FC: Barcelona 2011
1: Barcelona, Spain September 2011 These pictures were taken from the roof top of our hotel. Basilica de la Sagrada Familia (left) and the Torre Agbar (above) are two of the most recognizable landmarks in Barcelona.
2: Dawn Burns Gwen Kosikowski Chris Pride
3: The best thing about the Novotel, Barcelona was the roof top lounge. The views of the city were wonderful from this vantage point. There was also a seating area, pool and jacuzzi up top as well as delicious sangria!
9: On our first full day in Barcelona, Dawn and I took an excursion to Montserrat and Sitges. Montserrat, meaning "jagged mountain" is the most famous range in Catalonia. We first arrived at the base of the range and took a half hour train ride up the winding curves of this beautiful area on the Cremallera de Montserrat. Once we arrived we toured the amazing Basilica of Santa Maria de Montserrat dating as far back as 888 a.d. The Basilica is home to La Moreneta; the image of the mother of God, carved in wood, which dates from the 12th century. The inside of this church is awe inspiring, with ornate hanging lanterns around the edge of the abbey to the Cave of Pilgrim Candles, carved into the rock outside of the Basilica. After marveling in the divine beauty of the Basilica, Dawn and I ventured to the Funicular de Sant Joan, which took us another 1000 meters higher up the mountain. This almost 100 year old funicular offered us impressive panoramic views of the area.
19: The next stop on our excursion was to the lovely seaside town of Sitges. The blue of the Mediterranean is so much more vibrant than these pictures could ever convey. With amazing architecture like the Casa Bartomeu Carbonell i Mussons c. 1913 (far left) to the 17th century seaside | church Sant Bartomeu i Santa Tecla (near left) the old mixed with the new make this so amazing. 17 beaches offer plenty of room to bask in the warm sun There are shops and restaurants lining the narrow streets with adorable ocean view housing above.
24: O | On Saturday before we had to board the ship we did some sight seeing in th Barrio Gotico, or the Gothic Quarter. The Capella de Santa Agata is pictured to the left along with other Roman ruins. Notably the Roman Walls and Defense Towers from the 4th century.
26: The Barcelona Cathedral La Seu
27: We stumbled upon The Barcelona Cathedral La Seu while exploring the Gothic Quarter. The cathedral is dedicated to Santa Eulalla martyr, the patron saint of Barcelona. She was tortured to death in the late Roman period and is laid to rest under the high altar inside. There are 29 side chapels, 10 of which are located in the apse off the altar. The nave of the church was under construction from 1298-1448 and the neo-gothic facade was completed in 1890. Like many other buildings in Barcelona, this lovely Cathedral is currently being renovated and repaired.
28: The Cloister of the Cathedral La Seu is a beautiful area with small chapels, gardens, fountains and geese. The geese, with their loud cackling, were used to warn of intruders and thieves. I loved this area. It was like a hidden gem, tucked away, not visible from the outside.
35: Mercat de Sant Josep La Boqueria This fantastic market is located off of Las Ramblas and originally was home to fish mongers and pig markets. Over the past 500+ years it has expanded to include many staples of the Spanish diet. The center is home to makeshift tapas bars and pubs where locals stop for lunch.
38: Barcelona Arc de Triomphe built in 1691
39: Chocolate Museum Barcelona
42: After a long day of sight seeing it was nice to come back and relax on the roof top. A glass of sangria in hand and my feet in the water made it easier to think about taking on the final day of on the go fun! Since we had a huge lunch of paella we grabbed a light snack and it was early to bed so we could get a jump on the day! Tomorrow's agenda... Sagrada Familia, Montjuic and Gaudi's Casa Batllo
44: The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia's construction began in 1882 and is still over two decades away from being completed. The original architect wanted a neo-gothic design and construction was started with his dream in mind and was expected to be completed in just a few years. One year later moderinist architect Antoni Gaudi took over the project and completely changed the concept of the design. With his constant changing of design and improvising the construction time slowed considerably. When Gaudi died in 1926 only one facade,
45: The Nativity Facade (pictured right) was completed as well as one tower, the apse and the crypt, where Gaudi is laid to rest. When completed there will be 18 towers total, three facades, including the Passion Facade (pictured left) and the Glory Facade, which was started in 2002. This facade will feature life and death. It is amazing to see the differences in the design of the two facades. This church has been built solely on the contributions of visitors.
53: Another of Gaudi's famous designs is Casa Batllo. This legendary masterpiece is one of the foremost landmarks of Modernisme. He mixes colors, materials and unbelievable form to create this one of a kind structure.
56: After visiting Gaudi's Casa Batllo Dawn and I head over to the Monument a Colom or the Columbus Monument. As we were nearing the stairs to exit the Metro we could hear the rain pouring down. This of course didn't stop us.... We bought a cheap umbrella for five euro from a street vendor before heading up. We quickly realized that the umbrella was useless for two people and opted for ponchos.
57: Thank goodness the rain didn't last long... they were very hot to wear! We got to the Monument a Colom and waited our turn to take the very small, three person elevator to the top for some great views of Old Town Barcelona. Visible are the Torre Agbar, The Sagrada Familia, Banc de Barcelona, The Port Authority and many other buildings. After about a half hour in hot, tight quarters, Dawn and I decided to head down. The elevator gave us a little trouble on the way down, but got us there safe and sound. Good thing we went when we did.... it broke right after we got off. I felt bad for those stuck at the top, but relieved it wasn't me!
58: The final stop in Barcelona for Dawn and I was the Castell de Montjuic. We took the funicular that was part of the Metro system up to the Teleferic de Montjuic, or the Montjuic cable car. This would have been a great ride offering awesome views had the weather cooperated. On our journey to the top we passed over Parc Montjuic which would take an entire day to explore.
66: The first fortification on Montjuic Mountain was built in 1640 during the revolt against Felipe IV. In 1694 the fort became a castle and the grounds took up most of the summit, with three bastions looking inland and a line of saw-toothed ramparts looking over the sea. Montjuic stayed under military control until 1963 when it was made into a military museum
67: The Cementiti de Montjuic The steep slopes of the hillside give Montjuic its special character with winding paths and terraced niches looking seawards over the harbor. There are over one million burials and cremation ashes in 150,000 plots, niches and mausilea. | Barcelona was a great city to visit! The locals were not overly friendly, but they were not ignorant either. The food was great and plentiful as was as the history and beautiful architecture. The Metro made it easy to maneuver this fabulous city. I highly recommend a trip!