Barcelona, Spain on day 16

Barcelona Travel Blog

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I think the gull wanted to come inside for lunch with us.
I love Barcelona and have spent all my idle moments here trying to figure out when we can come back here for at least a week.  Two days is just not enough time to even begin to see all the wonderful sights here.   Even in the cold this is the most visually exciting city I’ve ever seen.  The architecture and the street scenes are extraordinary.  

Barcelona is a big city, population of over 1.6 million and the capital of the Catalonia region of Spain.  It was a city even in Roman times and in the middle ages was part of Aragon as in Katherine of Aragon.  The myths say either that it was founded by Hercules or by Hamilcar the Carthaginian.  Pretty nice heritage either way.

We didn’t book any organized tours and just planned on walking from the waterfront into the heart of the city up a pedestrian thoroughfare called Las Ramblas.  (As I learned yesterday during the Ibiza debacle, ramblas means dry riverbed.
It seems the Cathedral is also a goose sanctuary
)  There is a large traffic circle with a statue of Christopher Columbus at the waterfront end of Las Ramblas and the street continues NNW into the hills, studded with shops, museums, cafes and street performers as it climbs.  The old Gothic Quarter and the main Cathedral are just east of Las Ramblas and that’s where we headed first.  The attraction was a Thursday morning flea market that was supposed to be one of the world’s best.  It didn’t quite live up to its reputation (or maybe it was just too early) so we went back to Las Ramblas and walked up to Placa de Catalunya.

Even though it was cold, we got two day tickets for one of those “hop on hop off” buses to get an overview of Barcelona.  I’d heard that the city was famous for its architecture and for one architect in particular, Gaudi.  Riding around on the top of a bus seemed like a great way to view a lot of buildings in a hurry even though it was about 40 degrees out.  At this point, you have to remember that all three of us are Floridians and not very cold-tolerant.  Since it was still early, we got great seats on the open top deck of the bus and a very good view, just as we had planned.  In fact the view was so good and the architecture was so stupendous that I refused to get off the bus and give up my “good” seat.  I kept thinking “just one more stop”  “I’ll just photograph a few more buildings and then I’ll get off and go someplace warm”.
the "before" photo. See tomorrow's photo of the same building in good light.
  I kept photographing and thinking this for about 4 hours until my husband and Cathy finally revolted and dragged me off the bus.

Well, actually they lured me with the promise of lunch and shopping in the gigantic El Corte Ingles department store.  Food and shopping always gets me.  The huge department store had a restaurant on the top floor with floor-to-ceiling windows giving a view of Barcelona in many directions.  It also provided a nice view of us having lunch to a passing seagull who tried to come inside and join us.

If you like department stores, you have to visit El Corte Ingles while you’re in Barcelona.  It’s one of the few places where you are not required to bargain over the price of your purchases and the merchandise variety and quality is impressive.

After we’d warmed up, had lunch and bought a few things, we walked to Saint Joseph Market.  It’s a covered farmers market that has every kind of vegetable, fruit, candy, meat and fish.  It’s a photographers dream.  The pictures just hint at what it’s like.

Among its many other charms, Barcelona has excellent chocolate.  Cathy had visited Barcelona before and knew of a “Street of Chocolate”.  We definitely needed a restorative cup of hot chocolate and found it at La Pallaresa Café.  The following is somebody else’s description of Barcelona chocolate::
    “The typical Spanish delicacy of ‘churros y chocolate’ is a great treat during the cold winter months.
Saint Joseph Market has everything
Churros are a sort of cake, similar to a doughnut, but long and thin and dusted in sugar- usually created in a loop shape. They are often seen sold at fairgrounds and markets from vans, serving them fresh in cones of paper. However, they are also served in typical Spanish cafés known as ‘granjas’. These cafés (often referred to as Chocolate Restaurants) are generally alcohol free and specialize in soft drinks and cakes. They serve their churros with a hot chocolate that is so thick and creamy that it is generally enjoyed with a spoon, or, of course, for churros-dipping!”  Wow, was it good!!!

Someplace I heard that Barcelona has 68 parks and I believe it.  There is an amazing amount of greenery and lovely places to stop and take a few photos.  The architectural look is unlike anywhere I’ve seen before.  Gaudi’s Modernist style borrows from medieval forms and also from nature, primarily the sea.  His innovative buildings from the early 20th century have spurred other architects to also try innovation.  The result is a creative, vibrant city just begging to be explored.

We explored until about 7:30 pm and then , exhausted after about 11 hours  of exploring, we staggered back to the ship.  Since we were full of churros and chocolate we skipped dinner.

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I think the gull wanted to come in…
I think the gull wanted to come i…
Sagrada Familia designed by Gaudi
Sagrada Familia designed by Gaudi
Christopher Columbus, pointing tow…
Christopher Columbus, pointing to…
It seems the Cathedral is also a g…
It seems the Cathedral is also a …
the before photo.  See tomorrow…
the "before" photo. See tomorrow…
Saint Joseph Market has everything
Saint Joseph Market has everything
street performer on Las Ramblas wh…
street performer on Las Ramblas w…
not by Gaudi but not your standard…
not by Gaudi but not your standar…
Even the street lights are spectac…
Even the street lights are specta…
Gaudis Casa Batilo
Gaudi's Casa Batilo
Gaudis Casa Milia
Gaudi's Casa Milia
balcony detail of Gaudis Casa Mil…
balcony detail of Gaudi's Casa Mi…
This building facade looked like p…
This building facade looked like …
Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia towers morphing fr…
Sagrada Familia towers morphing f…
another view of the variety of tow…
another view of the variety of to…
detail of the front of the church
detail of the front of the church
Gaudis gate at Parc Guell
Gaudi's gate at Parc Guell
Barcelona is mad for soccer
Barcelona is mad for soccer
the entrance to Saint Joseph Market
the entrance to Saint Joseph Market
it even has things Ive never seen…
it even has things I've never see…
nuts and spices
nuts and spices
candied fruit
candied fruit
vegetables with a sense of style
vegetables with a sense of style
Barcelona
photo by: fivepointpalm