05 July 2009

Growing up Gaudi

We woke up early at the pension, packed our bags and headed toward Barcelona’s main station to hideaway our bags so we could explore more freely. It took longer than expected, so it was about 10 by the time we grabbed some pastries at the station (sadly no churros con chocolate there!) and hopped on the metro.

First stop, Parc Guell! We walked around the park designed by Gaudi and walked around the outside of the Casa-Museu Gaudi. It was hard to take any good pictures near all the animals at the entrance as it was mobbed by the other tourists. So we spent most of our time in the upper areas of the park, sweating up a storm in the 97 degree weather. We hiked all the way to the view point at the Three Crosses of Calvary viewpoint for a fogged in view of the city.

Then it was back on the metro, to grab lunch at la Boqueria. We had wanted to get pictures with Juan at Pinotxo Bar, like Rick Steves recommends, but it was so crowded there we couldn’t get close. We walked around the market instead grabbing some jamon and fruit which we ate on our towels in the middle of La Rambla.

We then walked through Barri Gothic and saw the cathedral and then popped back on the metro. We got off at Pg. Garcia and visited Gaudi’s Casa Batillo (and by visit I mean viewed from the outside…not going to wait in line and THEN pay 16 euros!) We also peaked down the street to Fundacio Antoni Tapies to see the metal cloud structure on the roof. Then it was off to see more Gaudi…this time checking out La Pedera Espal Gaudi. Again more lines, more admission fees that we passed on. When you only have a day in the city and so much to see, you have to pick and choose wisely. We headed off toward Sagrada Familia making sure to stop and take some pictures of Casa Les Punxes in the process.

Sagrada Familia did not disappoint. This was our attraction that we decided early on that we were going to wait in line and pay for. We did have to pass on the elevator ride, couldn’t afford the hour long wait, but it did offer us more time to visit the museum downstairs with tons of information on the cathedral and lots of models of the structure. I won’t delve into how beautiful the church is, Charlton’s pictures will explain it a lot better than I can, but we definitely would love to go back when its finished if we are still up and kicking.

We were getting short on time, but we made a stop at the Arc de Triomf so Charlton could take the pictures he missed out on when we were walking to the hotel. Then it was back in the metro so we could collect our bags and catch the train to Madrid.

In Madrid, we had to connect to the station where our Trenhotel was leaving from. Gave us about 2 hours before we had to leave, Charlton went on an expedition to get some dinner from the grocery store and I watched over our bags at the station. We scarfed down our food in the waiting area and then with anticipation headed toward the train.

We had sprung for a double cabin as all the guidebooks say Spain can be sketchy for night train travel. We hoped that we would have a full bath with our bunk beds. But we only had a small sink *cue sad trombone* They did hook us up with free breakfast (eggs or fruit and your fill of pastries) and bottled water for the trip. We settled in for the night to awake in yet another new country.

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