Travelled on: 18.01.19 – 20.01.19
If there is a place in Europe I would love to live right now it would be Barcelona! I loved the mosaic architecture of Guell and the grandness of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. I loved the way the sun shining on the palm trees reminded me of being in Miami. I loved being able to walk along the beach and listen to the bustling sound of locals playing handball, football and ping pong. I loved walking through the intricately designed parks whilst listening to the street performers. I loved the cable cars that gave the most fabulous views of the city and the beach, taking us up to the 1992 Olympic park. I loved the Saturday night culture of people dressing up to go for food and drink with family and friends. Did I mention I loved Barcelona?!
The only downside to this weekend was our delayed flight and then arriving at the airport to realise Spanish taxi drivers (and might I add, once again) were on strike. This meant the 15 minute car journey to the hotel actually took us almost an hour and a half by night buses which took us on quite a detour. However it was nice arriving by night to the buildings all lit up in the city.
We walked so much on this day, my Fitbit read my step count as over 30,000! We stayed in Exe Mitre hotel which is in the north of Barcelona. I’ll be writing a post soon on how we choose our hotels. This one was near the Park Guell, which was a park designed by Antoni Gaudi, commisioned by Eusebi Güell in 1900. Güell was a patron for Gaudi’s architecture and commissioned him on a number of projects. This park is one of the most visited in Barcelona and the photo of me, above, sitting on the pavilion part of the park is definitely an iconic photo to be snapped.
After visiting the Park Güell we picked up some veggie tortilla from a street food eatery, there are a few of these opposite the main entrance to the park. We made our way towards La Sagrada Familia. This is a Roman Catholic church, or temple, which began construction in 1882 by Francisco de Paula del Villar and taken over a year later by Gaudi who devoted the rest os his life to this architecture. It really is a sight to behold. The history of construction for this building is quite interesting as it has been pretty much ongoing since it’s initial build. It is still continuing to be constructed now, with use of new technologies, and has an expected finish in 2026.
We walked to the beach via the long road Avenue Diagonal, where we came across the Museum Disseney, a center for Barcelona’s institute of culture. The recent addition of the Agbar Tower, similarly designed to London’s Gherkin, gives a nice skyline picture for Barcelona.
This photo is in the area named Poblenou, meaning ‘ new village’ in Catalan. I particularly enjoyed walking this area and seeing the similarities and differences of Stratford in London, where I work and have lived. A major similarity is the regeneration of the space. Exactly the same as in London’s 2012 Olympic Games, Poblenou was transformed during the Olympic games in 1992. Prior to this stood abandoned factories and working class residential areas after the end of the industrial revolution. Much like other areas of London that ae being regenerated, Pablenou is now seen as this hip district with its leisure facilities and sleek residential areas. It’s also close to the beach and who wouldn’t want to live near here?!
We walked along the beach, with time for beachnastics, towards the harbour where there are so many restaurants to choose from. We chose one over looking the beach and had to have Paella! Even though it was January it was so sunny, the temperature was about 18°c which was comfortable enough to sit outside. The waiter even kindly brought us over a patio heater when it got a little chilly in the evening.
On this day there were two things we wanted to check out; Gaudi‘s Casa Batllo on the De Gracia shopping street and the cable cars Teleferic do Montjuic.
We firstly took the Metro into Place Catalunya. I found the Metro station quite tricky to use, I don’t know if it was the language barrier or I was missing a big sign or something. They appear to have more than one system which are paid for separately. I’m used to London where you pay for the zone and can use any public transport within this zone. It caught us out on the way to the airport, we had come up at a station to change trains and were told to buy another ticket as the tickets we had didn’t work for the underground line we wanted. I’m sure if I was there for longer I would learn to become used to the lines but for the weekend it was a little confusing!
De Gracia shopping street is great for anyone who likes to shop, it wasn’t too busy considering it was a weekend. We saw more of Gaudi’s architecture, there were a few crowds around these buildings.
After this we walked down towards the harbour and over to the cable cars. There are 2 sets of cable cars; Barcelona’s Port Cable Car which is an old-fashioned looking cable car built in 1932 and the Teleferic de Montjuic that goes up the hill and finishes at Montjuic Castle. The walk to the cable cars is quite interesting, there is quite a bit of street art and then a foot path through an enclosed park where we could hear and see locals playing football. There was a forested area with a break in the trees that gave us views of the city, even before we made it to the cable cars.
We took the Teleferic de Montjuic cable cars, up the hill towards the castle and Montjuric Parc. They gave great panoramic views of the city including views of La Famililia Sagrada and the Agbar Tower, they also stretched right out towards the sea.
There is a lot to explore at the top of the hill, including Montjuric Parc and Montjuric Castle.
I would have liked to have had more time to explore the Park especially the ‘ Magic Fountain’ or Font Magica de Montjuric which is a fountain famous for its scheduled music and light show. Unfortunately we had to make our way back to towards the airport, we did manage to snap a picture of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, which is just behind the fountain and in front of part of the 1992 Olympic park. It’s quite an impressive building when lit up at night.
There was so much to do in Barcelona in 2 days, I didn’t quite fit in everything so would definitely like to go back in the future possibly when it’s a little warmer and I can take a dip in the sea!