Thursday, April 25, 2013

Barcelona---rain rain go away!!!

Woke up this morning to a dark sky, oh now this is supposed to be a walking day and hop on hop off bus tour.  Got ready and headed out about 9AM ready for a full day.  First stop was to have a look at the schedule for the hop on hop off bus, which we love to do in new cities.   The skies weren’t looking too good and since we love doing this on the open top buses we would pass for now and walk to the Cathedral to start our day. 

Arrived at the Cathedral, they are strict here about dress code, but since it is not so nice out we are in pants and jackets, so no problem getting in.  Toured the inside and saw a sign for an elevator to go to the top, but this only opened at 10AM.  We decided to walk around the outside of the Cathedral and wait for the elevator to open, beautiful courtyard that we would have never seen had we not done this.  Back inside for 10AM and paid the 5 Euro for the 2 of us to go to the top.  A little disappointing as so much is under construction they have really limited you to where you can walk around, little did we know at this point this would be the theme of the day for us.  Back down to the main floor and we thought our tickets would get us into the Crypt, but neither of us could find the tickets, another theme of this entire trip, who has the tickets?  Anyway, decided to move on, much more to do anyway today.

Dress code at the Cathedral

One of the chapels in the cathedral

Choir loft in the cathedral

Outside of cathedral

View from roof of Cathedral

We walked from the Cathedral to the Basilica of the Holy Family (Templo de la Segrada Familia), this is probably one of the most famous works that Gaudi participated in, he worked on it for 40 years until his death in 1926.  It is expected to take between 30 and 80 more years to complete.  Sounds almost like the work they did on the outside of our building for the last 5 years. This is the cathedral with the 8 towers, and the cathedral that you see in all the pictures of Barcelona.  It was beautiful on the outside, we never made it inside.  The line to buy tickets reached all the way around the block to the other side, neither of us had the patience to wait in this line. It would have been extremely too busy for us once we got inside for us to really enjoy.  I know why we travel off tourist season, we both much prefer less crowded, and tourist season is just starting, wait until May when it is officially high season, this is even too close for us!  Will come back in January next time.

Segrada Familia

So after a few pictures outside we had off to the Hospital de la Santa Creu Sant Pau.  This is another Unesco heritage site.  When we arrived here there were signs not to miss out, and we had read how beautiful the gardens and buildings were inside the grounds.  So, we follow the signs, seeing lots of construction, found the tour that was starting at 12:00 in English, so decided to go on the tour.  The tour guide made us all put on hard hats (yep lots of construction) and it started with a long history of the hospital, and how important it was to the history of Barcelona.  We got through about 5 billboards of pictures in the first .5 hour, then we went into another room and I’m sure everyones mouths dropped open, there had to be 50 more billboards!!  Luckily she whisked us through those pretty quickly, you know when the guide asks if anyone has any questions and you just pray no one asks, that was where we were.  Finally we get outside to see the grounds and buildings, this really was standing on a balcony viewing all the construction going on, the grounds are all torn up, the buildings covered in lots of construction tarp, but I am sure it is going to be amazing in 2017 when it is projected to be finished.  The tour did end with a stop at the very nice church on the hospital grounds, I think we gave our thanks that this tour was over, it was interesting, just a little long…  I am sure if there had been a bar at the half way point I would have opted to wait at the bar, probably Wendy too

Hospital de la Santa Creu Sant Pau administration building

Hospital de la Santa Creu Sant Pau grounds under renovation

Church on Hospital de la Santa Creu Sant Pau grounds

Inside of Church

From here we walked up to Guell Park, notice the word UP it was all Uphill.  On the way there we decided to stop for some lunch at a little tiny restaurant as it was now 2:30 and we were very hungry.  Wendy had delicious lentil soup to start, I had Paella.  I had rabbit for my main course, first time this trip for rabbit, Wendy ordered pork.  She had no idea what kind of pork it was but didn’t want rabbit, and wanted something different than fish which was the other option.  Turns out her pork was a piece of ham and cheese fried, like chicken cordon bleu, only sliced ham, but it was good.  A little bit of lost in translation again. Lucky me Ice cream was on the menu for dessert.

Apps at lunch time
Back to Guell Park, this park was originally planned by Gaudi as a residential area, but it never took off and only a few model homes were ever built.  Gaudi did live here up until his death, and you can go into a couple of the houses still.  I don’t even know how to describe his work, if you’re not familiar with his work have a look at the pictures, Wendy kept saying she felt like she was in Whoville (the Grinch) or somewhere.  At this point in our day the skies opened up as well.  There are amazing strange lookouts/balconies built all over this park, and people were huddled all over trying to get out of the rain, it really was not very nice (the rain).  We had on our new rain jackets (they have so been worth every dollar spent) so just headed out in search of more adventures.  

Inside Guell Park

One of the houses in Guell Park

Guell Park

Now we are walking downhill for a very long way, we found 2 more buildings that Gaudi was responsible for, one cost 20 Euros each to go in ( price of a case of wine each or 28 Canadian), so we passed on that, though I am sure it would have been interesting. 
We were also quite wet by now, both of our pants were soaked at the bottom as well as on the legs.  Decided to just head home, but of course I spotted the market that was still open so decided we needed to check that out as well.  A quick trip through the market, then home we went.  All of our clothes are now in the washing machine, Wendy has had a shower and we are now enjoying a glass of wine until we head out to supper. 

Another Gaudi building

Stop at market

Lobsters, looks like from home

Check out the price of this box of saffron, didn't bring any this size home for anyone

So far today 9 hours of walking, but that includes about an hour break for lunch, we’ll see how far we get tonight!  Plans for tomorrow are the quarter finals for the men’s tennis, we have tickets but see online that they so far have not finished the matches for today, we have no idea what we do for tomorrow if they don’t finish today, hopefully they put something up on the web site later.
Wendy just went down for a nap.  I think it is too late to call it a siesta. I will wake her up and we will head down the street in search for a place to have supper.  The owner left a list of place that we should check out. 2 of these are just 5 minutes away and it looks like the rain has stopped for the night. The first place was more of a take out pizza with 2 or 3 tables.  Pass. Next place was a Mediterranean place and had about 6 tables and a line to get in.  Pass as well.  We found a nice little Italian restaurant and decided to go in.  I had pasta with mushrooms sauce.  Wendy had penne pasta with a delicious tomato sauce.  It was a nice an relaxing place and it made our evening. 

Restaurant for dinner

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