Sunday, March 20, 2011

Barcelona: Pics and Commentary

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 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.


Uncork and Unwined said...

Love the photos! It sounds like you guys had a great time. How long were you there? We are going in May. Do you have any suggestions/recommendations for me?

ABW said...

Great pictures! We went to Barcelona back in 1998, right before we left Germany. I loved it peaceful...

Mom in High Heels said...

I wasn't a huge fan of Barcelona when we were there last year (Our cruise left from Barcelona and we went ahead of time so we could see the city). It was...okay, but not a place I'd intentionally go again (unless of course I was doing another cruise from there!). Did you know that Barcelona was names after the famous general Hannibal's family? You know, the one who crossed the Alps with the elephants? His last name was Barcas and his father Hamlicar founded the city in Spain. We learned this when we were in Carthage (in Tunisia) on said cruise. See the stupid stuff I remember?
The photos of the meat/head are weird and gross.

This American Wife said...

I agree with you! I enjoyed Barcelona, but I didn't like it nearly as much as Madrid. Great pictures!

loquita said...

Nice trip recap! My favorite part of Barcelona was definitely the architecture. And I thought their metro system was really easy -- probably because of the Olympics being there in the 90's.

Glad you had a great trip!

Amber said...

Hi!! new follower here! :)
I must say, the dog poop picture cracked me up!
The sheep head picture with the eyeball..... Oh my gosh. I'm glad I saw this before I ate lunch. Eww!!!

Tasha said...

Great pics! I loved Barcelona when my husband and I went 2 years ago! Did you go to Tapa Tapa to eat? That was my favorite restaurant! Thanks for sharing your trip!

C said...

Oh, agree- loved Madrid but I not as psyched about Barcelona. I actually love Gaudi, but honestly the rest of the trip was nuts. My friends got mugged, I got felt up in broad daylight, and there was an incident with roofies.

Ugh, it was weird as all get out.

On the lighter side, la Sagrada Familia is so gorgeous! I didn't see it with the stained glass, and your picture of it is beautiful!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

Oh I'm so jealous!!! I love your pictures of Spain!

Laura Darling said...

This sounds like quite a city. i love the pictures! That one at the meat market is NUTS!

Casey (@ Ever-Changing Life) said...

We weren't fans of Barcelona either! Great pics!

Emily's Going Nuts said...

I lived in Barcelona with a host family for a month and a half back in 2003. I LOVED it! I lived on Montjuic, swam in the Olympic pools, wandered Poble Espanyol. I sat in my flat-mate's room with the windows open every night to watch the light show/listen to the music from the big fountain jsut down the hill from our house. Shopped Las Ramblas (quite a bit), and practically LIVED in Parc Guell. Did you do the towers at La Sagrada Familia? Blech! I had this paranoia about falling and breaking a leg on the stone stairs! It was really neat though. :)

Seeing your pictures brings back good memories for me. :)

Anonymous said...

This post was seriously just filled with nothing but awesomeness. Especially that last picture. I don't even LIKE octopus but that looks scrumptious!

Jessica @ Acting Adult said...

We missed Barcelona on our Spain trip for Christmas and after seeing this pictures, I'm even more bummed!

DAL said...

Loved reading this post! My boyfriend and I spent a week in Barcelona during his R&R and loved it. We were also on a cruise that departed form there. We stayed in the "up and coming area" at the Hilton Diagonal Mar and wished we were closer to Las Ramblas. We loved walking around the city and had fun at Tibidabo (a kind of cheesy amusement park with great views).