A Travellerspoint blog

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A Great Way to See Barcelona

The Rain has Stayed Away...For Now

overcast 18 °C

We started out our day with a quick breakfast in the apartment and then headed out to another interesting Gaudi building – Casa Mila. You can go inside for 22 Euros which seems a little steep – the exterior was way more unique. Our journey continued up the Passeig de Gracia – which contained many high end shops like Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Rolex, Versace, Cartier, Chanel…you name it…I can not afford it! Haha.
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A quick little thought of home as we passed a Tim Horton’s. True story. The prices were pretty much the same but the hot chocolate was quite a bit more.
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The walking continued until we got to the Arc de Triomf – yes, there is one here too. In 1888 Barcelona hosted the Universal Exhibition. The Arc de Triomf was built as the gateway to the fair which was held in the Parc de la Ciutadella. The monument is classical in shape and proportions and features ground-breaking sculptural and decorative finishes replete with symbolism. It has become one of the city's iconic landmarks.
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We knew there was something we wanted to do as soon as we got there…once we rounded the corner – boom! There they were…Scooters! We felt the need…the need for speed! Or at least 22 km/h of speed. These battery operated scooters were all over Paris and are in Barcelona too. The rental fee was only 15 Euros for 90 minutes – even from the first 2 minutes down one side of the park - it was super fun! I could have returned the scooter right then and been satisfied. But we wheeled on and saw soooo many places we likely would have not seen on foot. We rode mostly on marked bike paths or wide esplanades and the occasional sidewalk. We didn’t hit anyone nor did we fall off – so…win-win!
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Ever drive a Ferrari? Well after today, A.J. can say he has. I was the on-board videographer with my knees folded up to my chin as I sat in the back seat as the instructor was riding shotgun. I did get some good pics during the 20 minute drive thru the streets on Barcelona near the beach. Even though there was a bit of traffic, we could still *open ‘er up* and feel the power. Very cool. Oh yeah….and the roof was down.
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We hopped on the metro and headed to Plaza de Espana. Plaza España is one of the most important places in Barcelona. Gateway to the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. Unfortunately, as with our bad luck with fountains, we missed this spectacle. But this is what it would have looked like if we had been here on different days.
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We took the elevator (1 Euro – so worth it) up to the lookout point of the Arenas de Barcelona which was a former bullring until 1977 and left to oblivion. The Arenas de Barcelona was then turned into a modern shopping centre (opened in 2011), while retaining the original facade on the outside. The views from the terrace were pretty cool.
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Time for dinner. We had scouted out a place to eat earlier in the day to try another Spanish specialty – paella. I had always thought it was made strictly with seafood…but no…I had chicken and chorizo in mine and it was really yummy! It was a good thing we walked back to the apartment after dinner.

Today’s excursions left us each wanting to purchase the vehicle we drove around today. I am thinking I will own a scooter before A.J. gets a Ferrari. Haha!

Step count: 27 571

Posted by moorsey88 13:43 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

It Can’t Rain All Day…Can it?

Last Full Day in Barcelona

rain 19 °C

So we woke to rain this morning, but by the time we left the apartment to head out for the day, the rain has stopped. Awesome! Our first stop was the famous Sagrada Familia – the church that they are still building. Regardless of what faith you believe in, this building is more than that. It truly is a piece of art that began construction back in 1882 by Gaudi.
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Antoni Gaudi dedicated 43 years of his life to this project, including the last 12 years of his life as his sole purpose. He left specific drawings and instructions, as he knew he would not see the completion in his lifetime. He died in 1926. He had requested to be buried inside the Basilica. His wish was granted. Completion of the church is expected in 2026 – the 100th anniversary of his death. Many other sculptors, architects and artists have continued to honour Gaudi’s work over the years.
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We had purchased our timed entry tickets a couple days before online to ensure we were going to be able to see it. This is really the best way to guarantee your entrance because tickets could be sold out for the day if you just *show up*. The cost was 25 Euros – a little steep but it was Gaudi’s greatest accomplishment and vision – truly a must see.

After we were done checking out Gaudi’s masterpiece, we headed out for our day trip out of the city – Montserrat. Just make sure you get on the right subway line, going in the correct direction to save some time. Metro ride to Plaza Espana to catch the regional train to Montserrat which took just over an hour. We purchased our tickets at the train station – all modes of transport included for 32 Euros.
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We connected with the Rack Railway once to Montserrat for an additional 20 minutes up the mountain. This railway is designed to climb steep hills and has a maximum speed of 45 km/h. Half the experience of today’s excursion was the journey just to get there!

When we arrived we were able to appreciate the views and get some great pictures despite being cloudy. We dipped into a café for a hot chocolate – which was perfect timing because it had started to downpour. Once the rain had stopped, we thought taking the Sant Joan Funicular to the Sant Loan lookout would be a good idea… However, going another 1000 metres up into the mountains meant we were entering another microclimate – bring on the fog and more rain – resulting in zero visibility. Oh well, you can’t control the weather.
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Once we descended back down the mountain, it was much clearer and no more rain. We were able to walk around the area and appreciate the panoramic vistas before heading back to the Rack Railway and connecting to the train for Barcelona.

We needed to get back to the city on time for our evening’s festivities – Flamenco! We received a discount on our ticket from participating in the walking tour the other day. The cost was only 15 Euros and that even included a glass of sangria! Flamenco clearly tells a story but hard to understand when the singing is in Spanish. The dancing was *foot stomping* good. It seemed like a great cultural thing to do on our last night in Barcelona.
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We actually witnessed our first little bit of shenanigans – a pile of garbage was set ablaze on the street. It was a small fire and the police nearby were on top of it. We didn’t stick around.

We walked along La Rambla – had dinner (more tapas and paella) and perhaps even a little souvenir shopping…all for a good price of course. That’s how I roll.

Time to pack and get organized for the journey home. Adios.

Posted by moorsey88 14:44 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

That's A Wrap

Welcome Home!

semi-overcast 14 °C

Another trip concludes as we prepare to head for the Barcelona airport for the journey home to Toronto. We used the Aerobus from Plaza Catalunya for 6 Euros - it's a great way to transfer to the airport. Our flight was on time and actually arrived about 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

London. Paris. Barcelona. The top 3 most visited cities in Europe - fantastic! We emerged ourselves into the culture of each city as much as possible and took in as many sights as we could. Despite protests in the cities...it did not deter our adventures! We were fortunate of the timing of our trip and it did not have any impact on our scheduled travel plans.

Once on the ground in Toronto...the last thing we had to do was to wait for our luggage. I actually lost the *luggage carousel game* on every flight....I went 0 for 3. My bag was last every time. Haha. There's always next time!

Posted by moorsey88 12:58 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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