A short flight from Lisbon to Barcelona later and we’re wandering around in the airport trying to figure out how to interpret the wayfinding signs to find the Aerobus departure point and getting a bit frustrated. The bus was nice and quick and got us to pretty much the doorstep of our hotel.
Checked in and at ~11pm went to the restaurant next door for some dinner. It was a Friday and was still quite full of people eating. Emily tried a ‘Chuf!’ drink, some sort of milk based treat. Not great.
Pretty buildings and also Gaudi
We were staying on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes which should be the model for all major roads in cities - lots of trees, benches, bus lanes, cycle lanes, plenty of pedestrian space, bike share, metro stations, and yes, general traffic lanes.
Healthy breakfast at Buenas Migas on Plaça de la Universitat, probably the only one we had the whole trip. We tried.
Across to Universitat de Barcelona:
We zigged and zagged our way through the blocks, enjoying the nice, unencumbered by vehicles and flat footpaths, shade and general sensibility of it all.
Arrived at Casa Batlló, and I can’t say I’m a fan - too many tourists (hello!) and really, really ugly. I’m sure I’m missing it, but, yeah. Nah.
There are many much more interesting and beautiful buildings in Barcelona, I’d say Gaudi should not be high on the list of reasons to go (obvious caveat coming up later).
Fundació Antoni Tàpies:
Corner of Rambla de Catalunya and Carrer d’Aragó:
Near Carrer de Balmes on Carrer d’Aragó:
Barcelona was hot. The hotel had a pool. Win. We were stuck waiting several hours for them to swap rooms though, what was a X period of time became an 3X period of time, so we waited. The pool was lovely.
Headed south to Sant Antoni and then cut in to the old town down Carrer de la Riera Alta
Looking down Carrer de Sant Vicenç
We were headed to Biblioteca de Catalunya, but it was oddly unsavoury with people just loitering, watching us, so no photos, just one of the exit as we exited:
Immediately next door was a weird cat house on Plaça del Canonge Colom - really a massive cage filled with cats and a tree. Just down from there was Plaça de Sant Agustí with the Parròquia de Sant Agustí somehow seeming to have an older building on top of a newer one.
From there we cut through to the south towards Güell Palace.
Much more a fan of this style.
Crossing La Rambla puts us in the Gothic Quarter and the first stop, after some beers at Kӕlderkold, was the lovely Plaça Reial. The light was awful and I’ve not done it justice.
From there it was a lot of left and rights working our way gradually Northeast
I stopped here to listen, in one of the apartments someone was practicing
We stopped for a drink in Plaça de Sant Just and headed south
Wandered through some design shops along Baixada de Viladecols and eventually to the old Roman Wall before heading east to Catedral de Barcelona.
Dinner at tantarantana. Paid extra to sit in the heat outside with the smokers.
From there we headed north via jardins del forat de la vergonya to Plaça de Catalunya
And then trying to find our way into Església de Santa Anna
For flamenco guitar. It could have been a bit more fun, being more challenging and technically excellent than fun, but there were some favourites and an encore played by four hands on one guitar which was quite impressive..
Lazing about in the morning, probably did some laundry, which took ages.
Some pretty/weird buildings
So, not everything Gaudi was disappointing.
We approached in the late afternoon from the south west, through Plaça de la Sagrada Família
This approach provides a dramatic view of the best side of the church, clean and dramatic.
We were early, so hung out in the small bits of shade available - it was very, very hot.
We entered from the north east with 8 million other people.
Bee-line for the tower lift
Inside the tower
The Nativity Façade
Back out front.
Lots of detail. lots. Too much? It looks grotty rather than grand, the opposite of the other side.
Inside the tree canopy…
Light through the stained glass
Out the ‘back’ (south west) again for a close up look
(via BierCaB for beer and meaty treats)
Spent the morning window shopping at all the design stores around Avinguda Diagonal
Back to the hotel to give our feet a break, and make use of the air-conditioning.
Platja de Sant Sebastià
This seemed like a good idea at the time.
Disappointing food surrounded by smokers, before heading back through the Gothic quarter.
Gran Teatre del Liceu
We paid way too much for the terrible seats we had, but we were there to see the building more than the music (which was actually quite enjoyable and I could have stayed for the whole thing)
Spare morning at Les Corts
Breakfast at the made-for-Instagram-but-actually-quite-good Brunch & Cake.
Having pretty much seen what we had wanted to see, we threw a dart on the map and caught a bus out to Les Corts. Had a great lunch at Brooklyn Cafè, making the most of the Barcelona kerbside café culture before we had to go.
Made our way to Plaça de la Concòrdia to see a gallery in the town hall, but we couldn’t find it.
Caught the metro to Plaça Espanya and walked back to the hotel along the length of Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes
Checked out, figured out where the return bus left from and were on our way. This time towards a wedding!