Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Beautiful Barcelona
Recently we took a long weekend to visit the beautiful city of Barcelona. After an easy flight, we easily found our apartment after shopping for some staples: cava, cheese, chorizo.

Our apartment was very close to the Ramblas, a wide tree lined pedestrian avenue.   On the weekend the Ramblas was as busy at 4am as the middle of the day which made sleeping difficultWho needs sleep anyway? 

Dinner at El Quatre Gats (the 4 catswas somewhat of a disappointment. It has a charming, warm atmosphere but the service and food was dismal. Picasso regularly came here to meet up with the other artist to drink and discuss the pressing issues of the day. While the menu hasn't changed the chef surely has. 

Below is a graffiti copy of a poster created by the original owner of El Quatre Gats. The original is the National Art Museum. 

Day 2 W
e took a walking tour with Discover Tours, specifically focusing on the Gaudi buildings. Our local guide was Marcelle who was excellent, fun and informative. He gave a a brief history of Barcelona which was a great way to start the trip. Gaudi pretty much defines the city, his work is everywhere, even the pavement we walked on was designed by him.

Some Gaudi properties:

Marcelle left us at the monstrosity that is the Sagrada Famillia, the Holy Family Cathedral.  It is still under construction with a completion date of 2020. The cathedral will have three facades, all themed on a part of the Bible, the Nativity, the Passion and the final still under construction, the Gloria.  It will be awe inspiring when completed. 

We go inside later in the weekend. 

At a street market near the Sagrada Familia, we bought some apricots and macaroon, back on the subway to the Barcelona Cathedral and walked down to the port for lunch on the water.

Mosaics are all over the town decorating  building facades, fountains and pavements. 

We walked back up the Ramblas stopping along the way at the Placa Rein Boquaria, and our first Gaudi building, Casa Guéll. This is the first building Gaudi designed and built. It was commisioned by the Guell family as a family home.

At the Plaça Rein boquaria.... 

There are many creative buskers out trying to earn a living by entertaining tourist.

Tapas at the apartment then a concert at the Palau de Musica. The Spanish guitar concert was held in an amazing music hall with ornate mosaics and luminous stained glass. The musicians were fantastic. 

Day 3
Tram to funicular to Parc Montjuic to the Fundicion Miro and the National Art Museum. 

We celebrated our anniversary with a delicious lunch at the Oleum Restaurant overlooking Barcelona. The rooftop terrace at the museum was amazing. 

Walked through the Parc Jardin and took the cable car to the Castelle, or castle. A 1640 fortress overlooking the Harbor. Most recently it was a prison for Catalan Nationalist.
Back down into town for mass at the Barcelona cathedral. After dark very evening is a water and light show at Font Magic at the base of Montjuic. 

Day 4
Warm sunshine, Gaudi buildings, 
Coffee and croissant in a sidewalk cafe,  
Casa Batlló,  New espadrilles, 
Drinks and crispy fish in bodega la plata. 

Interior of Casa Batlló. There is not is straight line in the house! 


Sagrada Familia, or Holy Family Catherdral is most intriguing of all of Gaudis buildings. It's exterior resembles an ornate sandcastle, inside is surprisingly light filled, and colorful. 

Our last day was spent visiting the green Cuitedella park, the Arc de Triumph and the seaside neighborhood called the  Barcenoletta. We strolled along the beach promenade and had dinner of croquettes bacalla (salted cod) which is a Catalan specialialty. 

Gaudi, was he a genius or was he crazy? I think he was most definitely both!  Barcelona is a city worth a visit for the Gaudi buildings alone, but has so much more to offer.