Well, I have to say I am not a huge ‘City’ fan but when the opportunity to visit Barcelona arose I could not refuse.
As always, a lot of background work was done to establish the different options, package or diy. DIY tends to win
most of the time as you have flexibility and choice as well as usually financial savings (I seriously cannot remember
the last time I used the services of a high street travel agent)
Pre-booked parking at the airport – 5 days £30. Easy enough drive there and as usual we travelled light to avoid
the hold baggage rigmarole. HOWEVER – word of warning – We noted that many people were having their luggage
taken off them at the gate and put into the hold! This is obviously as hand luggage is encouraged and everyone uses
their full allowance there is not actually enough room in the overhead lockers. We did note that it was those people
with the wheelie cases that were having to submit to baggage control, so a tip here, stick to holdall and backpack type!
On arrival at Barcelona the first thing I noticed was there was actually blue and white stuff for a sky instead of grey! Although
the temperature was still a bit chilly it was at least bright.
Getting around Barcelona was an absolute breeze and so so cheap. Again pre-armed with knowledge we bought a T10
ticket from the machine at the station directly outside the airport. This ticket enables 10 journeys on ANY public transport and
can be shared. ALSO a journey starts on first click and last click is the last time it is used within 75 minutes. So we were able
to get overground train and transfer to underground and get to the nearest metro to our hotel with using only 1 journey each!
Not bad for 2 Euro!!!
We stayed at the Gaudi Hotel, just off of Las Ramblas – Hotel was good, room was good and the roof top terrace overlooking Palau Guell as well as a lot of Barcelona was the icing on the cake for us ( although the plunge pool was not as deep as my bath and freezing! )The views were awesome and pretty inspirational as we were able to decide and see where we were heading to.
So, the rest of the day was spent exploring the neighbourhood, buying cheap but good wine, eating and relaxing on the roof terrace
planning the next few fun packed days!!
The main motivation behind Barcelona was of course Gaudi! We decided he was probably spaced out most of the time
and certainly mad and yes definitely a genius. During the next 3 days we managed to WALK a marathon – covering 26 Miles of Barcelona.
We visited Park Guell, la Pedrera, Casa Batlli, Casa Vicens, Barcelonas Arc de Triumph, Parc de la Ciutadella and of course the Sagradi Familia.
The Park was wonderful and in itself involved a mini trek to get around it all. You have to pay 8 euros to get in to the monument part of the park. to miss this part of park Guell though would be a sin in itself. Starting off early we were lucky to avoid the tourists (Mainly Chinese) as by the time we left the park was really packed! They limit the number of people entering the park and its buildings and we were lucky to have free run of the place before this limitation was put in place – by the time we left people were indeed queuing.
Arguably one of Gaudi’s most famous of houses was La Pedrera – It was not cheap to get in (20 euros) but it has to be done and in our opinion it was worth every cent !! The inner courtyard was fantastic and the rooftop again was amazing – Gaudi,s version of chimneys are the best you will ever see. Apparently he looked out across the city rooftops and didnt like what he saw so put his own twist on the chimney, I for one am so glad he did. There were also several arches that when you looked through them were actually view points of other significant places such as the cathedral.
Sagrada Familia – Well, this was just special. It really is one of the best pieces of architecture in the world. Lost for words to be honest – it surely has to be on many bucket lists as you have to actually be there and see it to appreciate it. You walk in and say wow and Gaudi’s love of nature and his ambition to create buildings inspired by nature was never more evident than inside his fabulous Sagrada Familia! The pillars were like giant trees with their many branches the framework for the magnificent roof!
The added bonus of our hotel room was it actually overlooked Gaudi’s Palau Guell and the wonderful chimneys on its roof. A bottle of wine was enjoyed watching the men working and cleaning these in preparation for the tourist season. Although the building was not yet open we got a good look around the rooftop and peep inside from our room and our roof terrace.
Over the few days that we were in Barcelona. The temperatures slowly warmed up and day 3 we were sitting in the sun on the beach!
The food on the Las Ramblas was as you would expect – touristy and not of a very high standard. Obviously most people only stay in Barcelona for a few days. So these eateries certainly did not seem to worried about repeat trade. – but off the beaten track there were many small local eateries to try – From Which we did end up settling for a KEBAB on the last night. Not what we intended BUT a very nice one it was too!!
All in all if you are looking for a city break then put Barcelona and Gaudi right to the top of your list of must dos 10 out of 10 ….