All posts by Hayls824

Barcelona Dia 2 y 3

IMG_3156 IMG_3160 IMG_3189 IMG_3194 IMG_3198 IMG_3200 IMG_3210 IMG_3223 IMG_3237 IMG_3249 IMG_3260 IMG_3265The next day we headed to the Picasso museum and saw everything from the paintings he began as a teenager to the paintings in his later years with cubism. My favorite of this museum were the series of paintings he titled Las Meninas (after a famous painting from the 1800’s). A temporary/visiting Dali exhibit was attached to the museum as well and we got to see the comparisons between the two artists.

After the museum, we revisited the cathedral Santa Maria del Mar, famous for the 1714 war of secession, with the loss of Catalans, the cease-fire took place at the church. Following the church, we walked around that area, Born street, and saw the excavations that lie beneath the city. The ruins of the Romans, the middle ages, and the new Barcelona are all layered on top of one another underground.

The Parque Guell was our next stop, after climbing the largest uphill I have ever seen (steps on steps on steps) we arrived in the beautiful and sandy park designed and inspired by Gaudi, with beautiful structures and buildings that sit high up in the mountains of Barcelona. The view from the top was incredible and we could see everywhere we had already visited in Barcelona from the top. We also picnicked in the park under the palm trees.

After the park we toured la Casa Pedrero, also designed by Gaudi. It’s placed right along one of the popular streets of Barcelona, la calle Garcia, where many high-end shops are located. The house is still used as apartments and office space but the architecture is beautiful and the roof access and top few floors are used for tours and exhibitions. The audio tour took us through the rooms sort of how Biltmore does, and we saw all of Gaudi’s beautiful designs, down to the smallest detail like his hand-made specialty door knobs that fit to a hand and the odd-looking wood carved chairs.

Undoubtedly the longest day so far, we finished it with the freedom of dinner wherever we wanted to go. A few of us went to La Plaza Real and watched a few street performers while we ate outside at Tobagan and ordered a dish very similar to Paella, but with different noodles, I believe mine was called Fideguay.

Lastly, the group all came together to try out a club right on the beaches of Barcelona. The beaches were crowded because this was the night of a huge fireworks festival as well, and it was such a fun experience (even American music haha).

 

The following day we rode the train for an hour to the cable car that took us up to Montserrat. This had to have been my favorite day so far. We rode the cable car up 1,350 feet to view the beautiful Montastery, where young boys can still attend a school and choir. We rode the Ferniuclar to the top of Montserrat from there and then hiked an hour down the mountain, stopping at little shrines and crosses along the way, enjoying undeniably the most breath-taking view I have ever seen in my life, no exaggeration. Many venders were along the streets back down in the main area offering samples of cheese and honey made directly below the mountain by local famers. After spending the whole day in Montserrat, the whole group ate at la Plaza Real in the restaurant Crema ______? And I tried duck for the first time and was very pleased!

Next stop…Zaragoza y Madrid!

Barcelona Dia 1 y 2

After having been awake since 5:00 am on Saturday, I finally arrived in Barcelona at 7:00 am the previous day (with a 6 hour time difference!).  Navigating a few of Barcelona’s busy streets from then until noon was my first task…along with finding the hotel.  After stopping in and inquiring at four different hotels, seemingly named the same and all having Ramblas in their name, I located my hotel from where my autobus had dropped me off.  Las Ramblas is the street my hotel was located on, one of the most popular streets in Barcelona, where it seems no one ever stops moving.  I settled down with my travel guide and a Jamon and cheese sandwich in a breakfast place a few doors down while I waited for noon to roll around and trying not to fall asleep at the table.

By noon, almost everyone had arrived in Barcelona and the group of us met with the 3 professors in the lobby of the hotel.  Hotels are very different here and are squished in tiny little doorways on busy streets, so they are very narrow.  Our group headed out for a walk around Barcelona to see some of the scenery, as well as entering la Catedral de Barcelona.  The dress code was very strict, shoulders must be covered and knee-length pants.  We heard live music on the steps of the church while we watched locals join in dancing the Sardana together, making a circle and holding hands.  I enjoyed learning about the locals’ lifestyle and how the city is urbanized and the residents live above the shops and restaurants on main roads as well.  We walked down to the marina and were able to see the huge fish that swam in the clear blue water and all of the pine trees lined up against the boardwalk.  Also, I am very impressed by the bike lanes and how commonly used they are.  After a short siesta the group met up and headed to dinner at la Taverna Basca Irati, where we ate Tapas (appetizers/finger-food) of many varieties with wine.  Following dinner we ate Gelato (they are practically everywhere in Barcelona) and then everyone went a street or two off Las Ramblas to enjoy Sangria at the bar with the locals.

Today we had breakfast at the hotel, they eat lots of bread and pastries over here, and then we headed to a plaza to begin our Fat Bike Tour around Barcelona.  It was a four hour leisurely bike ride seeing sites around Barcelona such as the beach, the Arc de triomphe, a park, and La Sagrada Familia.  The beach was man-made and created only for the Olympics.  They brought in tons and tons of sand from the Sahara dessert, and do annually, and they also brought over palm trees from Hawaii because they do not naturally occur here.  La Sagrada Familia is a church that Gaudi designed to take 200 years to build.  It is still under construction and is predicted to be finished by 2026.  It was beautiful and intricate and displays scenes from the Nativity and also from the death of Christ on it’s outer walls.  Gaudi’s crypt is also on the lower floor of the church.  We had lunch outside in the middle walk of Las Ramblas and had Paella.  Later today we took the subway back to La Sagrada Familia and toured.  Most took the subway back to the hotel afterwards, except one spanish professor, two students, and I, who walked the 40 minutes back to the hotel in order to see the modern and newer side of the city, and Gracia street which had high-end shops and more of the locals.  It was nice to see a side of town that was less touristy.  Dinner was served back at the hotel and lasted from 8 pm to 10 pm, no less. People here very much enjoy sitting at the table and not rushing their meals, as well as eating really late at night.  But the whole scene is starting to become very comfortable as we get adjusted to how everything runs here.  Now we are turning in, because a full day is in for us tomorrow, including picnics, churches, and maybe a little shopping!

 

IMG_3101 IMG_3129 IMG_3132 IMG_3140