Barcelona, España

20140531_140934_resized

 

If you have never done a city break in Europe before then let me enlighten you on what to expect when you only have three days to normally A. try to pack as much in as possible and B. get to the destination as quick as you can without any unexpected delays.  This was my second time to this wonderful and city and also a chance for me to catch up with my Mum and her partner before they embarked on their Mediterranean cruise which was leaving from the port in Barcelona.  

I took the 8pm flight straight after work and it probably wasn’t the best idea after a manic day at work and then accidentally catching the slower train to Gatwick – fail!! Unfortunately it didn’t end there with being sat on the plane for over and hour while paramedics were called for a unwell woman. I really couldn’t be mad but you know what its like when you just want to get somewhere quick smart and you feel like everything is just going at snail’s pace – not so great when you have little patience for anything. 

Anyway… I did arrive in one piece and once off the plane I could feel the humidity in the air so it didn’t take me long to be back in my happy place again. 

 

20140530_151315_resized

20140530_204257_resized

20140530_120221_resized

 

Friday morning we were up early digging into some traditional Euro breakfast or better known as meat, cheese and bread. I would never normally eat anything like this before 9am but when you are visiting these countries you have to appreciate and enjoy what is on offer and im big on embracing the culture and trying new things. We weren’t so lucky with the weather – typical rain but still fairly mild. Our first stop was visiting Parc Guell, inspired and designed by the Flamboyant Antoni Gaudi and commissioned by Eusebi Güell.  Situated in Barcelona’s Càrmel district, a rugged area, with steep slopes that Gaudí negotiated with a system of viaducts integrated into the terrain.  I wouldn’t class myself as being unfit but walking up that steep street almost left me out of breath so im pretty thankful I was wearing some decent shoes and the fact that they had many escalators in place to make the journey to the top a lot less painful. The Parc itself is huge with windy footpaths leading in all directions, lush garden landscape and stunning views over looking the entire city. Worth it for the climb!

 

20140530_121345_resized

20140530_125246_resized

20140531_143820_resized

 

After all that walking we had worked up an appetite so headed over to La Rambla way to Placa Reial a quaint quarter just off the famous street.  We ate at a restaurant called Ambos Mundos which seemed to be the busiest out of the other surrounding places. I was dying to try some traditional Valencian Paella – a rice and seafood dish originating from the 19th Century and ever so popular with the tourists. Teamed up with a nice drop of spanish white wine and watching the world go by, I think I of could have easily sat there all afternoon. In fact I was ready for that siesta by the time we had left, its interesting how the Spaniards have incorporated this into their everyday life and why it hasn’t really adapted anywhere else in the world.  While writing this, I conveniently stumbled across this article so thought I would share  some light reading with you.

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/uk-companies-should-embrace-siesta-culture-says-top-neuroscientist-1451542

 

 

20140530_142111_resized

20140530_213745_resized

20140530_224516_resized

 

Being the organiser I am in both my work and social life I had planned out an evening of dinner at Tapa Tapa, followed by a cocktail at the eclipse bar in the W Hotel and then hoping to catch a late night glimpse of the Magic Fountain.

Dinner I have to say was rather average – the staff were unhelpful and the service… well there was none to put it lightly. Luckily the food made up for it! The potatoes braves is always a favourite of mine and the Pebrots del Padro (deep-fried green peppers) always gets me every time. Of course I had to have a jug of fruity sangria – it would just be rude not too. After all this a short stroll was needed so we headed over to the Port area and hailed a cab up to the hotel. It’s at least 3km’s so unless you are willing and capable of walking it then just catch a taxi – it’s far quicker. The Hotel is remarkably beautiful and also one that caused quite a stir with city planning who originally objected against it being built. Once inside and out of the lift to the very top, you can hear the funky house beats coming from the bar and breathtaking views over the ocean and the entire city. Eclipse bar in London used to be a local haunt of mine a few years ago so I was very keen to check it out and I must say it’s definitely something that needs to be done if you are thinking of visiting.

The Magic Fountain is exactly what it says it is – magical!!! Now make sure that you check the times of this water performance as they only run for certain times of the year and always at night from 9.30pm. The fountain itself changes colour and even has classical opera music making it somewhat dramatic and mesmerizing at the same time if that makes any sense?! Definitely a crowd pleaser and reminded me a little of the Trevi fountain in Rome at night. A must to see – you wont believe your eyes how amazing it really is.

 

2014-06-01 09.00.15_resized_1

 

 

2014-06-04 13.56.03_resized_1

2014-06-01 09.12.39_resized_1

 

Saturday I woke up to sun beaming through the curtains which put me in a very good mood and I was ready to leap out of bed and enjoy it as soon as possible. Today we planned to visit the spectacular Sagradia Familia – another impressive design from Antoni Gaudi. I recommend you book online and choose a set time as this place is rammed with tourists all day, every day and I don’t particularly fancy waiting in a cue the length of a football field when I only have limited time in such a place.

I noticed that there were dozens of Cranes hanging off the arches of the grand building and I would be right to say that the Roman Catholic Church has never been finished and has been an ongoing project after Gaudi passed away for many years. If I had to use one word to describe it I would have to say ‘Magnificent’.  I loved the stain glass windows with the mix of all the rainbows colours. He certainly is a very clever man.

Some technical info on the interior of the church –

The church plan is that of a Latin cross with five aisles. The central nave vaults reach forty-five metres (150 ft) while the side nave vaults reach thirty metres (100 ft). The transept has three aisles. The columns are on a 7.5 metre (25 ft) grid. However, the columns of the apse, resting on del Villar’s foundation, do not adhere to the grid, requiring a section of columns of the ambulatory to transition to the grid thus creating a horseshoe pattern to the layout of those columns. The crossing rests on the four central columns of porphyry supporting a great hyperboloid surrounded by two rings of twelve hyperboloids (currently under construction). The central vault reaches sixty metres (200 ft). The apse is capped by a hyperboloid vault reaching seventy-five metres (250 ft). Gaudí intended that a visitor standing at the main entrance be able to see the vaults of the nave, crossing, and apse; thus the graduated increase in vault loft.  (supplied by wikipedia.org)

2014-05-31 11.36.53_resized_1

2014-06-01 09.29.36_resized_1

 

After an hour in the church and far to many tourists with their clicking cameras, I was ready to vacate the premises and head to the beach for some well overdue sunshine.  A little stop off on the way to grab some delicious gelato – mint chocolate which by the way was just as good as the stuff in Italy. The beaches were flocked with plenty of people sun-baking, drinking sangria in the local bars, biking along the footpaths and even a game of what looked like intense dominos with a group of elder men. If you love people watching – this is the place to be but please make sure you are watching your bag at all times because it’s also known to be the highest pick pocketing place in the world and no one needs their holiday ruined in that way.

 

2014-06-01 09.14.02_resized_1

2014-06-01 09.26.58_resized_1

 

Back on the subject of La Ramblas, this 1.2km treelined street located in central Barca, is constantly buzzing with loads of people and I believe, has one of the best food markets in Europe. For a person like me who adores food so much, its absolute heaven but even if you aren’t into food that much, you definitely need to check it out just to view all the amazing stalls of colours and the variety that it has to offer. The experience in itself is interesting enough but I must warn you though, its extremely busy so if you want to avoid the crowds then get there as early as possible.  I have to admit after about 20 minutes, the blood pressure was starting to rise. Time to move on. 

 

2014-05-30 16.58.40_resized_1

 

There were a number of other activities I would have liked to have done but with limited time it was unfortunate that I couldn’t see everything. Bearing in mind that this is my second time to this wonderful city, I had already seen so much from my previous visit including a wonderful day out to a few wineries for some tasting of the local wine and cava – one I would recommend which you can book through Viator. 

My local friend did provide me with a couple of tips that I am happy to share with you –

 

Cal Pep restaurant – for traditional spanish food.

Tibidabo – if your thirsty.

Encants – if you love a good market.

If you are planning on coming for more than a few days then I suggest you purchase a T-10 card. This can be used on the Metro, buses and trams and is a bargain at €12. I much prefer to walk however the metros are clean and safe, very easy to follow and always run frequently and on time.

 

2014-06-01 09.07.19_resized_1

20140530_124714_resized

 

I had a fantastic couple of days in this ever so liveable and relaxed city. I have never had an issue with the language barrier although sometimes I wish it would be nice to just roll some spanish off the tongue. As much as I would have liked to have stayed an extra day especially to be with my mum, I felt fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity on this occasion to meet up and spend some time with her, especially in such a cool part of the world.

I will definitely be back again, perhaps to experience one of their many festivals they host, maybe Sonar, maybe Primavera but it goes without saying that this is still one of my favourite destinations in Europe to visit and like I said can be done in one busy, crammed weekend!

 

Photo Collage Maker_grsy9m

20140530_113819_resized

 

Happy and safe travels,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. My favourite city! Really good to see all your pictures- you’re getting quite good at taking photos. 🙂

  2. Marie Collins says:

    Love reading your blog keep it up

Speak Your Mind

*