Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Barcelona, Spain - Day 5

Today was our last day in Barcelona.  We had a late flight, so we had the whole day to explore.  We started our day at Guell Park, which is another Gaudi masterpiece.  There are two sections to this park - the part where you have to pay and have a timed ticket to enter, and then the free part behind it.  The ticketed part of the park we have decided wasn't really worth it - we enjoyed the free part much more.  If you are on a time crunch, or if you just don't want to spend money on one more overly crowded tourist attraction - we highly recommend the free part of this park.  It has beautiful views and open spaces, and we found it more spectacular.  

After lunch we took the fenicular up to Montjuic park to see the views from that mountain top and also to visit the Olympic Village.  Barcelona held the summer olympics in 1992 and there is now a museum (Which we recommend visiting and the cost is minimal) and many of the stadiums still standing.  It is a beautiful park.

Inside the museum they had an Olympic torch from almost every year

We walked down the mountain and found this incredibly large art museum that we (meaning Mat and I) wish we had time to go inside and explore.  It was massive.  The foundatins outside of the museume were gorgeous.  We couldn't get close to the biggest one because they were filming an upcoming BBC show around the fountain.  The kids enjoyed watching the filming

Our last stop was the Barcelona Arena.  It was built in 1889 and was originally used as a bull fighting ring.  It was also used as a concert hall in the later 1900s.  The arena finally closed for good in the 1970s and fell into disrepair.  Only the outside remains - it was refurbished and saved, but not inside is a huge mall.  You can go up to the top floor and get a 360 view of the city (free and outside).  It was a cool place to end our day before heading back to the airport

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Barcelona, Spain - Day Four

Today was all about Gaudi the architect.  We started our day at Sangrada Familia.  This is a large unfinished Roman Catholic basilica.  It was designed by architect Gaudi and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You absolutely must have a ticket ahead of time to enter the Basilica.  It is a timed ticket, and one of the most expensive tickets we purchased for this trip.  It is well worth it, but please know that even in October, this was the busiest place in the city, so be prepared.  

It was amazing to see.  The front of the church is the only thing Gaudi saw finished in his lifetime.  (he was killed in the early 1900s when he was hit by a tram).  We were told that this church expects to be completed in the year 2026 - just in time for the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.

There are no other words for this place other than massive.  It is absolutely stunning, and everywhere you look there is something unique to see.  An audio guide was included with our ticket (We didn't take a guided tour - decided to do this one on our own), and it explains the history of the building and the work going on very well.  The inside is incredible and unlike any other church I have ever seen.

We did walk past the ring where they hold bull fighting still.  We looked into it before we arrived, but no events were happening while we were in Spain.  Plus the kids really didn't want to go, so we skipped it.

Our second stop was Gaudi's Casa Batilo.  Origianlly built in 1877, it was bought by the Batilo family in 1900.  The Batilo family wanted the house to be unique, so in 1904 they hired Gaudi to transform it. The family lived in it as a house until 1940 and then the children turned it into apartments.  Now it operates as a museum.  You do need to buy tickets for a timed entrance.  It is a large building, but it can quickly get crowded.

The housde was quite beautiful and well worth a visit.  The house is completely empty now, but the audio guide was fantastic.  It comes with a phone like aparatus that you hold up in each room to show you what it looked like when the house was owned by the family.

Cool building we pased on our walk

When we were looking for "quirky" things to see in Barcelona, Mat found this one.  This is on the outisde of a building that used to be a monestary.  This was a hole where babies were deposited that were not wanted.  Parents would put the baby in the hole, and the board would flip and deposit the baby inside the monestary.  We tried to put our three in there, but they wouldn't fit

Our last stop was a huge open market of La Boqueria.  It was rows and rows are delicious foods to look at and to buy.  We had a great time getting dinner here this evening.

We found this huge cat on our walk back to the apartment