Barcelona was a wonderful city, and is now on our list of top 5 cities in the world. Many of the attractions are the buildings designed by famous archictect/artist Antoni Gaudi, which are just so amazing. You have to see them at some stage in your life. (Start planning now!) We also enjoyed the Gothic quarter which had all of the really old buildings including the cathedral with the massive outdoor area, and the waterfront. We were surprised to find that it was no more expensive to eat in a flash waterfront restaurant than any other old Spanish restaurant. (They even give you complimentary champagne at the waterfront restaurants.) We went to the beach, which was really nothing special, but the city definitely made up for it. The metro system was excellent, better than any other underground we have used, and the people friendly. We stayed in a flash apartment, which was nicer even than we had expected so it was a nice end to our Europe 06 trip. We had many a Sangria and Paella, always yum. Walking down the main street Las Ramblas was always interesting, and always different. We saw many street artists, a break dancing show, magic shows, art, something was always happening on Las Ramblas. We also found this very clean market below, which sold everything, fish, meat (loads of meat hanging up everywhere, and all so fresh or perfectly cured that it didn’t smell at all), salads, fruit, every kind of food you can think of was at this giant market, and it was all so clean and well presented, a far cry from any other markets we have seen in our travels. It was so busy, it seemed like this was the place all the locals buy everything, as everyone spoke Spanish and there didn’t seem to be many tourists around. Barcelona was definitely well worth a visit!
Casa Batllo was our favourite Gaudi building. While not quite as famous as Sagrada Familia, it had such an amazing feeling about it, as well as being designed and built uniquely by Gaudi. The spires shown above are ‘witch scarers’. At the top of this building at the front, it has St George’s Dragon, which is protecting the building, and also the witch scarers which also help to protect the building. Below is the back of St George’s Dragon. We have far too many photos of this amazing building to put on this website, so please click on the link below to see the others. It will be worth your time to have a look, and you will begin to understand why we loved it so much.
To see more photos of Casa Batllo, our favourite Gaudi building, click on the link below, and then on the yellow button ‘View Slideshow’.
Karen and Dre’s Casa Battlo Photos
Sagrada Familia is the most famous Gaudi building, and the most famous building in Barcelona. Gaudi devoted the last 40 years of his life to this building, and it is still not complete. There is lots of construction going on, and they hope to finish it this century! It is that massive. The building is very impressive and these 4 spires are the most iconic and well known. Although we liked Casa Batllo more than this building, there is no doubt that this is definitely the most original building we have ever been in. It is amazing and the size is just mind blowing. We queued to go up to the top, for over an hour, and it was worth it. The views from the hundreds of windows on the way down the stairs (you can only go up by lift but can come down by stairs) are so amazing and unique. The building is again, as with all Gaudi buildings, inspired by nature, so everything in here is representative of something in nature, including trees, shells, fruit, I’m sure the list goes on. The most amazing thing about this, is that Gaudi did not even draw it before he began to make it. He designed a smaller model showing what it would look like, and then began building the real building just working from the model and his imagination. The photo below shows the pillars and the ceiling, inspired by looking up through tree branches and leave to the dappled sunlight. If you click on no other links, please click on the one below and the Casa Batllo one, as these 2 buildings are too good to be missed. You will be inspired to visit Barcelona when you see all of the pictures of these buildings.
To see more photos of Sagrada Familia, please click on the link below and then the yellow button ‘View Slideshow’.
Karen and Dre’s Sagrada Familia Photos
The above picture actually looks over Barcelona, with the two buildings at the entrance to the Park in the photo. The park is made up of lots of wide, wave-like paths that swirl around, as well as monuments and buildings designed by Gaudi. It is the most amazing park we have ever been to. This is not just a park… you have to see it to believe it.
We have some really amazing photo’s of Park Guell.
Karen and Dre’s Park Guell Photos
One of Gaudi’s famous buildings, Casa Mila. Like his other buildings everything is based on nature and there are no straight lines.
OK by this point we were almost cathedral-ed out, but we were glad we went into this cathedral in Barcelona. It had a massive outdoor courtyard area in the middle of the church, which had holy-water fountains, and geese. Weird. But it was very lovely.
Our first stop in Spain was Tarragona, a small town a hour south of Barcelona. It was probably a good introduction to Spain… when our flight landed on time, we couldn’t get off the plane for about half an hour (no exaggeration!) because the airbridge that our plane had been asked to land at wasn’t working. It took a while for anyone in Spain to care, and when someone finally came to look at it, it only took them about a minute to fix. We finally got off the plane and thought that we had probably missed our bus (which, being Spain, only runs to central Tarragona every 4 hours or so), but then joked that we were on Spanish time now, so we would probably be in luck, as the bus was likely to be late. Sure enough, after getting our bags and going out to the bus stop at around 2.40 (when the bus was meant to have left at 2.30), we waited around at the bus stop that was advertised to go to Tarragona. After asking some non-english speaking bus drivers about the bus, we were directed to another bus stop, (which was not advertising Tarragona) and the bus turned up. We were on the bus by 3, which we soon realised was very normal for Spain. (Apart from the big cities, where things are more organised.) This is definitely the laziest most laid back country we have been to. When we arrived in Tarragona, we followed the map provided by the hotel to our hotel, only to find that the hotel had lied about the location on the map…. hmm, a theme was beginning to develop. According to the map (and the written directions provided by the hotel) our hotel was 200m from this beautiful view. You can see in the photo there is a mini-coloseum, which looked very much like the Coloseum in Rome only way smaller. It turned out our hotel was a further 3km’s down the now unsealed, dusty road. We spoke to the only other English speaking guests at the hotel and they had also been provided with the same map, and were also annoyed that the location was not where we expected. We asked the hotel about it and in true small town Spanish fashion, they just laughed. Luckily we were still staying within about 2 minutes walk from a lovely beach, more private than the main Tarragona beach. If you ever go to Spain and stay outside one of the main cities, take note: Siesta doesn’t mean a couple of hours off in the afternoon. It means that the shops open at 1.30pm, close at 3.30pm, and then don’t open again until 8.30pm (which usually means about 9.) Anyone want to volunteer to go and work in Spain?
This garden was near the main lookout over the ocean in Tarragona. Everything was so dry and hot (when we got here it hadn’t rained for 4 months). Unfortunately, the got their first rain on our second night! All the streets flooded after it rained 12 inches overnight…. but it was sunny again the next day and everything sloped towards the ocean so the streets were dry again by afternoon after all the water rushed into the ocean.
This was just a random building, but it was very cool. We spent a while wandering around here, in the shade from the hot sun.
We took this photo as it just looked so Spanish. The orange trees lined the whole street and the buildings looked similar to this cathedral. It was a beautiful street to walk down.