Friday, May 1, 2015

Barcelona, Spain

We finished up our week long trip in Barcelona, Spain.  If you want to read about our time in Paris or Malaga and Cordoba, Spain click on the links.  (If you want to read about any of our other trips click on the tab at the top of the blog called #janzensonthemove and you'll find all of our trips since we moved to Sweden.)

After our almost 6 hour train ride from Malaga to Barcelona we arrived around 2:30 pm.  We checked in to Pillowrooms Boutique in Barcelona and then tried to find some lunch.  Looking back we should have planned this a little better.  Lunch in Spain is usually between 2-4 but 4 pm is pretty late for me.  We ended up finding a dessert place and we both had waffles and ice cream before walking around the city.

We walked by the Palace of Music but it was already closed for the day which was a bummer because the lady at our bed and breakfast said it was her favorite place in the city.  It looked really pretty.  We walked through a park, past the zoo and to the beach.
It wasn't very warm and the sun was only on the beach in between buildings but it was nice putting our feet in the sand and watching some crazy surfers.
Before dinner we walked into this cathedral.  It was pretty.
We walked to dinner at a place called Elsa y Fred.  The lady at our bed and breakfast recommended it.  We got there pretty early, 7:30 pm, so we were able to get a table without a reservation.  It was a tapas place and after looking at the menu I was worried about finding something I'd like.  It was tapas with a modern twist, aka weird.  The waitress was really nice and helped us pick a few things.  This ended up being my favorite dinner of the trip.
We started with spicy potato wedges (which weren't spicy), tuna tartare with bean sprouts, roast beef with Fred sauce (which was really good but I forgot to take a picture), pumpkin ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes, and croquettes with ham and mushrooms. For dessert I had caramel crème brûlée foam which is a Catalonia specialty and Jake had apple crumble in a jar with ice cream.  

After dinner we headed back to the bed and breakfast for bed.  
Jake juggling some clementines because why wouldn't you do that?
We also took a few belly pics since I was 22 weeks along on this day.

The next morning we had a great breakfast at the hotel before leaving for a sightseeing/photography lesson around the city.

We have used a website called for a few tours on recent trips.  Our Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik and Split were both Tours By Locals and we really enjoyed them.  The one Jake found this time was a Photo Tour Workshop which was a half day private tour of Barcelona plus our guide was going to teach us how to use our camera to take better pictures while we were in all these fun new places.  It seemed like a great idea, but in the end we were pretty disappointed.  He picked us up at the hotel and we headed to the National Palace which is at the top of a hill.  The building itself was a building used in 1929 for the International Exhibition and now it is the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
We asked our guide a few questions about how to get pictures to look good when the background is light and the subjects in front are close and darker.  He gave us a few tips but basically said it is hard and to pick which is most important to focus on and then use Photoshop later to fix it.  Not really the answer we were wanting.

Our next stop was the Olympic stadium used in the 1992 summer Olympics.  (Fun Fact: Had we made an effort to go to the Olympic stadiums in each city we visited we could have quite a few under our belts.  We've been to the stadium in Stockholm but we didn't go to the one in Beijing or London which are recent enough that we both remember them.  I just looked up the Olympics and we've been to 8 cities that have held the Olympics over the years.)

This is the torch that they had in the opening ceremonies where the guy shot an arrow over it to light it.  I don't really remember that but Jake does.
We drove to another spot with a great view of the city.

Our next stop was the Gothic Quarter but because of a protest we ended up spending about an hour in the car trying to find open streets to get to where we wanted to be.  I fell asleep which was a nice break but when your tour is only 4 hours an hour in the car is a little much.

A school yard with kids playing while they were waiting to be picked up.

This was the only picture our guide ask/encouraged me to take on our photo tour.

We enjoyed our guide and our tour but I'm not sure I would call it a Photo Tour.  He took our picture which was nice but we very rarely talked about our camera.  Granted, we could have asked more questions but I was actually expecting him to have a more structured curriculum where we would learn about certain parts of the camera at certain stops along the tour but that didn't happen.

We walked through a market which was neat and pretty overwhelming with people trying to sell you things.
 The protest
Our tour finished around 2:00 pm and we had tickets for Sagrada Familia at 3:00 pm so we needed to eat a quick lunch.  Francisco recommended this restaurant which was near the church.
 Outside of Sagrada Familia
When we travel we typically go inside the big church/tower to see it and get a good view of the city.  We thought about skipping this one but I am SO glad we didn't.  The outside is very overwhelming.  There is a lot going on.  They had signs showing you the different scenes that were being depicted which helped make things seem less chaotic.
The inside was breathtaking.
The person at our bed and breakfast was insistent that we go early enough that the sun was still shining in which seemed weird to us but we went with it.  When we first walked in we both just stood there in awe without saying anything for a minute or two.  Usually one of us grabs the camera and starts taking pictures but this time we just were trying to soak in how incredible the view was.  The sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows made me very thankful for the lady at our bed and breakfast.
 It is still under construction which is why the top is covered.

The ceiling.
The outside was very chaotic but the inside was so smooth and had crisp lines.  The ceiling resembled looking up in a forest.  It was really neat.

We had 45 minutes to walk around before our tower tour started at 3:45.  The lady at our bed and breakfast recommended at least 45 minutes to an hour which seemed like a long time to us.  It was "just" a church after all and we had been to several over the last 1.5 years but again she was right.  We walked around a bit and then headed to the tower.  You can go up the Nativity facade towers or the Passion facade towers.  I honestly can't remember which one we went up.
 We have been to the top of more towers and churches than I can even count over the last year and a half but this one freaked me out!  We took an elevator to the top and then just had to climb a few stairs.  I think since the church is still being built (it isn't finished) and I could hear the construction workers working and see the cranes moving that it just made me feel not safe at all.

 Some fruit at the top.
 We walked down the tower to get out and that was slow because I was freaked out.  Maybe because I was pregnant and my balance was a little off it freaked me out but also do you see how there isn't a railing in the middle just a spiral going down?
 The cream parts are finished and the white parts are being worked on or will be added in the future.
 They had a school house next to the church for the workers kids.  It isn't used today but it looked neat.
 Gaudi took over the church project in 1883 and he used inverted models like this to see how to set up the ceiling of the church.
We took a taxi to Park Guell which was designed by Gaudi, the same person who designed Sagrada Familia church.
A few pictures from the park.  The bottom left-hand picture is a guy using a selfie stick.  Selfie sticks are EVERYWHERE!  I'm sure they are great especially if you are traveling by yourself but most of the time they look ridiculous.

Part of the park is open to the public without having to pay but the really pretty part has an entrance fee.  It is free at the very end of the day so we waited about 20 minutes and then got into the paid part for free.  It was really pretty.  

 After the park we were planning on watching the fountain show at Font Magica de Montjuic by Plaza de Espanya but since it was still the low season it wasn't happening that night.

We ended our trip with a great dinner.
We finally had paella which is a Valenican rice dish which typically has seafood but we had one with peppers, chorizo and chicken.  It was really good.  They only make it for two people or more so we both shared the big skillet.  We tried to get Mexican food one night and almost went this night but we hadn't had a chance to eat paella and Jake really wanted to so we did.  I had orange juice at almost every meal and it was so good!  
 We both had dessert :).
The next day we had breakfast and then headed to the airport.
 Random picture of a trash can but Jake liked the lever you step on that opens the lid.  Quite clever.

Arc de Triomf which was right by our bed and breakfast.

Heading back to Stockholm!  We packed in two backpacks but then our lightweight daypack ended up being used for the clothes we bought in Malaga.  Still I think we did a pretty good job packing for being gone for 7 days.

Hope you enjoyed the, very late, Barcelona post!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...