La Ramblas, Tapas, Sagrada Familia
20.04.2011 - 20.04.2011 19 °C
We arrived in Barcelona yesterday afternoon after taking our time in Cadaques (for obvious reasons).
So after checking into the hotel (which is in a great location), we were off for a walk down La Ramblas - Barcelona's main drag. there were seriously thousands of people walking.... both locals and tourists. We walked right to the end and then along the waterfront, cutting back up through the Gothic Quarter (and stumbling upon the Cathedral, complete with central garden courtyard and geese!).
After a brief rest, it was out to dinner. Generally, the eating times here are quite late... We ventured out at 8.30pm and found a great tapas place just around the corner from the hotel. It was still packed when we left at 10pm, and a new wave of people was coming through.... Not bad for a Tuesday night.
Today - an early start and off to the markets for a cheap breakfast. 1 x Fruit salad - 1.50, 2 x zucchini omelettes & teas - 9. We sat at the bar, surrounded by locals (who were hitting the liquor early). I felt it was a great travelling moment... even though I had I slightly queasy moment when we finished and I turned around to see sheeps heads for sale in the butchers stall next door!! YUK!!!
Next stop was the Picasso Museum. The most popular tourist attraction in Barcelona - and only two people selling tickets. There was a bit of a queue - our first queue since Paris - but we were there before opening, so after only 25 minutes, we were in. The museum itself was interesting - no photos of course - but it focussed strongly on Picasso's development, rather than his later (and most famous) works. I quite like the lithographs, which did coincide with his later work, but his paintings from that period were not there (which I was aware of going in - but Steve was disappointed).
After Picasso, we walked a long way to the top of the city (via some gardens with cool sculptures....)
and via Barcelona's Arc de Triomf...
..... to see the Sagrada Familia - or Gaudi's Cathedral. Construction started in 1908, and like all momumental constructions, it's still not finished, with estimates for completion 2020-2040. Another queue here, and it's hard to capture the size and scale of the cathedral - the top parts are covered in working cloths. There is no doubt that it's a "modern" construction and very unique in the design and feel of the spaces. I found it really interesting and quite liked the use of towering spaces and light. And being Gaudi - it's quite quirky. Overall - I liked it. It's very different from the churches you traditionally see here in Europe. Steve didn't like it at all and found it empty and hollow and that the construction being partly cement, reduced it's appeal and achievement. An interesting discussion ensued on this. Anyway - here are some pics, so see what you think.
Overall - Barcelona has a very different feel than I expected. It's very much a place obsessed with food, and the city really doesn't get going until 5pm. Shopping is interesting through - I bought a pair of shoes (I love shoes) for 18 euro... and have been obsessing over the leather shops, but I think I'll wait until Andalucia for that.
Tomorrow is a travelling day. We will leave early(ish) and head to Valencia for one night, then continue onto Granada for Easter weekend.