Friday, November 20, 2015

Barcelona, Spain: Part 2; 7 nights total - September 30 - October 7, 2015

Having explored the inner Gothic District in the morning, we set out to find a place for lunch before taking the metro back to the Sagrada Familia for our 1pm tour time. After weaving our way through many of the beautiful streets, we found ourselves at a cafe right across from the Palau de la Musica (Palace of Music). A great lunch with no time at the present to visit the Palau. However, a promise to each other that we would certainly take a tour before leaving.

We arrived in plenty of time and enjoyed a slow stroll around the massive Basilica once again. I don't know exactly what I expected of a Gaudi church after seeing a few of his homes but I can tell you I was not prepared for the interior that enveloped me as I entered.

Mike and I process things quite differently, so usually we each go at our own pace catching up with one another at various times during the tours. For this we didn't have a guided tour and could just let our own senses lead us through. We are also not religious minded but have a deep sense of spirituality. So we always enjoy experiencing the beauty and serenity of churches regardless of the faith they represent.

This Catholic Basilica brings all senses to a higher level of acuteness. It truly is like none other. Having been started in 1882 by architect Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, it became the project of Gaudi's in 1883 after a dispute. It has been under construction ever since even though Gaudi died in 1926 after being run over by a trolley. It's hopeful that it will be completed in the first half of this century. It was consecrated in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.

We continued our day by trying to go to the Picasso Museum located in the Gothic District.  No luck, as it was sold out for the day. So that, too, was placed on anothers day schedule. From there we meandered though back windy narrow streets and happened upon a spa with decent prices that were able to take us right in. It's the one big thing we had been missing from our medicinal routine. We were in sore, pun intended, need from all the stair climbing with luggage.

Feeling refreshed, we continued our adventure through the Gothic District. The mercado was already closed for the day but we enjoyed some outdoor metal sculpture and dancing by locals in the square. As you can see below, our day was ending on a great note with beer and wine.

The next day's adventure entailed taking the metro to an outlying District to reach Park G├╝ell. This is where Gaudi lived for many years. It was originally supposed to be a planned housing developed with green space and Gaudi style homes. Only one home was built, however, and the land was turned into a park.

Upon getting there, the ticket line was extremely long. Since we were determined to explore the grounds and enter the actual park, we bought our tickets. So to fill the 3.5 hour wait we then meandered the outlying area and grounds, his home that he lived in, and have a drink at the patio cafe. Below are only the pictures of the free area. Gorgeous!

Once our turn came, we were more than ready to enter into another Gaudi world. A true fantasy land of Gingerbread houses and gardens!

You'd think we had had enough Gaudi by now but au contrar! Rather than taking the metro back, we set out to find Casa Vicens by foot. Located in the middle of a neighborhood street, we enjoyed being alone to take photos. No tours of this home as it is a privately owned personal residence.

Our final day was spent by first going to the Gaudi museum located by the National Cathedral. It was interesting but not as stimulating as one would hope especially after already seeing so many Gaudi structures. We did enjoy taking photos while looking through the mirror maze. Pretty trippy!

After lunch, we made our way to the Palau de Musica to buy tour tickets. The only tickets they had left for that afternoon were for a tour in Spanish. We grabbed them! This was most certainly a tour we wanted to take. The timing gave us about an hour to kill so off we went to look for another Gaudi house, Casa Calvet (now a restaurant) not very far away and then a walk over to the Arch de Triumph before heading back to the Palau.

The Palau de Musica is an extremely memorable moment in this beautiful city.  I only wish that we had actually been able to hear a performance in this magnificent music venue! The building was built between 1905 - 1908 and was classified as a World Heritage Site in 1997.

On our final day, we decided we had one more Gaudi left in us and if we were going to do it, it had to be now. So off we went to the Palau Guell, which is actually right off the Rambla not far from where we were staying.

We had almost decided not to take this tour. OMG, am I so glad we did it! This home is completely different in so many ways and a true joy to see.

As it was a beautiful day, we continued walking in the direction of catching the funicular to take us up the hill to the Miro Museum.  Yup, one last museum in this beautiful city. As it turned out, we walked about an extra mile before we figured out exactly where you board. Worth it! A beautiful art museum.

Our last excursion of our last day in Barcelona was a tour boat cruise of the marina area. A beautiful day and a beautiful ending.

Our week in Barcelona came to an end with many wonderful memories and a wanting to explore more. There's so much to this beautiful city that we didn't get to explore. Plus, the surrounding areas. Next time.

For those still wanting a few more pictures:

On to Valencia in the manana.

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