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Sunday, 1 April 2012

A few days in Barcelona

The end of March 2012 found me and my girlfriend in a lovely mediterranean city: Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya (Spain). The occasion was the Barcelona Marathon which was held on Sunday, the 25th of March.

We arrived in Barcelona on Friday the 23rd with a Romanian BlueAir airplane. An university colleague who took a scholarship in Barcelona waited for us at the airport and helped us find our hostel in the city. It is called Residencia Australia and it is located near the centre and the Universitat underground station. The room with 2 beds had the price of 59 euro per night, with shared bathroom and without breakfast. The central position was a main advantage for us. We didn't bother about the comfort, because we knew we would spend only the nights in the room. 

On Friday evening we made our first walk through the streets of Barcelona. We started with Placa Catalunya and then went on Passeig de Gracia, encountering the famous buildings Casa Batllo', Casa Amatller and Casa Mila' (La Pedrera). It was too late to visit any of them so we bought some supplies from a supermarket and returned at the hostel.

Placa Catalunya
Casa Batllo'


















The next day we woke up early in the morning because I went to the Breakfast Run, which I will talk about in the next blog post about the Barcelona Marathon. After taking my runner bag from the Marathon Expo Sports, visiting the exposition and eating some Italian pasta at the Pasta Party, we returned to the city centre to visit some new places. We walked on the famous street La Rambla, full of souvenirs and shops. It was a warm sunny day, perfect for walking until the sun went down. We arrived to the Colom, the column of Cristoforo Colombo, the navigator, near the harbour. The harbour is pretty big and with a lot of yachts and anchored ships. Afterwards, we found the Barceloneta beach with a lot of people laying down on the sand. The evening was close and the temperature under 20 degrees. Not a good time for sunbathing. We walked a lot on the seaside, until the dark came and we had to return to the underground. Unfortunately we didn't catch the coloured show of the fountain Font Magica de Montjuic in Placa Espanya, because it has limited performing hours. We arrived when the show was finished and all the people were going home.
Juan Miro'- Woman with bird

Colom


Sunday was the day of the marathon, which implied for me a 42 km city tour in a few hours of running. As I said before, I will talk about the marathon event in the next post, leaving this one for the other moments of our stay in Barcelona. After the race I was too tired to go walking through the city again and preferred to take a shower and rest in our hostel room.




On Monday the past day's effort was felt in my leg muscles. It was hard to walk on the stairs upwards or downwards, but that didn't stop me from visiting all day what the city was available to offer. First, we went to the beach. I was prepared to sunbath and maybe take a first swim in the sea for this year. Unfortunately, the sun was sometimes hidden by the clouds and the water was too cold for me to walk in. After the morning sunbath we decided to visit the famous church Sagrada Familia. The entrance ticket was 16.50 euro in combination with an entrance to Casa Museu Gaudi of Parc Güell. This church was deisgned by the architect Antoni Gaudi more than 100 years ago and it is still under construction. The finish is planned on year 2025, financed mostly by the tickets sold to the visitors. This impressive church has a lot of interesting and unusual architecture styles. My first word when I saw it from the outside was: WOW!!! This didn't happen on Monday, I'll let you guess why. After visiting the church, we searched for Parc Güell, which was far from the church. We took the underground to the Vallcarca station. The map was not very comprehensive, but with help from a Barceloner who explained to us the way in Catalan and Spanish we found the escalators which helped climb the hill and reach the park. This park is another result of Gaudi's design and it looked to me like a labyrinth. When we finally found the Museu Gaudi, it was already closed and we had to come back another day to visit it.
Sagrada Familia
Parc Güell
Tuesday was the day with the most visits. We decided to visit Casa Batllo', which costs 18.15 euro for adults and 14.55 euro for students. This is another architecture masterpiece of Gaudi which we enjoyed visiting. The coloured rooms, all the round shapes and visual effects and even the dragon back on the roof are still alive in my memory. Our next step was the Barcelona Cathedral, which had the entrance of 6 euro. The same price we paid for Museu Picasso, another impressive museum, where we could analyse the painting of Pablo Picasso from normal to abstract. Modern painting are not really my favourites in comparison with Renaissance operas, but the work of Picasso is certainly out of the box. It was worth  watching it. At lunch we ate Spanish black paella with seafood and a glass of Sangria. They were delicious!! I recommend them to anyone who visits Spain.
Casa Batllo' (interior garden)
Barcelona cathedral (roof)

Casa Batllo' (roof)
Barcelona centre

Black paella with seafood and sangria 
Like an old song says, "All good things come to an end". Wednesday was the last day of our journey in Barcelona and there were still a lot of places to see. We decided to give Museu Gaudí of Parc Güell another try. This time we used a shorter way from the underground station Lesseps, walking on the street Avinguda Vallcarca. We found this time the museum fast in the labyrinth and visited Gaudí's house. After another few pictures taken in the park, we took the underground again to the Paral.lel station, at the bottom of the Montjuïc hill. We saved a lot of time and energy by climbing the hill using the Funicular de Montuïc, a little tram which connects the centre of Park Montjuïc to the underground. Then we decided to take the rope way to arrive to the castle with Teleferic de Montjuïc. Castell de Montjuïc was big and offered a beautiful sight of the city and the beach.

Funicular de Montjuïc
Parc Güell
View from Teleferic de Montjuïc
Castell de Montjuïc
We arrived at the airport on time, but unfortunately the Spanish airport representatives at the check-in were too slow and counted wrong the air plane passengers, which caused us a flight delay of more than one hour, so we arrived at home after midnight.

Barcelona is beautiful! I can't wait to come back again and visit more of it, maybe when the sea is warmer and the temperature higher. Come and see!

Read about my race at http://themihh.blogspot.com/2012/04/maratho-barcelona-2012.html.

2 comments:

  1. My dear Mihnea,
    I am very happy that you have the capability to wright a long text in english, but I am asking me why? Are you shure that whole the world was waiting to know how you´ve spent your time in Barcelona? Perhaps... If you had won, it has to be all nicer. I'am sure that the next time it will be so!

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  2. Hi,

    I am writing in English because my blog posts are available on public sites like LinkedIn or Google+, so people from all around the world can read them.

    ReplyDelete