Yes, I have officially landed, Barcelona, Spain! A new country for me. One of many to come.
I found Barcelona to be a beautiful town, one that I felt safe while walking or taking the rail. It is a town of approximately 1.6 million. Everything is a learning experience right now, but I am loving it. The language barrier is more than I expected, but everyone is nice. I initially stayed at the Four Points Sheraton to get my feet wet.
The first evening I walked to the La Sagrada Familia,
and later took a ride on the metro rail to get used to my main means of transportation. Near the Metro station was the Torre Agbar, a 38 story office building made of colored aluminum sheeting.
Dependent on the light, it changes colors. The Torre Agbar also marks the new technological district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The tower itself was built to represent a water fountain.
Tuesday before I left Barcelona, I toured the inside of the La Sagrada Familia, a church built solely from donations.
The church is quite amazing, inside and out.
The project started in March of 1882, and in 1883 Antonio Gaudi was commissioned to carry on the project. Gaudi had other projects, but La Sagrada Familia was his main focus.
Antonio Gaudi died in 1926 from injuries after being hit by a tram.
Being a Picasso fan, I had to go to the Picasso Museum. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures, but enjoyed the experience very much! There were over 4,250 pieces of art – painting, sketches, sculptures, etc. This collection includes 57 works that shape Picasso’s personal interpretation of Velazquez’s Las Meninas. This series is the only set of works painted by Piscasso that is complete and all on display at one museum.
While at the Sheraton, I rented a bike and road around the city going down to the beach area.
There I ran across a Frank Gehry Sculpture as I followed the trail down to the port area.
From the port, I pedaled past the Barcelona Colon (Christopher Columbus) statue.
Close by was a sculpture, the “Barcelona Face”, a sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein. It was designed as one of the “Letters of Introduction” for the 1992 Olympics.
I continued on my bike ride over to the FC Barcelona Football Club and stadium. Little did I know, but they were playing a game that night, and I missed it.
On my bike ride I passed several gas stations.
I know, who puts a gas station in their blog, but it is a little different than home.
Parc Guell was an experience in more than one way. I managed to get off the metro on the back side of the park. I took at least 5 wrong routes adding a good 2 or 3 miles to my walk. Eventually I found the back entrance to the park which took me up and over the mountain. The park was incredible, a must see.
A place for hiking or family fun,
its beautiful views,
and architecture wonders.
Parc Guell was originally to be a subdivision for the well-off. There were 60 plots, but only two houses were built. After Eusebi Guell passed away, the city purchased the property turning it into a public park.
While in Barcelona, I took two bus tours, one that took you throughout and all around the city by means of two different routes giving you a good taste of the city.
My second tour was on my last full day in Barcelona, and it was to the Montserrat Monastery. It was a little bit of a splurge, but I enjoyed it. The bus ride was about 1 hour, and then we took a Cog-Wheel Train up the mountain to the monastery.
The monastery and church (basilica) were all quite beautiful.
This basilica is the home of the Black Madonna, said to have been found in the 12th century.
The monastery itself was partially destroyed by Napoleonic troops in the 1800’s. This arch is about the only structure left from the early days.
The mountains surrounding the monastery were quite beautiful as well.
There is a Hostel located there for people to stay at and hike the many trails around the mountain.
I thought about seeing a Bull Fight, but Barcelona passed a law prohibiting harm to animals in exhibitions. There were 3 Bull Fighting arenas, and 2 remain standing:
As I experienced traveling around USA, every place you visit, you only scratch the surface of things to do and see . The same can be said for Barcelona, but it was a good start for my European adventure.