A Postcard from Barcelona

So much to do in Barcelona and only 4 days to do it in!!! My husband and I visited this amazing city in January, and as you can see I am way behind on my blog posts.

We arrived in the afternoon on January 5 and checked into our hotel, the Hostal Dingdong Putxet. This is a great little budget hotel, very clean and super friendly staff. The location is also great, only a short walk from the Lesseps metro station, so it’s easy to go anywhere in the city in minutes.

When you arrive at the airport you can take the A1 or A2 airport bus into the city. It drops you off in Plaza Catalunya. This is a real transportation hub with a metro station and many bus lines stopping here. No matter which public transport you are planning to use we recommend that you buy a transit pass in the metro station. They are available for up to 5 days and are valid on all the busses as well except the airport buses. If however you left all your remaining Euros at your hotel as a tip and you only have your transit pass, like us, take bus #46 from Plaza Catalunya.

 

After checking into our hotel we discovered that it was only a short walk from there to Park Güell so we decided to check it out. One of Antoni Gaudi’s creation, the place bursts with fantastic shapes and colors. It’s also a great viewpoint over the city. It’s usually busy here, so if you know in advance when you are coming it’s a good idea to buy your tickets online. Only a limited number of people are admitted to the park at any given time, so you must be there at the time printed on the ticket. img_20190105_184801_017

The next stop on our Gaudi tour was Sagrada Familia, the fabulous basilica in the city center. Construction was started in 1882 and it is still not completed. Apparently there was never a building permit issued so in 2018 it was agreed to pay €36 million to the city, to pay for the municipal expenses generated by decades of construction work. It is now scheduled to be completed in 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death. The basilica’s crypt, where the architect is buried, and the facade are listed on UNESCO World Heritage list.20190106_172737The next day for a change of pace we explored the Gothic quarter. This is the oldest part of the city. There are remains of the old Roman wall and an ancient synagogue that you can visit, where they give a short talk on the history of this area and the Jewish community. Afterwards we wandered around the dark, narrow streets in the quarter, discovering awesome little shops and restaurants.

After lunch in a cosy little restaurant we headed down to the Maremagnum shopping center. On the way you can admire the 60 meter tall Columbus monument at the lower end of La Rambla and the sail boats in the yacht habour.

The Maremagnum is really much more than a shopping mall. It’s almost completely surrounded by water and accessed by a sophisticated wooden lifting pedestrian bridge. Every hour this bridge closes for about 10 minutes to let boats in the Marina sail in and out. This is a beautiful area to hang around. The Mall itself has a great veriaty of stores and restaurants and the Aquarium is right there as well. So this area has a lot to offer for the whole family.

While strolling around the port area try some amazing french fries at Las Fritas, they just can’t be beat!

The beaches are near here as well so we just kept walking soaking up the wonderful waterfront atmosphere and were rewarded with a great sunset that evening.

Barcelona sunset
Barcelona sunset

The next day wad our last day in this amazing city, so we did a bit of a Gaudi tour. We started out by touring Casa Vicens, Gaudi’s first masterpiece. This house was built between 1883 and 1885 as a summer house for a Barcelona family. The style is unique in its use of colorful tiles and playful design. We also really enjoyed comparing this early building with Gaudi’s later work.

Casa Vicens, Barcelona
Casa Vicens, facade

Then we did a bit of a walking tour through the streets passing other Gaudi buildings as well as the work of other architects of that era which give Barcelona its special character. We ended our tour at Casa Batllo, a fantastic day dream, rather than a house. This building was inspired by the sea and uses mainly blue tones. There isn’t a staight line in this house. It’s a place that needs to be experienced to be truly appreciated, words don’t do it justice at all.

This is just a small taste of what Barcelona has to offer. There is no way one could ever get tired of it.20190107_163704

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