Stuif's Adventures

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Barcelona September 2013
After Aric and I came back from our trip to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France, there was still time for another destination. For a while we considered Norway, but finally we decided for Barcelona. It was a short 4D3N trip only and instead of booking a hotel we wanted to stay in an apartment.
There exists a website airbnb.com where you can find private rooms and apartments for rent all over the world. An interesting concept, we had used it in Regensburg during our Europe trip. We found a nice apartment in the Raval quarter of Barcelona, near the Ramblas.The comments mentioned that the neighbourhood was "special" but the apartment spaceous and quiet. Both true.
Located in the middle of the red light district, on the fourth floor (76 steps!), a large loft, with everything we needed.

Our apartment
 

76 steps!
 

Beautiful loft
 

The bedroom
 

Some ladies of the night
 

Lunch with tapas and sangria
 

We arrived early in the morning, went to the apartment where we received the keys from our friendly host Lauren, then went out again to have lunch. Of course with tapas and sangria. Next we had a look at the Boqueria, Barcelona's famous market, and walked over the Ramblas. I was quite shocked by the incredible number of tourists, compared with my last visit in 2004. Long queue for our first Gaudi building, Palau Guell! We decided to skip it and went to the Gothic quarter, where we had a look at the Plaša Reial and the cathedral.

The Boqueria
 

More Boqueria
 

Entrance of Palau Guell
 

Detail
 

Characteristic Gaudi chimneys
 

Plaša Reial
 

Cathedral
 

Interior
 

Choir
 

Sagrada Familia
 

Casa Mila
 

The next two days were Gaudi days :-) We started with the Sagrada Familia and found that there was a very long queue. There was also a signboard that you could avoid the queue by buying tickets online. We dicided to to that and took the metro to Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, hoping that the queue would be less there. It was.
A visit of Casa Mila starts at the roof, because there you can find Gaudi's monumental chimneys. Not easy to take pictures without people! The famous attic with the catenary structures is next, followed by the floor where they have recreated how people lived when Casa Mila was built in ~ 1910. Really worth a visit. After our visit it was time for lunch, tapas again..:-)

The roof with many people
 

With less people
 

With only Aric ...:-)
 

Chimney details
 

Details
 

The Attic
 

Mathematical elegance
 

Interesting museum
 

Servants quarters
 

More luxury for the masters
 

View of the balconies
 

Gaudi everywhere
 

Lunch
 

Casa Battlo
 

Main hall
 

Our next destination was Casa Battlo, not far away from la Pedrera. Famous for its facade, the main hall on the first floor, beautiful interior decoration by Gaudi himself and of course again the roof. This part of Barcelona has many interesting buildings, next door there is Casa Amatller, by the architect Puig i Cadafalch.

Elaborate decorations
 

Gaudi as interior designer
 

Nice fireplace
 

Ventilation channels
 

Back of the building
 

Decorative
 

The stairwell
 

On the roof
 

Detail
 

Casa Amattler
 

Outside not nice
 

Inside the tower
 

Back at our apartment we booked e-tickets for the Sagrada Familia. As we also wanted to climb the towers, we had to choose a time slot for our visit! But it helped a lot, when we arrived the next morning, we could skip the queue and enter without delay. As a lot of construction is going on, the outside of the church is not very pleasing at the moment, the top of the towers is covered with protective sheets, noisy building goes on everywhere. There is an elevator to the top of the tower, you have to walk down, hundreds of steps on a narrow spiral staircase. From the top of the tower you have a view of Barcelona, not really special

View from the tower
 

Construction everywhere
 

Walking down
 

Finished facade
 

The crucifixion
 

Church interior
 

Very impressive
 

Tall pillars
 

However, the interior of the church is really special and very impressive. Even a secular humanist like me could develop religious feelings here..:-) The church is huge, a forest of tall pillars, a beautiful roof and colorful stained glass windows everywhere. You can spend a long time in this church.

So beautiful
 

Stained glass windows
 

Windows everywhere
 

Colorful
 

Complicated structure
 

A forest of pillars
 

The Pater Noster prayer
 

Statue of Christ
 

This is how Gaudi designed
 

Parc Guell
 

Walkway in the park
 

Barcelona is Gaudi town, there are many more buildings to visit and admire. We had only time for one more, the Parc Guell. Here too a big crowd, we almost wanted to go back when we saw the masses. Difficult to take acceptable pictures. The main square of the park is built on pillars in characteristic Gaudi style. And the famous tiled benches are so beautiful. Really a pity that there were so many tourists.

The main square
 

Details of the construction
 

The famous tiled benches
 

Details
 

Highest point of the park
 

The caretaker house
 

Decoration of the staira
 

Detail
 

Dinner on the Ramblas
 

The Palau Nacional
 

View of Barcelona with naked man
 

We had a luxury dinner on the Ramblas. Not the best place for good food, too touristy. The next day we visited the Palau Nacional on the Montjuich hill, did some last shopping and then went to Mar Bella for lunch. Before we had a delcious paella there, we spent some time at the nudist beach. Popular place, big crowd, surprisingly near to the town.

Late in the evening we were back in Amsterdam. Four days, well spent!


More naked people in Mar Bella
 

Delicious paella
 

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