Flight is at 10.30 AM so I don't have to get up every arly. I arrive at the airport 1 hour before departure (which is what I normally do) and can already say that the people on the plane are different from the ones I am used too: they are TOURISTS ;-))))) Flight is packed and long before boarding there is a long line. As I want an aisle seat I am not in a hurry as I know that tourists come in two and usually one of them wants a window seat. :D And of course I get my aisle seat... flight is unspectacular till we land... jeeeeeez, who introduced that crazy habit to applaud after landing (most people don't know that one of the most dangerous moments of a flight comes AFTER landing as lots of planes haven't been able to stop in time and landed in a field... *hehe* ).
Once I am in the airport I have to walk about a mile to get my suitcase and then I am out and about. I have bought a 3-days Barcelona card online which gives me free rides on public transport and discounts to a lot of museums etc. So I go and get it and then look for the airport bus. Can't get on the first one as there is a long line but I am not in a hurry so it doesn't really matter. Once in the bus I get a first glimpse on the city on my way to center town. The bus is going to Plaza Catalunya which is the main square of Barcelona.
From there I have to go 3 stations by subway to my hotel the aparthotel Silver. This has been recommended to me and was rather cheap. I have a kitchenette I don't necessarily need but the room is big enough for me, has warm water and a safe and that's all about it takes for me to be happy in a hotel. I unpack fast and then I am off (it is already 3 PM by now and there is not much left of day day... ;) ).
Right next to the hotel is the first building I see which has been built by Antoni Gaudi. It is one of the less known ones but I like it at first sight. It is not as spectacular as the ones I see later on but still - it is different from most of the buildings I know:
After that I head to the subway station and am on my way to Park Guell. This park has been planned as well by Antoni Gaudi. He did all the landscaping and it is fabulous. Unfortunately I didn't really have much time and although I stayed about one hour there I didn't see half of it... here are some impressions:
The two builldings at the entrance:
A detail of one of the roofs:
I loved that fountain (and you find miniatures of that iguana all over town):
This terrace was supposed to be a market (according to Gaudi's original plans) and it has a magnificent view over Barcelona).
This is the wall surrouding the big terrace and it is supposed to be a snake
Here are a few more impressions but they don't even show half of what can be seen there....
This house can be seen from the park but is not part of it... would like to have that as my weekend home... :D
On my way back to the subway I saw this old building
and Tibidabo where you can go to an amusement park (I didn't make it up there)
This is Casa Mila one of the most famous buildings Antoni Gaudi planned. There was a long line on the ticket counter so I didn't get up there on the roof:
And near Casa Mila I saw this angel residing on top of a building. Pretty impressing stuff...
From there I headed to La Sagrada Familia and I was really astonished. Of course I had seen pics of the church before but I didn't know that there are so many colours on the outside of it. Pretty unusual but to give you an impression of what I mean I will post some details:
Didn't know Antoni Gaudi already knew Star Wars when he planned 'La Sagrada Familia'...
As it was already getting late and they were closing I didn't enter the church either and headed on
towards La Rambla, the main street where people go to have some fun.
I took a smaller side street and found a bar where I ordered some tapas
While sitting there I looked up at the surrounding buildings and it was funny what you can see on the balconies...
often the balconies seem to be either part of the appartment or an additional place to store stuff:
Later on I came across the Museum of Contemporary Art
Don't know what that is or means but I liked it:
and then before I went back to the hotel because my feet were hurting I came across St. Joseph market:
Don't think I will post the pic of the goat heads which still had eyes in them...
On the evening before I went to Barcelona I finally found the day trip I had been looking for when I first started planning the trip: going to the Dali-Museum in Figueras. Saw it only after I had booked my 3-days Barcelona card so of course I lost money but I had been dreaming of seeing this musuem for about 20 years so I didn't wanna loose that occasion.
So I had to get up very early that morning to be in plaza Catalunya at a quarter past 8. There I asked someone for info and he told me which bus I had to go to. Turned out I was the only person in the line who knew it so we already had something to talk about while waiting.... :joker: :joker: :joker:
The first stop we made was in Girona. I didn't know anything about this town except it's name before we arrived (wasn't really interested in it either as my goal was to go to Figueras). But then when we got out of the bus and went to the river I thought ' but Florence is in Italy....'
We had half an hour to get some coffee and I went with the canadian guys from Montreal, the australian and the guy from Los Angeles to a bar. Problem was we were just ignored there... at some point the waiter told me he would wait on us but what we did was waiting... :D so while we were waiting time passed and then we didn't have any time left to get coffee... bad luck for them - business lost.... the square was nice though.
Then the guided tour around Girona began. We took so many pictures and were completely fascinated by the town. It is awesome... haven't heard the story which goes with this but I can swear that the lion had the expression of the face before that guy kissed his a$$... :joker: :joker: :joker:
This street reminded me a lot of Tuscany.
And this garden was just beautiful as well...
I think this was a monastery.
Inside the arab bath...
I loved the colours of that roof:
The cathedral of Girona:
And again a great building...
The sqaure in front of the cathedral:
One of the narrow steep streets in Girona:
If you don't have other possibilities to dry your stuff it needs to hang on the roof... ;)
The flat iron building of Girona... ;)
And another funny balcony...
Tapas and salad...
And some more decor on the buildings...
Once again the cathedral which is overlooking the town:
And then we were off to Figueras. On the way most of us slept a little bit as we all seemed to just have to make a siesta. :D What expected us there was:
Have to say a few words before posting more pics. I knew Dali was a genius and a great artist. I knew too that this guy was so crazy that he was over the edge. Till sunday I hadn't realized though how much of a genius he really was. I knew most of the more famous pieces of art which are in the Dali museum in Figueras but you understand some of the ideas only when you see them in person. I will give you examples in the pics I'll post further down.
In the courtyard. The statues represent the 'Oscar' but Dali made them all female.
One of the more famous pieces (I think it is called something like 'schizophrenic torrero' but not sure about that).
This is one of the art works which are really amazing. In the middle are two mirrors and to the left and the right are one painting each. Now when you look into the mirror the two paintings melt into one. The fantastic thing about is that it doesn't matter how much you move your head to the left or the right, the two images ALWAYS fit into one piece.... and there were several of them.
This is Dali's tomb.
Here is another example of his genius. I had seen pics of his 'Mae West face' before but I had never realized that this was an installation. Here is what you see standing on the ground:
This is the picture of the face of Mae West I had seen before....
And another example: this is the entrance hall of the museum. You see a painting with the face of Abraham Lincoln. I had seen this before and knew it was one of the paintings with double meanings. When you are close you see his wife Gala standing in a window but at the same time it is the face of Abraham Lincoln. What was really amazing though was that looking at the painting with your eyes you see Gala. But when you look at it through your camera you see only Abraham Lincoln (which is what you see on that pic as well). It was absolutely amazing and I have never seen anything like that.
That's a door... ;)
The installation in the courtyard
And this Bentley is full of water:
Ceiling in one of the rooms:
When I finally left the museum after about 2 hours I was so fed up that I didn't go to the second one which contains jewels designed by Salvador Dali.
And this is the famous wall outside. The small yellow things on the red walls are all bred as Dali liked bread a lot (of course it's not real bread).
The museum from the other side.
On our way back to Barcelona...
Plaza Catalunya again:
Another tapas bar. Till Stewart told me I hadn't known this kind of tapas existed. There are different toppings on the bread. You get a plate and go around and take whatever you want to eat. In the end the toothpicks are counted and you pay based on the number of them.
After dinner we were tired so I went back to the hotel and another great day was over....
This was already the last day. I slept in but decided not to have breakfast in the hotel but to drink a coffee later on in a cafe. By 9 I had checked out and left my suitcase in the storage area of the hotel and went to Casa Batllo. Casa Batllo is another one of the buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi and it has been declared World heritage by the UNESCO.
These are two outside views:
This time I went inside. Inside a lot of things are made of wood. The main theme of the building is the ocean so you see lots of waves and blue stuff there.
This is a chimney. One seat is for a couple and the other one for a chaperon... :D
The amazing thing about these glas windows are the small dots you can see in the middle of each glass. They contain a bubble of the air of the time they were made.
This is one of the windows on the big window you see on the first pic. As you can see this house doesn't need any air condition as Gaudi designed it in a way that the air could circulate freely.
This is the back from a deck. Unfortunately I didn't capture the waves in which the pavement was built.
One of the rooms inside.... would be hard to find any fitting wardrobes... :D
On the rooftop deck:
Another floor with round walls:
Ocean theme again on the stairways.
The building next to Casa Batllo. Don't know what it was but it sparkled in the sun....
This guy looks like he's preaching, just didn't hear him... ;)
I headed towards the Cathedral and the Gothic quarter afterwards as I had been told that the gothic quarter is great...
One of the tipical buildings in Barcelona:
The square in front of the cathedral. Wasn't worth taking a pic of the cathedral itself as it was under construction and mostly covered with tissue.
A pic for my friend Rita in Dallas... I lit a candle there.... :)
Both the previous pics were taken in the cloister of the cathedral.
The main altar inside the cathedral.
Then I discovered that there was an elevator to the top of the cathedral and decided to go up. From up there you had a magnificent view over the city:
Don't know what this building is maybe a shopping center:
I had seen this building the day before when the went to Figueras. It is the 'Water tower' meaning it belongs to the Water Company in Barcelona. The amazing thing is that the facade has 42 different colours...
Another view of La Sagrada Familia
Children playing on the roof. I think this was part of a Kindergarden.
Part of a tower of the cathedral.
The black Madonna (had to take a pic as we have a black madonna here in Cologne as well and at least here she is very special).
Near the cathedral:
Not sure what animal that is supposed to be....
Mercado Santa Caterina:
Back side of the cathedral again
One of the small streets in the gothic quarter:
Some crazy stuff at 'La Rambla'
A tipical square which was quieter than La Rambla so I sat down there and had my last tapas for the trip there. What I found there is that a lot of the waiters/waitresses are asian (at least they look like it) and don't necessarily speak english....
One of the artists on La Rambla (I would have sweated like a pig... ;-)))) ).
Near the harbour
Dali again at La Rambla.
And a covered street (glass roof over it).
Then it was time to go back to the hotel, get my suitcase and take the bus to the airport. On the way I saw the Royal Palace I should have visited as well as it looked magnificent... didn't have nearly enough time though.
Only conclusion is: I have to come back and I will!