June 7, 2019
This is our 4th time visiting Barcelona and we still haven’t even scratched the surface of this beautiful city.
Last night Ray told us there would be 9 cruise ships in port today.. Wow. As it turned out, I believe there were 7, but the good news is that since our ship is small,we get the prime spot!
Here is the sail in picture.
Today we wanted to see more of the Gaudi influence in Barcelona. We have already visited the Sagrada Familia twice before, once when it was really unfinished (no roof, etc.) and then two years ago when it was amazing to see. It was begun in 1882 and is still unfinished! So this time our sights were on La Pedrera and Parc Guell. Here are some pictures of the outside of the Sagrada Familia though, the first from a distance as it towers over the city and is its most distinctive landmark.
We opted to take the hop on hop off bus to get the birds eye view of much of the city and then get off to explore these two places.
First of all, here are some of the sights of the city.
They have a very efficient tram service here.
And this little car is a GPS guided tour vehicle!
We took the orange line to La Pedrera which was commissioned by Gaudi as a family residence and also had apartments for rent. It is made up of two blocks of residences and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
The building resembles an open stone quarry flowing with shapes taken from nature.
We opted for the fast pass which allowed us to bypass the long line to get in. The courtyards are the first thing you see and the colors and design remind you of a tropical forest.
You then climb the stairs to the roof terrace which is quite spectacular and unlike anything else designed at that time (1906-1912).
Some of the shapes have been finished with mosaics using broken tiles, stones, marble and glass. There are many skylights, stairwells, ventilation towers and chimneys and you could spend hours wandering around this space.
The attic was next. Here is where laundry used to be washed and dried. It consists of 273 flat brick arches arranged to resemble the interior of the Biblical whale. This area also contains a display of his work. Here is a model of the design of the building – which he designed upside down. You can see it right side up in the mirror below it.
On the fourth floor, the apartment shows how a family lived in the early 20th century.
Amazing place and visit, and a new appreciation of how Gaudi revered nature and how it inspired his creations.
We also went past another building, often considered one of his masterpieces, the Casa Batllo, but didn’t go inside.
We changed to the green route on the bus and passed the 1992 Olympic site and the beaches. The white spire was the site of the Olympic flame. The information on the bus described that the beaches had become run down and not visited but when the Olympics were to come to Barcelona, they were all renovated and now are just lovely.
Unfortunately when we went to the Parc Guell, it was sold out for the day (only 800 visitors per hour are allowed). And it was a long uphill walk from the bus. But I did get these pictures from the outside. As seasoned travelers, we probably should have known to buy tickets ahead of time. Oh well, next visit!
After a long morning and most of the afternoon, we walked down the La Rambla, one of the most famous promenades in Europe. It is lined with shops, restaurants and at the port, the famous statue of Columbus.
We stopped for a very late lunch (4 PM) and then passed a food and wine festival on the way back to the ship.
Well, you can buy almost anything on La Rambla. Who knew there were seeds for these varieties??
Great day, you do need many days to fully appreciate this wonderful city. And we look forward to our next visit.