Europe

A Day Out In Barcelona

— 01 Jun 2010 —

The day started off with a simple breakfast with Jaeshin. She was going to Parc Guell for the day and I was going to wherever my feet would take me. We said bye and set off on our separate ways.

I set off to the tourist centre to grab a map and some pamphlets on what’s on for the next few days. I found a walking tour map and decided to do the Modern Architecture Walking Tour. It comprises of 40 iconic buildings built between 1860 and 1920 and designed by Catalan architectures, notably Gaudi, Montaner, and Cadalfach. This was going to be fun!

I saw many of these statues adorning the roundabouts. They’re also a good place for people to chill out and watch the world go by.

This is the main promenade, Passeig de Lluis Companys, leading up to Arc de Triomf. There were many holiday makers taking a guided cycling tour. What a great way to explore the city!

Check out the intricate detailed design of the lamp posts. Looks like something from Harry Potter.

This archway is amazingly large when you stand up close. I’ve not been to the original Arc de Triomf so I can’t compare, but this one certainly impressed me. I love how the bricks are placed in such a nice order.

So 1 structure down, 39 to go. Next up was Parc de La Ciutadella.

This historical garden is a sanctuary within the city. It dampens all the sounds of due to the way it’s built. It amazes me how beautifully the park has been taken care of by Spanish people for everyone to enjoy.  The park is popular with tourists, locals, school tours and fitness junkies. The Cascada is located at the northern end of the park and was built to resemble the Trevi Foundation in Roma. Do you see it the resemblance? It has been decorated with sculptures of many shapes and sizes, which are now covered in a beautiful green moss colour.

Some would call my next move an epic fail, some would call it an epic find. Either way it was fun. So as I was making my way from Parc de La Ciutadella to Parc de l’Estacio del Nord, I got lost. Majorly. Don’t ask me how but I did. It took me about 2 hours to find my way again. I must have been holding the map the wrong way up. Whatever. Because on the way, I found the MNG outlet and bought myself a pair of €19.99 jeans from MNG. What a bargain!

I love the housing I saw on the way. Terracotta next to beige next to cream with a burst of muted aqua on the shutters. Such a great contrast! The dome on top of the building reminds me of Islamic style.

This building wasn’t on the list but I walked past it and look at the cast iron-like rivet and plating detailing on the side of the building. I’m not sure if they’re for structural purposes or decoration only but it’s an interesting way to mix modern and old-skool.

This is the police station. Why can’t all crime fighting stations look this funky?

I finally arrived at Parc de l’Estacio del Nord. This open green space has been given some colour with these blue and white ceramic tiled sculptures. They are by North American sculptor Beverly Peppers. I think she’s done Gaudi justice with the sweeping form and use of ceramic tiling (a post dedicated to Gaudi’s work will come later).

I wanted to hire a bike but I couldn’t work the system. How can something look so simple be so hard to work. I decided to keep walking.

I should mention that I stopped following the walking tour because I had completely missed a few of the attractions. So instead I walked wherever there was a path. I ventured to the other end of the park, where the geology museum was housed. And my thoughts? Smeh, rocks are rocks.

I ended up at Port Vell. The giant Picasso inspired sculpture was towering in the horizon as I walked to the waterfront.

The waterfront was built under a renewal plan to revive the area before the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Port Vell means Old Harbour but it’s not old anymore. Loads of tourists venture down to this area for a bite, some sunshine and a bit of people watching. Watch out for the guys trying to sell you fake LV and Gucci bags.

Photo above courtesy of Google Images.

La Barceloneta is a stone throw away from Port Vell. It is a neighbourhood bordered by the Mediterranean Sea. I am taking in some rays just like a local. To the left there’s a beach bar which was rocking… and it was just past noon!

Sand sculptors was found playing along the beach. I like this one.

I walked along the promenade and saw these cool looking structures. Ok I admit, I’m a nerd.

By the time I made it to Port Olimpic, I was knackered. I went in search for a red metro sign, which proved harder than I thought. The sun was still out and about so I decided to stop by Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família or La Sagrada Familia for short. Dang. Check out the sheer awesomeness of it below.

All I can say, Gaudi is a genius. The level of detail is just amazing! Too bad the construction has not yet finished and has taken 129 years so far. There are 2 parts to La Sagrada Familia; the old and the new. The old is Gaudi’s original design which was incomplete at the time of his death. The new is what the citizens of Barcelona have come up with, making assumptions as to what Gaudi would have wanted the structure to look like. This has been an endless battle since his death. According to the webpages dedicated to Gaudi and his creations, La Sagrada Familia is said to be finished in 2026 marking the centennial of Gaudi’s death. See you in 2026!

After a long day of exploring the city, I finally made it back to the hostel and enjoyed numerous cups of sangria over dinner with Lise, an upcoming Danish journalist in Barcelona sleeping in Bed #2. She was going to expose the underground world of drugs in Barcelona.

What an awesome day.

(Sorry about the essay but it was a loooong day)

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