Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Barcelona - Day 4

Monday, 4/9
Monday was our last full day in Barcelona and we still hadn’t hit up either of the Gaudi houses; Casa Mila/La Pedrera and Casa Batllo.  We had previously discussed that at 16-18EU/person, we were only going to visit one of the houses.  I’d tried to read up, prior to the trip, which was “better” and the general consensus had seemed to be La Pedrera. Thus, we planned on going there, but first, we got breakfast at our favorite spot around the corner: Creperia Del Mar. 
It was an adorable shop that had a few different stations (crepes/waffles, gelato, coffee, etc).  You order what you want at each station and what you’ve ordered is “loaded” on to a card.  When you’re reading to leave, you go to the cashier, who scans your card and then tells you what you owe.

After breakfast we walked to La Pedrera. 
It was an overcast Monday morning around 10:30 or so and the line was fairly long; but, we thought it was worth it so we waited the 45 minutes it took to get in.  Once inside we followed the stairs and eventually emerged to the rooftop “chimney garden”.  Being in Mechanical Engineering, it was interesting to see this twist on venting/chimneys, but ultimately the three of us were a bit let down.  It wasn’t nearly as colorful or amusing as we’d expected. 

Looking into the courtyard from the roof
Leaving the rooftop, we toured a space with the history behind the building, as well as Gaudi and his designs.  A portion of this “museum” was dedicated to the history and research that went into building Sagrada Familia (which was interesting since we’d visited there already.  I can see why some books suggested touring La Pedrera prior to visiting Sagrada Familia, although I don’t think it’s entirely necessary).  Next toured the apartment of Mila.  While the lower portions of the building are privately owned and occupied, Mila’s apartment is more or less a museum to tour through.
After leaving La Pedrera, we intended on going to the Born or Gothic area for lunch. On our way, we walked by Casa Batllo and saw that there was no line.  Earlier in the day on our way to Casa Mila, there’s been a block long line.  Since we weren’t overly impressed with Mila and because we were in Barcelona, we figured what the hell, why not take this tour also. 
Case Batllo
(With the "fish" scales)
SO glad we didn’t; hands down, we all enjoyed this much more than La Pedrera. Admission, 18.15 EU/adult, includes an audio guide.  Throughout the house there are locations with assigned audio commentary.  Essentially, you can tour the whole house at your own pace hearing the information and background about each room.  I definitely recommend visiting Batllo; the architecture, the details, the colors, it’s really spectacular!
We headed back on our original plan and went to Gotic area for lunch.  We had our second “get up and leave” experience at an Italian restaurant, La Perla Nera (Via Laietana, 32).  It looked nice from the outside, but once seated inside, the cups were dirty, the menu wasn’t appetizing, etc.  Poor Ben; dealing with me hungry is rough enough and add in my over-the-top opinionated sister and you’re bound to need a few drinks to get through this duo at mealtime.  Lucky for Ben, drinks were found quickly at the nearby Irish pub, Dunnes.  The staff was friendly and the food was delicious.  Just the change we needed.
However, the drinks didn’t seem to be enough for Ben so after lunch we parted.  He headed to the L’Aquarium while my sister and I explored more of the Gothic and Ravel neighbhorhoods. For anyone considering touring the aquarium, Ben was really disappointed. He was excited to see sharks.  While there were some there, he paid 18 EU to get in and spent less than an hour there.  Perhaps he’s too spoiled with having Shedd Aquarium at his fingertips?
In early evening, our YouStylish apartment rental representative stopped by to check us out and give us back our deposit so that we could leave whenever needed the next morning to catch our flight.

For our last meal in Barcelona, we decided to play up being tourists and eat on Las Ramblas.  After eyeing a few menus, we agreed on The Attic.  We’d thought we were going to be able to get on the rooftop bar; but it turned out that was for drinking only, so we were seated inside.  The food was good, not outstanding, but the restaurant itself was hip and trendy, which we enjoyed. We also learned that La Botiga, from the night before, was owned by the same parent company.
After dinner, we debating trying to find a club, but none of us are really into the club scene (even in a foreign country), so instead we headed to Scobies pub to watch the end of a soccer/football match before calling it a night.

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