Monday, 5 August 2013

Barcelona

Casa Batllo
La Pedrera

Sagrada Familia

This is turning into a bit of a travel blog of late, but one of the fun parts of having a blog is being able to re-live enjoyable trips through constructing posts such as this! Last month myself and a work bud headed off to Barcelona for 5 nights where we sampled lots of tasty food, cocktails, sunshine and a little bit of culture... This was my fourth trip to Barcelona, (all brief encounters), and I never tire of this vibrant city. There's something special about the mix of art/culture, beach life, and general buzz which makes this place indefinable.

During past trips I'd visited the spectacular Gaudi buildings (Casa Batllo, La Pedrera, Sagrada Familia) and was happy enough to snap the exteriors this time without venturing inside. Taking the tour bus one morning provided interesting angles to capture photos of these buildings. I personally wish they would just stop adding to Sagrada Familia and leave it an unfinished building as I always feel the scaffolding/cranes detract from the breathtaking architecture. I attempted to zoom in on some of the detail and cropped out the construction work!
We hopped off the bus at the Park Guell stop as this Park is a must see for anyone visting the city and we got some tasty pasta salads for lunch in the restaurant there.
Parc Guell


El Bosc de les Fades
On this trip we came across some quirky places; topping this list was the amazing bar, El Bosc de les Fades. I'd read about this online, then someone later told me that it was a must see, with the chance of witnessing a lightning storm in the bar...The bar is beside the Wax Museum (Musue de Cera), just off La Ramblas. The exterior of Museu de Cera is worth a look itself  (spectacular architecture with superman poised to fly off the top of the roof.)
Fairy Cave
Stepping inside El Bosc de les Fades is like stepping into another world; with lantern lights strung between the branches of fake trees, a fairy cave hidden around a corner- complete with a wax work of a fairy crouched beneath a waterfall. To the rear of the bar we stepped through a curtained door, walking into what looked a Brothers Grimm vision of a child's bedroom. The photos capture more than my words ever could! There was also a 'haunted mirror' hanging on the wall where an image of a tudor man would fade in and out of view and a flickering chandelier. Unfortunately there were no lightning storms during our visit.

Weird bedroom











Our hotel (the amazing Barcelona Catedral ) was situated in the Barri Gotic area, just across from the beautiful Barcelona Cathedral (hence the name of the hotel...). I love this part of the city - it's full of little winding streets with quirky shops, gothic architecture and lots of great cafes/restaurants and bars are within walking distance. A highlight of our hotel was the spectacular roof top pool - very welcome after walking around in the sweltering heat!! Below are some photos of this area.




We found the quirkiest sweet shop ever just a few minutes from our hotel called Happy Pills. It was a tiny sparkling white shop, with rows and rows of sweets laid out like pills as if it was a sugar themed medical centre! It was great - such a simple, yet unique idea. The sweets tasted great too. Here's a snap of the interior below:
Happy Pills
One of my favourite bars we visited was called First Bar, a very small and funky place, situated down a side street off Las Ramblas. The walls were plastered with drawings and notes scribbled onto post-it notes by customers from all around the world. The owner made me the most amazing frozen Strawberry Daiquiri. Cocktails in Spain can be dangerous as they free pour their measures - the younger guy who made my second Daiquiri looked like he poured in half a bottle of rum...yum!
Here's a photo of a skeleton hanging above my stool in the bar and our post it note added to their wall...













Barcelona is very hot in July, although the breeze from the sea takes the edge off a bit. A couple of afternoons we couldn't face the long walk from the beach back to our part of town so we hopped onto the handy Rickshaw 'tours' which are offered along the port side. A guy pedals behind whilst you sit in a carriage at the front - it's a quick and fun way to save yourself from a long, sweltering walk. One of our rickshaw 'drivers' was a very friendly man from Venice, who was eager to tell us lots about Barcelona during our 15 minute journey (I think I caught about 20% of what he actually said!) Here's a photo of us on the Rickshaw, after our beach trip:

Ah, Barcelona! Already I want to return...

10 comments:

  1. I would love to walk through those winding streets and see all these amazing sights. Thank you, Vikki, for such a gorgeous post with wonderful pictures. I'll show this to my husband as he often says how much he'd like to visit Barcelona. So glad you had a great time. x

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    1. Thanks, Joanna! I'm sure you'd both love it- if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing I'd recommend going in Spring rather than the height of summer as it may be a bit more comfortable walking around:)

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  2. Tsssk. Using your blog to show off your holiday pictures! I haven't done that ... for at least a week.

    We went to Barcelona once (In July - and you're right it's hot then!) We walked from the coast up to the cathedral, which didn't look far on the map, but certainly felt it. Was worth the climb though.

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    1. Ha - I know I'm terrible!
      In that heat even a 5 minute walk felt long. The area round the cathedral is definitely my favourite part!

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  3. Love the photos and post, Vikki! As you know, I really like Barcelona but you've certainly shown us a different side to it!

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    1. It looks and sounds as if you had a wonderful time, Vikki.
      We went to Barcelona on our honeymoon, and they said the Sagrada Familia would be finished in 25 years, so we went back for our Silver Wedding, but it wasn't! I agree they should stop now and take down all the scaffolding so we can enjoy the building.

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    2. Thanks, Mum, All of my trips to Barcelona have felt very different and it's been nice to discover new things each time!

      It was a great trip, Jean. I wonder if they kept going with Sagrada Familia that it would be finished in another 25 years??

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  4. Oh how I LOVE Barcelona, Vikki. I have never been in July but it sounds like those frozen daiquiris helped with the heat too!

    El Bosc de les Fades looks and sounds amazing - a place I have never heard of until reading about it on your blog - and I think that is the beauty of Barcelona; there is always something more to discover. All the little streets off Las Ramblas are like secret labyrinths in their own right. A great reason to go back I think.

    I also love the idea of the post-it notes on the wall in the bar. Wonderful.

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  5. Hi Rebecca, Yes frozen cocktails (and the pool) were a great way to cool down:) I stumbled across a review of El Bosc de les Fades before heading on this trip - was a great little place - well worth a visit! Looking at the photos again on this dark, cold night really makes me want to go back

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