This visit to Barcelona was all about Gaudi!
We hopped the local train from the seaside into the main square of downtown Barcelona, Placa de Catalunya, and found the sign of where we would be staying for the next 3 days just across this very large square – Hotel Ginebra.
This is a very unusual hotel. It’s located on the 4th and 5th floors of a historic office building. Our room was large (purple walls and lime green accents) and the bathroom was enormous. We had a cute little balcony outside our window where we could sit and sip the split of cava (Spanish bubbly) that came with our room and watch the multitudes of tourists walk up and down La Rambla, the city’s main shopping and strolling boulevard.
We ‘did’ the La Rambla our first day – slowing strolling down the tree-lined boulevard looking in the windows of the stores which thankfully for our pocketbooks were all closed. We stopped to grab a bite to eat on the harbor and enjoyed doing our favorite thing – people watching. It was Sunday so the locals were out in their Sunday best while the tourists wore shorts and flip-flops – and everyone was eating ice cream!
The next day was designated Gaudi–day. The morning was spent on a guided tour of Park Güell.
This area on Carmel Hill was originally set aside in the early 1900’s as a self-contained housing development and public park featuring Gaudi-designed houses and huge organic cement arches. Unfortunately, the project soon ran into financial difficulty as at the time it was built it was considered too far from central Barcelona to attract the wealthy home buyers it needed. It was opened to the public as a park in 1924 and became a designated UNESCO site in 1984. Fun, funky, colorful, totally weird and wonderful.
After a stop for a quick lunch, we spent the afternoon touring the truly magnificent Sagrada Família. Built in the neo-gothic style, Gaudi’s masterpiece which he began in 1822 has a hopeful completion date of 2022.
Of the many places I have visited while on this trip, this is by far the highlight. I could have stayed inside this designated ‘mini-basilica’ watching the colors of the stained glass windows change the interior lighting as the sun moved around the church from morning to afternoon.
To just sit and gaze at the ceilings rising so high above was to look at a work of art that was so amazingly beautiful as to be almost incomprehensible.
When you walk into the Sagrada Famíla your jaw will drop and you cannot help but smile as you realize you have been transported to a place so very special and far, far beyond the norm.
And then there is the outside – with the front facade so very different from the back. Pictures cannot begin to do it justice. Just remember you can click on any picture to view the full-size photo. If you ever get a chance to visit – you must! It will become a memory itched forever in your mind.
We had very little time left in our quick visit to this wonderful Catalyn city by the sea but while there we did have to eat. I have mentioned that while I love a good, rare steak, I am traveling with a ‘flex-i-tarian’. As Joyce describes it, she is mostly vegetarian but will eat some fish and chicken. Therefore when she discovered Honest Greens just around the corner from our hotel, it became our go-to place to dine two nights in a row. I must admit the sushi-grade tuna was delicious and the grilled watermelon with a balsamic reduction blew me away!
We had a very early flight to Madrid the next morning but promised we would both return to Barcelona for a much longer visit very soon.
Until next time….