Barcelona

Barcelona

A lovely warm week spent exploring Barcelona, despite it being the middle of February. It was great to get away from the permanent cold, damp and wind that is Luxembourg during the winter months.

Saturday evening

We arrived in Barcelona by plane around 7pm in the evening and got the metro to our rented apartment in the Eixample area of Barcelona. The metro journey was straightforward but needed two changes. There apparently aren't many lines going right across the town in the East - West directions.

After we had got there we walked around to find a place to eat and noticed that every second place was a ramen house. For a while we thought we'd landed in Asia, so decided to go with the flow and have some noodles for dinner which tasted lovely.

The inside of a ramen house in Barcelona

Sunday

We spent most of the day walking around town. We started with a metro ride from Girona (our closest stop) to Barceloneta. Here we strolled past the port with it's mega yachts and headed for the beach walk to have a look at the sea.

Mega yacht in the port of Barcelona

Palm trees on the beach with the sea in the background

Metal fish like sculpture

We circled back to the Barceloneta stop away from the beach, walking through the Parc de la Ciutadella and the Parliament of Catalunya.

Golden monument and waterfalls in Parc de la Ciutadella

Orange tree in front of the parliament of Catalunya

Then we stopped at the Brunch and Cake back in the port area for wonderful late lunch, before heading on to the Gothic Quarter and then walking up La Rambla to the Boqueria market.

Brunch and Cake restaurant

Tight lanes in between the buildings in the Gothic Quarter

Boqueria market, just off La Rambla

From there we turned east and walked to the Catedral de Barcelona just in time to catch a small concert and dancing celebrating Festes de Santa Eulàlia on the 13th February.

Band playing in front of the Catedral de Barcelona

Monday

Monday was a day of Gaudi pure. We started by walking up the Passeig de Gracia to take a look at the Case Batllo and then the Casa Mila.

Cases Batllo from across the street

Close up view of the entrance and balconies of the Casa Batllo

Casa Mila from across the street

Looking up at the balconies of the Casa Mila in the blue sky

After that we headed towards the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's most famous work and Barcelona's most outstanding landmark in the heart of the city. Construction was started in 1882 and it is still not finished.

Looking up at the Sagrada Familia with a crane working on it under the blue sky

It's quite an amazing site, which only gets even more fabulous on the inside.

Crucified Jesus hanging over the alter with the organs in the background

Blue and green stained glass windows

Red yellow stained glass windows

Looking up at the ceiling

Sunlit wing of the Sagrada Familia

Looking up at the pipes of the organ

An outside building of the Sagrada Familia

After the spending well over an hour at the Sagrada Familia, we headed for Parc Guell to finish off our day of Gaudi. We walked there via the lovely Gracia quarter where we stopped at another noodle bar for lunch.

Gaudi's house in Parc Guell

Gaudi style bridge in the parc

Fantastic view of Gaudi's structures in the parc, overlooking Barcelona with the blue sky and sea in the distance

Looking at the Sagrada Familia from Parc Guell, framed by the ring of an iron gate

Tuesday

A slightly later start followed by the morning walking around town before having lunch in the flat. Then we headed off to the Montjuic castle near the port of Barcelona.

Facade decorated with religious murals

Port of Barcelona

Red and yellow striped flag of Catalunya against the blue sky

We walked up the small hill through the nice park around the castle.

Moon above a castle turret, at dusk

View over the sea from the castle, with the moon in the distance

View of side of castle

We then got the cable car down

Cable car going down Mountjuic

In the evening we had the best meal of the trip, in a restaurant just off Ramble de Catalunya after strolling around Passeig De Gracia. Interestingly the place (Cafe and Tapas) gets lots of poor reviews on social media, but we enjoyed the service and the food. Maybe management has changed, or in the off season it is better, or we just got lucky...

Wednesday

In the morning we walked into town, past the Arc Triomf (which does not actually celebrate any specific Spanish victory) and onto the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Palau de Musica (palace of music).

Arc Triomf in Barcelona, built from red bricks

Extravagant façade of the Palua de la Musica in Barcelona

We went on the tour of the palace which was quite an exceptional experience, including a performance that was on-going for some local school kids. The concert hall has the most exceptional sky light. Definitely worth a visit, at least as much as all the Gaudi things around the city.

Inside the concert hall of the palace

View of the sky light in the concert hall from the side

Looking directly upwards at the sky light

We got around the palace just in time for lunch, so had a great lunch in the palace's wonderful café.

View of the palace's cafe

After lunch we headed to the Picasso museum, which had some interesting exhibitions on the life of Picasso, as well many of his painting, especially his early sketches. Obviously his more famous works are elsewhere.

Six paintings hanging on the wall of the Picasso museums

We finished off the day with a quick look at the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, before heading home for dinner.

View of the front of the basilica

Thursday

This was a day trip visiting the Montserrat monastery, an hour's train ride west of Barcelona. So we headed to the Placa de l'Espanya to get the tickets and the train.

View of the Placa de l'Espanya, from the foot of Montjuic

View of Montserrat monastery, with the rocks in the background

We started off the visit with a look around the church, which included a lovely performance by the local boys choir.

Inside view of the church in Montserrat

We then headed up into the hills for a couple of hours some fresh air.

Looking down at Montserrat monastery from the nearby hills

View of the rock formations in the hills

Friday

The last and final day was also the warmest. So we spent the day walking round town and enjoying the beach walk in full sun. We had lunch in a Latin restaurant called FOC. Food was good, atmosphere very lively. Seemed to be the place to be for some food and beers.

View of the Barcelona beach front

An old pharmacy on La Rambla

Saturday

Our flight home left around lunchtime, so after waking up and packing, we got on the metro and headed to the airport in time to catch our flight.

Cover of the metro map, advertising Estrella beer


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