Friday, September 1, 2006

Spain - Barcelona

Barcelona is definitely one confusing place of languages for me, especially since I do speak moderate Spanish and I feel as though when they are speaking Catalan, I should understand it somehow.
After landing in Barcelona airport, I found myself a cab and headed into the city. Little difficulty finding what is to be my home for a week, but I managed. Then immediately, I took the subway to the Gothic area, the oldest section of Barcelona.
Barrio Gothico
Barcelona streets were slightly different than either Madrid or cities of Andalucia I had visited few years back. I can't quite put my finger on it as to why. Perhaps it was just the atmosphere. After a long wandering walking tour (by myself of course) or barrio gothic, I found myself near the Musei Picasso, munching on some sort of cheesy concoction with gelato.
Barcelona street
Picasso museum was first I went to in Barcelona. There was a bit of wait as usual, but it was quite worth it. I am not the biggest fan of Picasso, but I figure I should give him a chance. Museum was composed of probably 3-4 different structures or houses combined. There was a very nice little courtyard in the middle.
Musei Picasso
Musei Picasso
As always, in Spain or in Italy, Cathedrals are not to be missed. I purposefully go see any and all Cathedrals in my path and this one was no exception. I guess in translation, this is a Cathedral of Saint Maria of the ocean. Regardless of in whose honor this church is, it was a small, yet beautiful cathedral.
Iglesia de Santa Maria del Mar
Of course, nothing is simple. In order to get in, I had to sit and wait until 5 or 5:30 pm. In between, I found myself walking narrow streets, licking my gelato ice cream. I also must have written about dozen postcards on these streets. It was definitely worth the wait. I think I found myself more endeared by it than the Picasso museum.
Iglesia de Santa Maria del Mar
This is the central Cathedral of Barcelona. There is no other name attached to it. It has beautiful large Cathedral and the courtyard in the back. The front of the Cathedral was under construction, but it was nonetheless beautiful inside.
Make sure to sit yourself inside and enjoy the atmosphere surrounding you. It doesn't matter if you are not Catholic!
Cathedral of Barcelona
Gothic quarter has some beautiful buildings. I found myself aimlessly wandering the narrow streets, finding some random architecture to admire. I took so many pictures, but I only put very few on here. There's just something about the narrow streets that sometimes never see the sun.
Barrio Gothic
I could not believe it when I read the plaque introducing this old structure. Who would have thought Romans influenced the Spanish so much? But then of course it makes sense. Didn't they conquer all the way to the British isles? I got a chance to explore the inside of this aquaduct structure. If you are into archeology and history, it's definitely worth a visit to the archeological museum of the city.      
Roman Aquaduct gate
The courtyard of Cathedral. This is really the courtyard and the geese are supposedly holy. They are everywhere in there. I found it highly amusing to see them inside the cathedral courtyard. I had not believed it when I read it in the tour guide books!  
Cathedral Courtyard
This is the start of Las Ramblas. It's basically the main street of the city. I don't care if it is the tourist thing to do, it's definitely worth a visit, more than just once. Don't forget to start the journey with a cone of gelato in your hand. All walking starts at placa Catalunya!
Placa Catalunya
Tourist trap again, but worth a visit. As you ramble down Las Ramblas, you will see La Boqueria. It is full of little stalls of shops...sweets, sandwiches, can get anything here. I can't guarantee the price will be cheap, but definitely worth stopping by.
La Boqueria
This is the famous unfinished Gaudi architecture. This probably won't be finished for at least another 50 years or so. I at first thought it was some sort of Cathedral, but it really actually wasn't. It has some religious undertones, but this is more of a monument.
One of those things not to be missed in Barcelona of course.
La Sagrada Familia
Inside La Sagrada Familia
Everything was under construction inside the structure. Yet I could envision the future of the structure. I wondered though, how will this look like in the future? I could not see it as something similar to any of the beautiful cathedrals I've seen.
La Sagrada Familia
I took the subway, hiked over a mile to get to this park. This is one of the few free Gaudi architecture one could see. Situated on top of the mountains of Barcelona. If you don't mind a bit of a hike, a must see. I loved the mosaics and nature themes that occur throughout the architecture.
Parc Guell
Although I went inside few of Gaudi houses, it is really not necessary to do so. The beauty is all outside. Of course, some of the inside beauties still are worthwhile, but the focal points are the beautiful mosaics and lines of outside. I'd definitely recommend, if you only can choose one, to go to the stone mansion.
Gaudi mansions
Books about Barcelona

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