Thursday, July 26, 2012

Barcelona - Day 2

Saturday, 4/7

Two of our must-see’s in Barcelona were Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, so we decided to tackle those on our first full day.

We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the little indoor mall right by Plaza Catalunya.
Our apartment was right by the metro.  As advised by my contact at our apartment rental company (You Stylish), we purchased a 10-pass metro ticket to try to save some money.  For all of the cities we visited with mass transit (so Paris, Barcelona, and London), prior to the trip I printed off copies of each cities’ metro maps to carry in my purse.  Sagrada Familia has its own stop, so it’s very easy to figure out where to go.  We arrived there around 10:30am or so and there was a decent sized line.  (There is an option to prebuy tickets online, which require you to choose a date and time.  We had discussed this, but because we had a very loss itinerary, we opted against it).  The line probably took about 45 minutes, but it was worth it.  We also opted against paying extra for the audio guide.

From the outside:

Some background on the church is that it is another work of Gaudi and has been under construction for over 130 years and still isn’t finished.  However, even though it’s not finished, it is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.  You can see for yourself...
The altar
Size perspective

On the door of what will evenutally become the main entrance;
"Give us this day our daily bread" in 50 langauges
Nativity Scene
After spending about an hour and a half at Sagrada, we decided to hit the road.  We were starting to get hungry so we walked around a bit looking for a food option, but nothing really called our names, so we decided to go to Parc Guell and figured we could get something there.  We looked at our map and metro map and got on the Blue, L5 metro and got off at El Carmel 
This was nowhere near Parc Guell like we thought it'd be. We were pretty much wandering aimlessly, but in a general direction we thought was correct based on our map and my sister’s iphone.  After 20 minutes of wandering, we found what appeared to be the back entrance to the park and it was!  (FYI- the CORRECT metro to take is Green Line, L3 and get off at Lesseps!!)
We actually did a little hiking, or so it felt, along gravel lined paths and the more we went, the more people we came across.  And finally, we hit the breathtaking view that is so often raved about:

See Sagrada?

We made our way down to the main plaza, at this point we were all starving and exhausted, so we practically ran to get in line for the sandwich and sangria vendor.  We found a table to sit at, but then were surrounded by pigeons, which freaked the hell out of my sister and I.  It’s repulsive to try to eat lunch while there are birds practically pecking at your feet. 
We took our sangria pitcher and sandwiches and sat on the edge of the plaza.  Life was grand, until we had the pitcher thief come by.  Yep, a woman walked by and grabbed our pitcher of sangria.  Ben bolted as her and then she started to yell at him in Spanish.  It turns out she was supposedly the vendor supervisor and thought we were trying to steal her plastic pitcher.  Her colleague brought out more cups, they poured the sangria into the cups and took off with the pitcher.  We sat and enjoyed our sangria.

Gaudi's famous mosaic benches
Happy couple :O)
Nicknamed the Hansel and Grettle houses
Leaving the park, it was easy to find the main route to the metro by following all of the people.
We took the metro back to our apartment and relaxed a bit before deciding we would go check out The Magic Fountain.  The Magic Fountain; Fountain Montjuic, is a fountain located at the base of the gorgeous National Catalunya Museum of Art. It’s water “show” is choreographed to lights and music.  It was listed in a lot of tourist books as well as websites as one “must-see” item. Well, we begged to differ.
The shows are every 30 minutes from 7-9pm, Friday and Saturdays (Oct 1st – April 30th; check other dates’ hours on the website).  We got there a little before the 7:30pm show, so the 7:00pm show was just ending.  It sounded like traditional Spanish music.  Being April, it was still light about, so we couldn’t see the choreographed colored lights like the video’s I’d seen on YouTube….and it was a bit windy too so for certain parts, it didn’t seem like the fountains were really in sync with the music.  However, the plaza was crowded, so we found seats and sat to wait for the 7:30pm show.
The moment it started, the three of us looked at each other and burst out laughing.  I’m not sure what happened to the traditional music, but we must have hit the “USA” show.  Our music mix consisted of artists like Michael Jackson, N’Sync, Hanson, etc.  Definitely not what we were expecting!!  We didn’t find Magic Fountain all that amazing, but it was free and a short metro ride from our apartment, so we didn’t mind having gone.  I wouldn’t put on top of the must-see list though!

From the fountain we went straight to our pre-planned dinner spot; Ciudad Condal (in L’Exiample neighborhood), for more tapas.  It was about 8:30 when we got there, which we figured was early for Spain on a Saturday night.  We were offered a bar spot  up front within 10 minutes of being there, but were told a table spot would only be 20 minutes longer of a wait, so what the heck?  Well, twenty minutes turned into an hour and a half.  Yeop.  I can’t believe we didn’t leave, but we kept being told, 10 minutes more, 15 minutes more, and sadly we believed them.  We were finally seated at 10pm, by that time we were starved and very annoyed.  Not to mention the table behind us was a Bachelorette party which was obnoxiously loud. 

Our waiter barely helped us (but of course answered every beck and call of the girls’ table).  We weren’t really delighted to realize that the menu was the exact same as Cerveceria Catalana, as in identical, but at that point we didn’t care.  We ordered a variety of tapas and just stuffed our faces.
Given the two options of Cerveceria Catalana vs Ciudad Condal for dinner; I’d definitely recommend Cerveceria over Ciudad; based not only on our experience, but also the ambiance and appeal of the restaurants in general.  Another restaurant option that is supposed to be fabulous is Tickets.  We didn’t make it there (make reservations in advance if you want to go), but I’ve seen it rated as a “world restaurant” in a few articles.  I wish we would have gone there instead of Ciudad Condal.

Oh well, next trip!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging tips