Our second stop in Spain was to Barcelona. A few of my friends who had been there raved about it, but to be honest, I didn't like it as much as I liked Madrid. Don't get me wrong, it was still an interesting city with great food and lots to see, it just wasn't my favorite Spanish city. For one the smog was crazy. I haven't seen smog like that since I last went to Los Angeles.
The accommodations we stayed at in Barcelona were probably my second favorite of our trip. I found this place on bedandbreakfast.com and it's called Padilla Guest House. It was basically an apartment with about 5 different rooms, two bathrooms and a large kitchen. The kitchen was stocked with breakfast items and although the guesthouse was located farther to the north of the main tourist part, we were still only a couple of blocks from Sagrada Familia and the metro was two streets away. We also had a great variety of grocery stores and restaurants to chose from, but we found a tapas place that we loved so much that we went there every night we were in Barcelona.
This is Sagrada Familia, designed by Gaudi. It was started in 1882 and by the time Gaudi died in 1926, it wasn't even a quarter of the way finished. It's still not finished and they think it will be another 25 years before it is. It's amazing to look at, both inside and out.
Here is some of the detail on the Nativity facade side of the church
This is the inside of the church. I thought it was beautiful, one of the prettiest churches I've been in. However, I'm one of those people that doesn't like a lot of gold and gaudy stuff in churches, so others might not agree with me.
The first full day we were there we walked down Las Ramblas, checked out La Boqueria market and then walked around the harbor. The market was my favorite part, mainly because I love seeing all the different varities of fresh produce, meats, snacks and flowers. The only downside to the market was a gypsy tried to get in my bag while we were sitting down eating lunch, but she didn't end up getting anything and I was surprised how concerned the waitstaff was. They kept asking me if I was ok and if she took anything.
Fresh seafood at the market
This picture is too gross not to share. There were several meat booths in the market that had all kinds of body parts. Tongues, brains, livers and these delightful sheep heads with the eyes still in. Ew.
This is down by the waterfront. I'm not sure the signifigance of these two, but I found them interesting.
Parc Guell was the only other Gaudi sight we actually went into, we stopped by Casa Mila, but I didn't go inside as I found the admission price to be a bit high. Anyway, the park was very fun to walk through, it was originally planned to be a gated type community for the wealthy, but at the time none of the women wanted to move out there. So it's now a park and an interesting one at that. It had some great views of Barcelona.
This was a quieter area of the park and I just happened upon this guy with his guitar.
A church we passed in our travels around Barcelona
On our last day in Barcelona we went up to Montjuic for some views of the city and to see the Olympic Stadium from the 1992 games. They now use the stadium for soccer games, but it was still interesting to see what was leftover from the games. The tower in the picture was built for the 1992 games to transmit the coverage and is supposed to symbolize an athlete holding the Olympic Torch.
I saw this sign several times while we were in Barcelona and I couldn't help but laugh. Because every dog poops a small triangle. Right?
Loved this fountain on Montjuic
The top of Casa Mila, with the infamous statues.
I can't do a post and not include some delish food. These are polpitos (octopus) and they were phenomenal. We had them twice in Barcelona, plus a plate of Manchego cheese, jamon, patatas bravas, anchovies and grilled mushrooms. All fantastic. I really miss tapas.