🇪🇸 Gracias Gaudi – Barcelona

BARCELONA

We had geared ourselves up for party town central or that’s what we had read. Barcelona – always busy, crowded, full of tourists, street performers and of course the city of pick pockets. Well we were pleasantly surprised how sedate and relaxed the city of Barcelona was on our first few days. We arrived on the Three Kings Day, which is the Spanish celebration for Christmas held on the 6 January which means that 6 and 7 January are public holidays. We had a great train ride into the city from Perpignan (we dropped our car off over the border in France to save $1200) and found our apartment easily.  No more car for a week!

 

Our apartment is gorgeous and situated about 1km away from La Sagrada Familia the famous Gaudi Cathedral. After doing some research we were set for a full day of roaming the sites of Barcelona. We have read too many stories about the pick pockets here so I placed my money in my sock, didn’t take a back pack and I wore only tights so the pick pockets wouldn’t come near me. Rob left our passports in the unit and kept a careful eye on his wallet.  We were really careful to avoid any helpful person or distracting street performer but to our surprise it was a solemn rainy day with no street performers in sight only a few people selling umbrellas.  This didn’t stop us from walking 12 kilometres as most of the big tourist attractions in Barcelona are spread apart. To help us along the way we first stopped for a morning coffee and a spelt croissant followed by a chocolate cone hazel nut chocolate gelato.

 

LAS RAMBLAS

We admired the Gaudi architecture which is inspired by nature and strolled down the famous street Las Ramblas.  Apart from the Gaudi buildings, the city is similar to many of the other European cities.  It was a pleasant walk and we stopped for lunch at a burger place we had researched as supposedly the best in Barcelona – just goes to show though as our buns were fairly stale (the burger ones – ours are getting tighter with all the walking :)).   This was in the Gothic Quarter – the oldest part of the city.

 

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PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA

After that, we wandered to the port and then thought we would look at a park on the way back – only to be pleasantly surprised by one of the highlights of the city – an amazing fountain – with some couples learning how to dance to jazz music – such an inspiration.   One thing we love about this city is it is easy to cross the road as the lights stay green for pedestrians for quite a while.

LA SAGRADA FAMILIA

The next day we booked tickets online to the first session at Sagrada Familia – as we did not want to miss out – up at dark (sunrise is at 8:30am) – quick stop at a beautiful little cafe near our house – nice cappuccino (hard to find) and a little spinach danish to get us started.  We walked to the church and went through all of the security (similar to the airport) – and then suddenly we were through.   The exterior can be examined for ages as  there is so much going on – so many tiny and unusual sculptures and figures.  Then we went inside.

The interior is inspired by nature – columns made to look like tree branches – amazing use of colour and space – the windows are like a shattered painting and are darker at the bottom and lighter at the top (as you go up to heaven).  We don’t see many modern churches and this was amazing – such a contrast to the old cathedrals we are used to seeing.  We bought a jigsaw puzzle that inspired us and a little badge for our collection.   Certainly a highlight.

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MERCAT DEL ENCANTS

We then left there and wandered to the market – a trash and treasure style one – which was a different experience too.  Then we popped in to do our shopping  – roast chicken!  However this was also part of our travel experience.  The chicken looked like an Australian chicken in the way it was packaged.  But when Rob opened it up he had a little surprise! Here chickens come with their heads attached!  Mmm! I think Rob is now a true vegetarian.

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Well we thought we had avoided all scams and pick pockets in Barcelona but in the middle of the night our bank alerted us that Rob’s credit card had been compromised and someone in the US had done a lot of shopping on Rob around $2500-00. Mmmm well this meant that our credit card is now cancelled and the bank wants to send us a new one. Not that easy when you have no fixed address for a year. We have been really careful not to use our credit cards only for AirBnB accommodation bookings but in Barcelona we used it to book online tickets to the Guell Park and Home Stay accommodation.

 

GUELL PARK

On our last day here in Barcelona we decided to walk the 6 kilometre walk up hill to the Guell Park, famous as it is a beautiful park front designed by Gaudi. It was designed to be an exclusive home gated estate with its own market place and exclusive views over all of Barcelona. However it didn’t sell and they ended up turning it into a park.  The main entrance looks like gingerbread houses with beautiful iron gates. Mosaic tiles are used at the top of the curving walls, and park seating that views out over the city towards the ocean. We were lucky to experience this magnificent park in low tourist season. The luscious park climbs via stairs to a wonderful lookout where you find yourself on top of the world or that is what it seems like. It is just as inspiring taking the curling paths back down through the park. This park is a must see here in Barcelona.

We have enjoyed walking the streets and admiring the wonderful street art that adds to the atmosphere here. Life here seems unrushed and quite sedate for a big city which sees millions of tourists each year. Now as we pack or bags we say goodbye to Spain. We feel like we have definitely seen the best of what Spain has to offer. We have spent time in the major cities, countless highways, historical towns and have had time to appreciate all that is good here in Spain!  Next stop – Italy – we fly to Rome tomorrow morning.

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13 comments

  1. Kim and Rob, what an awesome time you are having. I feel like I know Spain from reading your interesting blogs. Hope the bank sorts out the credit card. They can do amazing things these days. May be a bit hard to sort out where to pick it up from. Maybe a PO? Anyhow enjoy the plane ride to Rome – very romantic I hear! xx

    1. Hey Steph my home town Sydney! we have just landed in Rome!! Enjoy your last week and have fun decorating your new room. it will smell nicer with you init!!

  2. Hi you two. Can’t imagine the colour GREEN I am right now 🙂
    What a grand adventure you are experiencing!!! Simply sensational!! Will follow the rest of your fabulous journey with great anticipation and delight. Have a blast!!!!!
    Ciao
    Smithy

  3. Awww I am so happy for you guys …. It all looks amazeballs! We had a fantastic time in California for 3 weeks ….. Back to work tomorrow …. Will miss you guys!
    Are you sure you don’t want to come back to work yet???!!!

    1. Hi Sally
      nice to hear you had a great time in California. We can’t believe 6 weeks has passes. Hold onto your holiday memories and enjoy pupil free week. We are just settling into holiday life so we are in no hurry to return. take care xoxo

  4. What an amazing time you’re having. Really loving your story and photos. What a shame your crefit card has been compromised, especially after you had been so careful. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before it’s all sorted. Pretty scary when so far from home. Look forward to continuing to follow your adventures.

    1. Hi Dennis and Fran
      You guys must be in for a big week now that school starts back tomorrow. Maybe not as Ron will not be there to make a mess! We are having a nice time but are constantly reminded we are not at home on the safe sunny coast. Rob got pick pocketed in Rome on a tram by a pregnant gypsy and young girl. We thought we were really careful my credit cards are now kept in my bra! Fun and games but we looking staying on the Amalfi coast and enjoying it. xoxo

  5. Wow, Denise just sent me the link to your blog and I clicked straight on to Spain as I have always wanted to go there, looks fabulous, definitely need to plan a trip.
    Will continue to follow and enjoy your blog, woohoo, everyone else is at school that must be a great feeling, enjoy 😊

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