat is sometimes referred to as "tall", or la "cuchador"
It is well known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary and which is identified by some with the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian myth.
"Montserrat" literally means "saw (serrated, like the common handsaw) mountain" in Catalan. It describes its peculiar aspect with multitude of rock formations which are visible from a great distance. The mountain is composed of strikingly pink conglomerate, a form of sedimentary rock. Montserrat is Spain's first National Park.
You can spend easily one day there and you will not feel the time fly. It is a perfect place to take hundreds and hundreds of pictures ;) again... not many people around... it is like the world knows little about this beautiful place...
HERE you can find how to get there from Barcelona ;)
This is one my fav picture of myself in lovely Barca :) I was in the Park Guell :)
The park was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site, the idea of Count Eusebi Güell, after whom the park was named. It was inspired by the English garden city movement; hence the original English name Park (in the Catalan language spoken in Catalonia where Barcelona is located, the word for "Park" is "Parc", and the name of the place is "Parc Güell" in its original language).
The site was a rocky hill with little vegetation and few trees, called Muntanya Pelada (Bare Mountain). It already included a large country house called Larrard House or Muntaner de Dalt House, and was next to a neighborhood of upper class houses called La Salut (The Health). The intention was to exploit the fresh air (well away from smoky factories) and beautiful views from the site, with sixty triangular lots being provided for luxury houses.
Count Eusebi Güell added to the prestige of the development by moving in 1906 to live in Larrard House. Ultimately, only two houses were built, neither designed by Gaudí. One was intended to be a show house, but on being completed in 1904 was put up for sale, and as no buyers came forward, Gaudí, at Güell's suggestion, bought it with his savings and moved in with his family and his father in 1906.This house, where Gaudí lived from 1906 to 1926, was built by Francesc Berenguer in 1904. It contains original works by Gaudí and several of his collaborators. It is now the Gaudi House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudí) since 1963. In 1969 it was declared a historical artistic monument of national interest.
HERE is the link to the official site of the delightful place :)
Here is the Magical Fountain of Montjuic :) It is a must see!
Its performances include film, classical, and modern music, such as The Godfather, The Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, a Spanish zarzuela movement, and "Barcelona" by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé.
The light and music performances from October to April take place on Fridays and Saturdays every half-hour between 7:00 and 8:30pm, and from May to September Thursday through Sunday every half-hour between 9:00 and 11:00pm. The closest Barcelona Metro station is Espanya, along Lines 1, 3, and 8.
And here were have Mirador de Colon again - picture I took with my phone, right before we headed to the plane back home...
The places I have told you are only a few highlights of what Barcelona has to offer you. And trust me, once you visit Barcelona you will fall in love with it, and you will never know what hit you ;)
With loads of love,
The LadyBug :)