We arrived in Barcelona in the early evening. Our hotel is the best we have stayed at yet! We have the room directly over the front door, with a balcony that looks upon Barcelona's Gran Via. As we were checking in, we ran into my Zaide and Mary and went out for tapas with them. It was great to finally meet Zaide's girlfriend, she is very nice and just right for him. After catching up over tapas, we went out walking around and wandered over to Catalunya Plaza
, a huge open square with multiple fountains and huge building lining the square. We wandered into El Corte Ingles, a massive department store, and picked up some pastries for dessert before walking back to the hotel to rest up for the following day.
Bright and early the next day, we all went down to the plaza again, this time to catch our hop-on, hop-off bus around the city. It was about a 2.5 hour tour and it took us all around the city counter-clockwise, stopping at numerous tourist stops. We only got off at one stop, the Art Museum
on the top of the hill. The view from the museum was amazing! We could clearly see all of Barcelona, but not from too high up that it would make identifying landmarks impossible. We spent about an hour there then got back on the bus, only to find that one of us had misplaced our ticket... I had to convince the tour-guide to let us stay on the bus until our stop. In the afternoon, we split up from Zaide and Mary, and my mom and I walked around the east end of Barcelona, near the Arc de Triumf
, and through the park. Sunday was a national holiday in Spain and all around the city, there were people lighting off big firecrackers that would echo loudly all around. While in the park, someone lit off a firecracker and it scared about 100 birds who flew right around my mom and I. It was quite a sight! In the evening, we met up with Zaide and Mary and again went out for tapas. When we got back to the hotel, the Lyons family had finally arrived and now we had 8. We sat down for a bit and then walked out on the town for a while, again visiting the Catalunya Plaza (it was about 2 blocks from the hotel). Zaide treated us all to Gelato and we all had a good time just talking in the plaza.
The next day, my mom and I decided to spend the morning in a Laundrymat, then split up for the afternoon. I went down to the city's old cathedral, dating back to the 1400's and built on top of the old Roman wall that used to surround the city. Catedral de Barcelona
is an elegant gothic cathedral, hidden behind restoration scaffolding, but remarkable on the inside. It was well-lit for a cathedral and allowed me to take some pretty good photographs. One of the more memorable points was that they allowed roof access on the cathedral and I went up to the top and saw around all Barcelona's gothic neighborhood. Next I went to the Dali Museum they have here in Barcelona. They did not have that many of his major works, but had a bountiful assortment of his drawings, sketches, and quicker works. They also had some of his custom furniture he had designed, very wild!
In the mid-afternoon, I met up with my Mom and the Lyons Fam and we all visited Gaudi's great Cathedral, the Sagrada Familia
. If you are unfamiliar with Gaudi
, imagine the Dali of the Architecture. He was way ahead of his time and must have really shocked Barcelonians in the early 1900's. The Cathedral is ultra modern, with abstract statues and carvings, as well as curving stone and spiraling columns. The massive interior (still under construction after 130 years) was designed to resemble a rain forest, with each of the colums as a tree trunk, spliitting off as they get higher into a stone canopy that acts as the ceiling. It was quite impressive even though it was unfinished. In the evening, we all went out for dinner again and had a great time, then walked around the town one last time for our last evening in Barcelona, heading toward the old roman wall and cathedral.
Today we board the Cruise Ship and set sail around 7pm. I am very excited to go on the cruise but dissappointed to leave Barcelona... It's ok though, when the cruise is through we have one more day in Barcelona. It is the nicest city in Spain in my opinion. Youthful and artistic flavour stands side by side with ancient and historical architecture and art. The city is 2000 years old and has merged influences from all 2 millenia excelently. It is Spain's densest city yet still feels incredibly open grand. Everyone should visit here if they get a chance, you will not forget Barcelona. Up next: Cruise Ship and Nice, France!
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