Friday, 27 March 2015

The wonders of Gaudi

The next morning we made sure we were ready for a day of sightseeing. We had a lot we wanted to see.
After grabbing a coffee and some gorgeous fresh pastries from the bakery next door we walked towards the Arc de Trimofe. 

Not quite the same as the actual one in Paris but a good sight none the less. 
Heading towards Sagrada Familia, we were distracted by a rather large circular building on the way. 

Bright blue mosaics shined in the morning sun, enticing us over for a closer look and I'm very glad we did. 
We had stumbled upon a Spanish bull fighting ring.
After paying the rather sleepy looking man at the desk, we entered the stadium.

The entire ring was deserted. 
We couldn't believe how beautiful the inside was and how there were no tourists, in fact, we wandered round for about an hour and the only person we saw was the caretaker casually going about his day.

This doesn't seem to be in the tourist books, nor was it on the map that we had but I highly recommend coming here. 
If you are lucky enough, as we were, to have the place to yourselves, let your imagination run wild and picture what it might have been like when the stadium was packed and full to brim with excited spectators.

Back on track, we walked onwards towards Sagrada Familia. 
This is one of Barcelona's well known attractions, if not the most popular. 
Unfinished it may be but it still has over 2.8 million visitors a year. 

Construction began in 1882 and almost 100 years later, the work is still on going. 

The cathedral is huge and even if you stand at the bottom and look upwards, it makes you feel a little dizzy.
It costs you about 19 euros to go into the church which also included the lift up the Passion/Nativity towers to experience the views from the top of the towers. 
Go early!! We did have to queue but it wasn't too bad. However I can imagine that in high season, it will be busier. 

Guesses on when construction will be complete range between 2020's to the 2040's. 
Even before reaching that point, some of the oldest parts of the church have already required restoration work. 

But wait. If you think the outside is impressive, nothing prepared me for what awaited us inside. 

I cannot express how amazing the inside of the cathedral was. It was unlike anything I have seen before. 

'Give us this day our daily bread'

We got the lift up the Nativity tower which gives you wonderful views over the Barcelona skyline. 

Once you leave the lift you have to walk across a bridge before you can begin the walk down a very steep spiraled staircase.
We did stop for a very quick photo on the bridge but heights are not my strong point so I didn't linger too long here.
Let me show you some of the views.

The little square you can see in the picture above is actually quite interesting...
This magic square of order 4, the sum obtained in vertical, horizontal, diagonal or all four quadrants is 33, the age of Jesus Christ when he was crucified. 
In the museum you can see explanations of the Magic Square with all the different forms that sum 33. (It really is quite clever). 

With our feet back on the ground, we caught the metro up to Parc Gueill. 

I imagine in the summer this place would be a sun haven. Packed full of cheery people, basking in the sun and drinking home made Sangria.
Alas, it was still a little cold when we were there but the sun was shining and in the early evening sun light we managed to get a few good pictures. 

The mosaics are so pretty. We wandered along the long winding benches, gazing at all the different patterns, shapes and colours. 

We wandered around for a while and once the sun had set we made our way back towards the Gothic Quarter for some tapas and cava. 

We wandered the streets for a while, looking at all the different restaurants. There are so many to choose from. 
We didn't have anywhere specific we wanted to go this evening so we just wandered.
We stopped in here first.

I recommend trying the cava. It's what Barcelona is apparently quite famous for. 
It was lovely, crisp and extremely drinkable. 

We continued to explore and only popped into this place to see what it was all about but were suddenly whisked off to a table. Not wanting to refuse, we followed our waitress.

The best bit was that in order to get to any of the tables you had to walk through the kitchen! 

We had ended up in 'Los Caracoles' meaning....Snails. 
It was founded in 1835 by the Bofarull family which is currently in it's fourth generation who have carried on it's excellent reputation within Barcelona. 

Now this restaurant is actually in the Lonely Planet guide. It's very quirky inside with lots of hidden corners and tables tucked away. 
If you do decide to go here, try their most famous dish, Caracoles. Snails of course. 

Unfortunately I didn't take many pictures so you will just have to trust me on this one. 

If you haven't been to Barcelona before, I highly recommend it. 
I believe there is something here for everyone. Whether you like art, good food, architecture or you want to sample the local wine. I promise, you won't be disappointed. 

Let me know where you think I should go next?


  1. Well I'm glad you found my blog so I could find yours, haha! Such lovely photos! Barcelona looks beautiful! Exploring the stadium on your own sounds so cool! Ah Sagrada Familia is definitely on my bucket list, it's such a beautiful and unique place! The light from the stained glass, oh my gosh how breathtaking!

    1. Thank you :) I know, the inside of Sagrada Familia really did take your breath way.
      Hope you've had a good weekend.