What a great place. Barcelona would have to be the coolest place we’ve visited so far. To sum it up really quickly it’s because of the night life, the atmosphere and all of Antonio Gaudi’s works.
Now for the longer version. You better get a drink because this is a long one. I really hope the length of this doesn’t deter you, but please read on 🙂 We liked Barcelona so much that no doubt Rach and I will both return again. The streets of Barcelona are always bustling with people and there a city life atmosphere in the air. The main streets are lined with restaurants, bars and more. All with table and chairs facing the road or walk ways. Most people don’t eat till after 9pm. Some restaurants even continue to serve dinner past 11:30pm! It’s definitely a party city with loads of places to sit and chill for a drink or have a large one.
On our first day Rach and I went on another bike tour. The bike tour was very good. We had lunch along the beach and the guide was funny as well as being knowledgeable with his Barcelona history. He was a Londoner working in Barcelona for the summer. He taught us a few things about the place that I didn’t know. e.g. Barcelona was previously not a part of Spain but of Catalunya. And only recently became a part of Spain. Apparently very resistively too. The locals speak Catalan, not Spanish, which is called Castilian here. The locals are still very proud of being Catalan and there are more Catalan flags than Spanish flags. If you ask locals what nationality they are, most will say Catalan and the majority still speak Catalan. The Catalan language is apparently a mix of Castilian (Spanish) and French. I guess that’s because Catalunya borders France.
The main site the bike tour took us to was Antonio Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. The building on one side was made to be look like a melted candle while the other side is very straight and symmetrical in areas. A complete contrast. This complex church started construction in 1885. The current constructors and designers don’t believe it will be finished until 2085. Yep that’s 200 years. Gaudi always intended to for this building to be built by a number of generations. Apparently they have massive plans for it. They have run out of room and have bought surrounding apartment blocks and all residents need to move out within ten years. They are planning to build underground tunnels to link the to be created sites together as the roads are still there. Gaudi devoted 40 years of his life to this church. He was so obsessed with it that he ended moving in and living there till his death. He worked 16 hours a day every day and never left the place. He even stopped showering and shaving, which contributed towards his death. One day we left the church for some reason and got hit by a tram. Because he looked like a bum, he had a massive beard from not shaving and probably was dirty and stunk from not showering. He laid there on the road badly injured and no one helped him cause they thought he was a bum and not the famous Gaudi. After several hours some one took him to the hospital but he was not attended to properly because he was a bum. A few days later some one recognised him as being Gaudi but shortly after was dead. The poo hit the fan at the hospital and apparently a few heads rolled. He died in 1926.
After the bike tour, we met up with my sister and her new boyfriend Mark. We headed for a quiet outdoor area for drinks (Sangria and Coronitas) and had a great time catching up in the sun for the rest of the afternoon. I hadn’t seen my sister in ages and had never met Mark. Sangria is the local specialty drink it usually consists of ice, red wine, chopped or sliced fruit, a sweetener such as honey, a small amount of added brandy, triple sec, or other spirits. It varied depending on where you went but all were nice. Coronitas is just what they call Coronas in Spain.
On our second day we headed out for some sightseeing. All of the destinations we had planned for day were masterpieces of Antonio Gaudi. The first we headed for was Park Guell. The park has a tall view point that looks out over wide area of Barcelona. The park like all of Gaudi’s works is amazing. The roof top top of the park is lined with seats that swerve left and right all around the edges of the roof and the seats are all made of tiny little bits of tiles in a mosaic style to make all different kinds of patterns and pictures. It would of taken ages to complete.
The roof is designed to collect rain water to be used for the fountains downstairs. Underneath the roof is the famous stairs of the park where there are three fountains. One of the fountains is of a cool lizard / dragon that spills out the water from the roof out its mouth. Again the dragon is covered entirely in colourful tiny little tiles in the same mosaic fashion as with the seats. There are also two other strange looking buildings that are Gaudi’s work as well.
After that we headed for Casa Batllo. This is one of Gaudi’s most famous works. We paid â‚¬16 (AU$27) to get in and we weren’t sure if it was going to be worth it. We were completely wrong. Easily the best site we’ve paid money to get into. It also came with a audio guide that made the experience a lot more interesting. The audo guides are headphones that when you get into a room you press the number of the room and the headphones play the audio for that room. Judging by this building and all his others, it’s quite obvious that he took some powerful hallucinogens. This house is just unreal. I would so love to hire this place out for a party. What a venue! Inside it looks as if he was scared of straight lines. Everything is very curvey, bubbley or rounded. Anything but straight. He was very big on natural light so the building had a massive vertical area that went through the centre of the building which let light into every room. Every room was brilliant and had some different to it. Just like the park the house was full of mosaic patterns to decorate many areas of the house.
The roof of the house is amazing. You can walk around up top and look at surrounding areas as well the little room he made for quiet get aways. He has made the roof tiles look like the skin of a dragon and where the tiles meet at the top he has made it look like the spine of a dragon. The chimneys also added to the look of the roof.
Next we headed for another of Gaudi’s works named Casa Mila. We wanted to check this out as the roof top and outside were of the same curvacious nature as all of his other works. The entrance price included an audio guide which also added to the value. The roof top was cool as. Again very curvey with lots of ups and downs with a number of sculptures and chimneys disguised as sculptures. After walking around we headed inside for the audio guide which talked lots about his works and the design involved. The audio was guide was very interesting. If it wasn’t already obvious the audio guide showed even more that he was a genius.
After the sights we headed for dinner at a place that on previous nights we had seen a line to get in that stretched for over a hundred metres. We got there 40 minutes before open time just to be sure. The place doesn’t open up till 20:30. Luckily the restaurant is huge which is good so most of the line got in. The restaurant is known for its cheap and great tasting food. When we got the menu my eyes were so hungry especially when the prices were so cheap. Like 2-3 euro for nibbles. 3-6 euro for starters. I got Patas Bravas which has been my favourite nibbles dish in Spain. It’s basically cubed roasted or fried potatoes with a spicy salsa and I think sour cream. Obviously I went for a chicken breast meal with cheese sauce that was just great. Of course litres of the Sangria was flowing. We had a great night and the food was excellent. We were both upset that it was our last night and we had not discovered the restaurant earlier.