Category Archives: Spain

Photo Essay: Four Hours In Barcelona

I’ve written previously that I can’t really say that I’ve been to Barcelona. In that post I mentioned that I did manage a four hour walking tour of the city.

It was pleasant and unexpected and we were not prepared for it. So we made the best of it.

Even though it was only four hours I did take loads of photos. Like I am wont to do. Because that’s just what I do. Take loads of photos.

Firstly though I want to introduce the intrepid walkers, my companions on this excursion. I enjoyed the company of my colleagues Ebru and Amy. Here is a photo of our feet. And our faces ūüôā

But I am getting ahead of myself. Having spent the whole week 30kms away in a small hill town, we arrived in Barcelona in STYLE! On a yatch. After winning a regatta. See medals below to prove it.

I was surprised to find, among all the trendy hotels ringing Port Olympia, the stainless steel sculpture of¬†El Peix,¬†dominating¬†its entry and exit. It changes shape¬†depending on which angle you see it. We didn’t spend any time looking at it because we had other priorities.

El Peix ©2016 Regina Martins
El Peix, ceated by Canadian architect Frank Gehry for the Olympics in 1992
©2016 Regina Martins

First stop had to be the Sagrada Familia, so we found a taxi who took us right there. I’ve posted a whole lot of pics of the outside of this beautiful structure¬†in another post. We so wanted to have a tour of the inside of it. I went online to find some tickets but none were available for that day. That experience is in itself a subject for a different post.

Sagrada Familia ©2016 Regina Martins
Sagrada Familia
©2016 Regina Martins

With a tour of the Sagrada Familia off the table, we debated whether to take one of the open topped busses. This was scrapped when we saw the queues for tickets. Time was ticking and by this time we had three hours left before having to make our way back to the Port.

Plaza Catalunya became our next target. We stopped a few locals for directions and started walking.

To take a bus or not to take a bus? Across the road from the Sagrada Familia ©2016 Regina Martins
To take a bus or not to take a bus? Across the road from the Sagrada Familia
©2016 Regina Martins

Without a travel guide street signs became something we looked for but they have a tendency of not being consistent. We followed this sign, came to the Arc de Triomf and got half-way to the Parc Cuitadella when we got the feeling that we were not going in the right direction. And not a street sign to be found at this point. So we backtracked to this sign and found another local to ask directions of.

Walking around Barcelona without a city guide, relying on street signs ©2016 Regina Martins
Walking around Barcelona without a city guide, relying on street signs
©2016 Regina Martins

But not before coming across this beautiful church.

A church, beautiful architecture ©2016 Regina Martins
A church, beautiful architecture
©2016 Regina Martins

And coming across this inviting facade to restaurant Sant Joan. It was closed, alas.

Lovely art work facade restaurant San Joan ©2016 Regina Martins
Lovely art work facade restaurant Sant Joan
©2016 Regina Martins
Close up of the art work inviting people into the restaurant. It was closed when we walked past though... ©2016 Regina Martins
Close up of the art work inviting people into the restaurant. It was closed when we walked past though…
©2016 Regina Martins

It was at this time that a taste for coffee and patatas bravas called and we stopped at a sidewalk tapas bar for some sustenance. It’s hard work walking, looking for elusive tourist landmarks. And food and coffee is a priority in my book.

No walking tour is complete without a cup of some local coffee ©2016 Regina Martins
No walking tour is complete without a cup of some local coffee
©2016 Regina Martins

I love the symmetry and balance of this monument. I wonder why the water wasn’t running.

Monument to Bartolomeu Robert, Catalan doctor and politician ©2016 Regina Martins
Monument to Bartolomeu Robert, Catalan doctor and politician
©2016 Regina Martins

Look carefully…can you see the bicycle precariously balanced on the balcony in the photo below?

A building... ©2016 Regina Martins
A building…with a bycicle precariously balanced on one of the top balconies
©2016 Regina Martins

Walking to the Arc de Triomf...

Walking... ©2016 Regina Martins
Walking…
©2016 Regina Martins

…with coconut ice-cream in hand after the coffee because walking is hard work.

Refreshing coconut icecream... ©2016 Regina Martins
Refreshing coconut ice-cream…
©2016 Regina Martins

The Arc de Triomf. The Barcelona one. I don’t know the people in the photo but it adds to the fun of it¬†don’t you think?

It was built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas. The arch presides over Passeig de Lluís Companys, a wide promenade leading to the Ciutadella Park. It is located at the top of the promenade, where it meets Passeig de Sant Joan. Hence the restaurant named Sant Joan along the same boulevard (wikipedia).
Arco de Triunfo ©2016 Regina Martins
Arco de Triunfo
©2016 Regina Martins

Such a gorgeous walk.

Parque Lluís Companys ©2016 Regina Martins
Parque Lluís Companys
©2016 Regina Martins

Soap bubble blower at Parque Lluís Companys entertaining the kids and other passerbys.

Parque Lluís Companys ©2016 Regina Martins
Parque Lluís Companys
©2016 Regina Martins

Beautiful mosaic’d dome of a church, don’t know which, but it makes a nice photo doesn’t it?

Beautiful mosaic'd dome of a church, don't know which, but it makes a nice photo doesn't it? ©2016 Regina Martins
Beautiful mosaic’d dome of a church, don’t know which, but it makes a nice photo doesn’t it?
©2016 Regina Martins

And finally, after a few twists, turns and a shopping spree for swimsuits at Women’s Secret, we arrived at the Plaza Catalunya, the city centre. Some of the city’s main streets meet here.

Fountain at the Plaza Catalunya ©2016 Regina Martins
Fountain at the Plaza Catalunya
©2016 Regina Martins
Beautiful flowers at the Plaza Catalunya ©2016 Regina Martins
Beautiful flowers at the Plaza Catalunya
©2016 Regina Martins
Plaza Catalunya ©2016 Regina Martins
Plaza Catalunya
©2016 Regina Martins
Plaza Catalunya ©2016 Regina Martins
Plaza Catalunya
©2016 Regina Martins
Plaza Catalunya panorama ©2016 Regina Martins
Plaza Catalunya panorama
©2016 Regina Martins
Plaza Catalunya, such a shiny floor ©2016 Regina Martins
Plaza Catalunya, such a shiny floor
©2016 Regina Martins

And after a wonderful day and all that went with it, the day capped off with a beach braai on the shores of the Mediterranean.

Sunset over the Mediterranean ©2016 Regina Martins
Sunset over the Mediterranean
©2016 Regina Martins

This was a rather long post. I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos and thanks for reading.

Regina

 

Photos Of The Outside Of The Sagrada Familia

I didn’t buy tickets in time to go inside the Sagrada Familia. I didn’t know that I had to buy them beforehand online. If all I had done was tour this impressive structure then that would have been enough. Kind of like visiting the Taj Mahal.

All I wanted to do when I visited India was visit the Taj Mahal. Everything else I got to see was a bonus. That’s how I felt about the Sagrada Familia and Barcelona.

So I contented myself with walking around the perimeter and took as many photos as I could of this fascinating basilica. It dominates the skyline and I looked up at the structure with a mixture of awestruck confusion and admiration.

Click on any image and scroll through the gallery. I have included loads of info in the captions.

Information about the Sagrada Familia garned from the foundation’s website.