Reminiscing the early 1900's

Tibidabo Travel Blog

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Sant Gervasi Hospital, better known as La Rotonda

We had a great night sleep and don’t get up very early,  there’s no rush today, we are going for a walk and don’t have to take any opening hours into account. We do some groceries, go to the ATM, get everything back to the appartment and then head for the metro station.

The station is only a few minutes walking away from our appartment and we know that line 7 will take us to the Avinguda del Tibidabo, the starting point of our next transport. As always it is warm and damp in the underground stations, which is no wonder considering the constant heat in the city with only an occasional rainshower.

The Tramvia Blau dates back to the early 1900's.

Emerging from the underground we are eye to eye with the modernist facade and mosaic dome of the Sant Gervasi Hospital, better known as La Rotonda, which is very close to the tram station. When we get to the Avinguda del Tibidabo there are quite some people waiting for the Tramvia Blau already and we have to get in line. Once again, it would’ve been better if we had been here earlier. When the tram arrives we start having doubts, whether or not all of the people waiting will fit in the vehicle of mediocre size. We are in luck and we are some of the last people let on board. No comfortable seats, though, we have to stand in the isle, limiting our view, due to the low windows. All in all it is a nice experience to make a ride in the only surviving tram in Barcelona, that is a charming memory of the early 20th century.

The last stretch to Tibidabo is the steep funicular.
The ride is slow and takes only about 10 to 15 minutes, but it goes through a part of town where the wealthier class used to live in modernist mansions.

The next stage of our “voyage” is the funicular, another transport on a rail, but this one is the steepest trainlike vehicle I have ever been in. Put this train on a horizontal track and the seats will be leaning backwards as if they were relaxing chairs and you will hardly be able to stand on your feet, because everything is built in an angle. Halfway the track there’s a small section of double track, where the meeting trains can pass one another, without making a mess of things. The funicular ends near the summit of Tibidabo, where the Parc d’Atraccions. This funfair also originates from the early 1900’s and it looks like the atractions haven’t changed much since those days, except for the rollercoaster maybe. In my opinion people come here for nostalgic reasons, rather than for a good thrill-ride.

The Iglesia del Sagrat Cor, on the summit of Tibidabo.

Lunch is simple today, a home made sandwich with a Coke from a vending machine. This brings back memories of our hiking holidays in Austria when we used to fill our backpack with food and drinks and set off into the mountains.

On the absolute summit of Tibidabo stands the Iglesia del Sagrat Cor, a church that is sometimes compared to the Sacre Coeur in Paris, due to the resemblance of the decorations and locations. From the outside the church looks magnificent, and the decorations on the inside are definately worth a peek, on the ground floor that is. A pastor is present here, keeping an eye on the visitors. Every one is welcome in his house of God, but you have to respect the rules. When someone raises his voice to more than a whisper, the pastor kicks into action to silence the heathen.

Torre de Collserola, the communications tower built for the 1992 Olympic Games.
Fearing a holy reprimand, I move around taking pictures quietly, not using my tripod, since the Spanish seem to have an aversion for it.

The upper floor has no decorations and looks like the project was abandoned after only the carcass of the church was finished. There is a possibility to take the elevator to go way up onto the tower for a view over the city, but it is a bit hazy today, so we decide to walk back down again, to the city that is. This is quite a walk and because we don’t have an immensely detailed map of the area we are pretty much obliged to follow the road down, leaving the few tiny tracks for what they are.

From the top of the mountain we were already able to see the Torre de Collserola, the communications tower designed by Norman Foster for the 1992 Olympic Games.

Tibidabo.
Here too, it is possible to take an elevator to a panorama platform 115 metre above the face of the mounain and have a view of almost 70 kilometres over the city, if it weren’t for this haze.

After a few hours walking, including the occasional stop for a rest or an ice cream, we enter the city again and instead of walking all the way back to the appartment we go underground for the last stretch.

We take it easy for a little while in the coolness of our home and in the evening, after dinner there’s another soccer match, accompanied by a nice cool (non alcoholic) beer.

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Sant Gervasi Hospital, better know…
Sant Gervasi Hospital, better kno…
The Tramvia Blau dates back to the…
The Tramvia Blau dates back to th…
The last stretch to Tibidabo is th…
The last stretch to Tibidabo is t…
The Iglesia del Sagrat Cor, on the…
The Iglesia del Sagrat Cor, on th…
Torre de Collserola, the communica…
Torre de Collserola, the communic…
Tibidabo.
Tibidabo.
I always knew centaurs existed...
I always knew centaurs existed...
Another inside view of Iglesia del…
Another inside view of Iglesia de…
Inside the Iglesia del Sagrat Cor.
Inside the Iglesia del Sagrat Cor.
Tibidabo
photo by: jumpingnorman