jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 31 [1 Mar 09] – Barcelona

Posted in Barcelona by jn82 on March 1, 2009

We headed back to the Nou Camp this morning for the full F.C. Barcelona stadium and museum tour. Entry fee plus audio guide was pretty steep and came up to €19, but at least we got to see almost every part of the stadium which was pretty good.

“More than a club”.

From the nose bleed section.

2005/06 Champions League trophy.

After a good two and a half hours at one of Europe and the World’s biggest football clubs, we headed back into the city centre for lunch (of course I had paella again) and then to Barri Gothic, the gothic quarter of the city, to see the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia (also called La Seu). Another day, another cathedral. The cathedral was undergoing some major restoration on its exterior, so the pictures were not that great.

La Seu.

Inside La Seu.

After the cathedral, we took a walk along La Rambla and headed to Hard Rock Cafe, where I was hoping to buy one of the classic t-shirts. However after I found out that the price was €26 (S$52!), I decided not to buy it. Previously I had only paid around S$30 for the Tokyo and Edinburgh HRCs shirt, so S$50 was really overpriced.

Headed back to the hostel for a short break and then for dinner, where coincidentally we met two Singaporeans (who were on student exchange in Paris) that were in Barcelona for the weekend. Indeed the Singapore accent is recognisable globally.

On to Toulouse for a day of rest tomorrow!

Link to gallery of today’s pictures available here.


Day 30 [28 Feb 09] – Barcelona

Posted in Barcelona by jn82 on March 1, 2009

After getting up pretty late and having a Big Mac meal for breakfast (McDonalds in Barcelona has no breakfast menu?!), we headed to the highest point of Barcelona, Mt. Tibidabo. Although there was an easy way to get to the top of the mountain by a special bus, we decided to do it the tourist way (slightly more expensive), first catching the subway to the Tibidabo station, then taking a tram to the base of the mountain, followed by a funicular up to the top.

At Av. Tibidabo metro station.

The tram to the funicular station somewhere up the mountain.

Funky looking funicular and the view from it.

The view from Tibidabo was not that fantastic today because it was very hazy looking down into the city. You could barely see very far and get a clear view.

Pretty poor view of the city below.

The amusement park and Temple de Sagrat Cor.

Paying an additional €2 enabled us to get on the lift in Temple de Sagrat Cor to go up to the top of the church tower, the highest point on the entire mountain.

Temple de Sagrat Cor.

View of the city and the amusement park from the top.

Communications tower Torre de Collserola.

After the mountain, we headed to Parque Güell, a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of el Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914. Nothing that spectacular here after all the Gaudí stuff we had seen yesterday, so we did a quick round here and headed off for a late lunch after.

Main entrance of Parque Güell.

Balloon busker.

Design on one of the roofs.

After lunch, we headed to The Nou Camp, home to F.C. Barcelona. However as it was already almost 5pm, we were not sure if we could get into the stadium to do the stadium tour today. Upon getting there, we realised that the team was about to board the team bus and travel to their away game, where they are playing Atletico Madrid tomorrow. Managed to get some pictures of the players.

Puyol putting his own bag on the bus.

The very cool Vitor Valdes.

Super striker Samuel Eto’o.

Ex-Chelsea man Eidur Gudjohnsen.

Wow, amazing! We will probably head back tomorrow morning and do the stadium tour then, but it was worth it today just coming down here and catching these football stars.

We caught the metro next to catch a water fountain show which goes on every Friday and Saturday from 7pm – 9pm. Pretty impressive initially, but gets boring after a while.

Some fountain pictures.

And as I have been having almost for every meal so far in Spain, dinner was paella. However slightly different tonight, as I tried squid ink paella (which tastes almost the same as normal paella). I really love paella.

Squid ink paella, Paella Arroz Negro.

Link to today’s pictures here.

Day 29 [27 Feb 09] – Barcelona

Posted in Barcelona by jn82 on February 27, 2009

Today we took the 7.49am Renfe AVE 3063 from Zaragoza to the heart of Catalunya, Barcelona. The train was exactly the same as the one we took from Madrid to Zaragoza, so no new pictures.

After getting to the hostel, we set out on a day of Gaudí, exploring a couple of the famous architect’s works. The first stop was to Casa Batlló, a building restored by Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol, built in the year 1877 and remodelled in the years 1905–1907.

Quote from Wikipedia: ” The building looks very remarkable — like everything Gaudí designed, only identifiable as Modernisme or Art Nouveau in the broadest sense. The ground floor, in particular, is rather astonishing with tracery, irregular oval windows and flowing sculpted stone work.

It seems that the goal of the designer was to avoid straight lines completely. Much of the façade is decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles (trencadís) that starts in shades of golden orange moving into greenish blues. The roof is arched and was likened to the back of a dragon or dinosaur. A common theory about the building is that the rounded feature to the left of centre, terminating at the top in a turret and cross, represents the sword of Saint George (patron saint of Catalonia), which has been plunged into the back of the dragon.”

Casa Batlló.

The entry fee of €16 was a bit high, so we decided to give this one a miss and head to La Pedrera (aka Casa Milà), another building designed by Gaudí, and built during the years 1906–1910, being considered officially completed in 1912, and was comissioned by the married couple, Rosario Segimon and Pere Milà. Inside this building was a museum of Gaudí’s works as well as some history of the man himself, so it is a good place to start any tour of his works as you can get lots of background information into his inspiration for his buildings. This building, like the rest of his works, is really one of a kind in terms of the architecture and design, and very interesting to look at.

La Pedrera.

On the roof of La Pedrera.

The final stop was to Sagrada Família, a massive Roman Catholic church under construction, with  construction beginning in 1882 and continuing to this day.

Wikipedia quote: “The Sagrada Família was designed by Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), who worked on the project for over 40 years. Gaudi devoted the last 15 years of his life entirely to the endeavor. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2026. On the subject of the extremely long construction period, Gaudí is said to have remarked, “My client is not in a hurry.” After Gaudí’s death in 1926, work continued under the direction of Domènech Sugranyes until interrupted by the Spanish Civil War in 1936.”

Sagrada Familia.

A bit too tired to go into more desctiption right now, but you can check out the Wikipedia links as well as the picture gallery here for more pictures.