dress drunk, travel tipsy

love being different

BIG. beautiful. B-A-R-C-E-L-O-N-A!!

Continued from the blog entry: BIG. BAD. BARCELONA?

So, I find myself sitting at the desk in my hotel room, wondering what I can write about a city that, though beautiful and has so far given us the best weather since we got to Spain, seemed to make doing what I’d planned a challenge or in some cases, an impossibility. Is Barcelona to be a disappointment?

No. I refuse to let it be a city I will look back on without any fond memories. It’s time to restrategise.

* * *

The same afternoon when the sangria forced us to sit out a couple of hours of touring, I decided enough was enough. I had a day and a half left in Barcelona, and I was going to make sure I was going to get to do as much as I could.

We started by leaving the hotel early that day, and we headed for Quimet Quimet to finally try these canned tapas. We went at 6:30, right before it opened and found a prime spot by the bar. Well… It was worth it! After having had just two or three tapas, I was sure I could change my life and live off canned food forever!

Quimet Quimet. Finally able to look at the interior of the restaurant and enjoy some of its delicious on-the-spot concoctions!

After our dinner of tapas and a good night’s rest, it was time to explore Gaudi’s city. We started with Parc Guell… Gingerbread houses, jurassic looking walls, shapes and colours that flowed in and out of nature, mosaic ceilings that created stars and galaxies, Parc Guell was magical! And in it was Gaudi’s house!

One of the decorative pieces on the mosaic ceiling of the “auditorium” in Parc Guell.

Parc Guell

Apart from being a magical place, Parc Guell gave me one of my favourite memories of the trip so far. The park had a lot of vendors selling jewellery and other knick-knacks. Some had really interesting ways of displaying their goods (see photo below), but most of them just laid them out on blankets.

interesting display case

While inspecting some necklaces in one part of the park, someone mentioned “Police” and that spooked the vendors, who took off running with their blankets and goods. In their haste to leave, a few necklaces fell. Two tourists began picking up the goods, and it was quite obvious they planned to keep it for themselves, until an elderly man in a Cosby sweater told them what they were doing was wrong, and he asked them to leave it with one of the park’s live-statues, who assured us that the vendors would be back later.

It was so nice to see a man do a good deed for people he didn’t know and would never see again. THAT was definitely one of the highlights of my day. 🙂

As soon as the excitement was over, we left for Casa Battlo, Gaudi’s architectural masterpiece. A chasm of fantasy, the house is so uniquely built. The use of colour and design and how it flawlessly fit Gaudi’s architectural principles showed us exactly why he was a genius.

Casa Batllo

Clockwise from top: The main living space in Casa Batllo, the chimneys of the house, a cross on the roof that is aligned with the Sagrada Familia.

My favourite chandelier at Casa Batllo

Since everything was going as planned, I decided to take my chances and pay Pinotxo another visit. Though there was a slight mishap, which I will choose to forget, we did get a table, and I finally saw what all the fuss was about it. My verdict? WELL WORTH THE FUSS. The food was so good, I didn’t have time to take pictures. It was gone within seconds of it arriving!

The drawing at Pinotxo’s Bar.

Lunch was followed by a visit to Palau Guell, another Gaudi building, which was just recently re-opened to the public. The best part about that little fact? Not too many people know about it yet! So we had the place pretty much to ourselves! It was GREAT!

* * *

I am ending this day FEELING like I’ve been to Barcelona. Had you asked me yesterday or the day before what I thought of the city, I wouldn’t have had much to say. I didn’t feel like I’d had a real Barcelona experience until today. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but, hey, I’m on vacation, I’m not going to bother making sense of feelings. 😛

Though we got off to a rough start, Barcelona is a city I will definitely visit again. Apart from not having done everything I wanted to do, it is definitely worth a return trip!

Some Barcelona Tips:

– There are A LOT of tourists, so I suggest you start your days early and plan them well. Remember, you have a lot of competition when it comes to doing what you want to do.

– STUDY the map and the metro system. If you’re not sure where something is, take a cab. You’ll be happier.

– A lot of the monuments are clumped together so plan your days around monuments that are near each other. This will help make sure you see most of them, or at least what you want to see!

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This entry was posted on August 8, 2012 by in traipsing around and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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