WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Barcelona 2013

My 4 day trip to Barcelona, with my dear fiend Manuela.
I have been to many cities and towns in Spain.
 I live but 1 half hours away from the north west border.
I have to admit..that i like the smaller towns than the big cities.. Barcelona has 10 million habitants..

We both arrived home with very mixed feelings of Barcelona.   Maybe because we both love so much Lisbon... A little bias I suppose! and deep down  I am a country girl.  I love the outlying spanish villages.
 I had only been to the airport of Barcelona . Then straight to the yacht marina. That was my first time there, 3 years ago.
  I didn't  know Barcelona.    I think I can safely say, that no one knows a city well unless you live there.!  This is the case of Barcelona for me.
 I would need about 2 years to get to know the city and its people..Many of who are proud to call themselves Catalans .. We both had a wonderful chance to speak spanish once again, that was a bonus.

   I know the City and coast line from the sea.  Sailing the med with my eldest son and family around the coastline to Palma ,Mallorca and other towns a few years back,on his beloved "Pheonix" ..below. Once again after his summer sailing "Pheonix" is moored in her berth in Barcelona.

Indeed a wonderful City, with long avenue's and parks and benches to sit on, to while the day away(we did not have time for that)  Its great architecture.
 A paradise for lovers of large buildings and strange designs..both modern and classical and many futuristical styles.

                                                           " s/y " Pheonix"..
Me on board "Pheonix"

And so to the park"el Guell"..
designed and built by Antoni Gaudi..
Architect.. born 25th June. 1852.
died June 10th 1926.
A Catalan of Spanish Nationality. Born in Reus in the Catalonia province.

His work is notably known, as "Catalan Modernism"

His "Magnum Opus" - Sagrada Familia- Casa Batilo- Casa Mila..are known to us all.

We did not walk around the park Guell.. as it is about a three hour walk..  It was 38º that day...It was just too much, our energy levels were low. (not as young as we once were)

All the photos were taken by me.    I have put them in no particular order..  Many of you I am sure are well familiar with Gaudi's work.. Simply amazing.

Gaudi was a conservative and religious man . With strong political thoughts and was closely linked to his defence of the cultural identity of the Catalan people.

One of our taxi driver's... made it clear to us, that he was Catalan.. he was all for independence and totally autonomy from the Spanish. He was a very nice young man.. and showed us other parts of the city.

Tall spiral towers ... most spectacular towering high upon the hill, within the park.
Strange  designs of Lizards and snakes and outlandish animals.
Fantastic tile designs.. like no other.
His vision was most unique and I would say "avant guard".   Gaudi ..visited amongst other countries, Morrocco a couple of times.. and some of his inspirations could be of the Moorish culture..mixed with Catalan culture  He also probably could have been inspired by his home in the province , where he grew up.
 Gaudi left it all to our own imagination to interpret his work of his ideal dreams.
looking like a little "gingerbread house" one of his buildings at the entrance.   On the right different designs on the ceiling of the tall pillar house(looks like arabic scroll)!

You can see practically the whole of the city from atop of this magnificent structure of pillars.
                                                      Resting my legs..):-

I have no idea and cannot explain, why I thought I was in a Brothers Grimm fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel.!! The whole architecture reminded me of a fairy tale , or something not of this world.
I am still amazed at what I saw and Gaudi's visions.. Of what he thought when he was building his buildings.. They are unique to our world of Architecture.

Stone walls with castle like mosiac designs.
                                               Resting again.  Oh boy was it hot.

Views to the Med from the park. and  the entrance gates.
                   Lunch at the Marina. There are a few Marina's in Barcelona.. we were near the Casino.   Quick shots of strange large structures..all around the beach front area.
                                               A shrimp-- I think!
                                         Carrer d' Olot..  The street where the park "El Guell" is situated.
                                   Another strange structure..

                  I took this photo from the bus... The long tall structure in front is a building..close to the sea front.. one can only imagine their views. Note how slim it is.! Very impressive.

"Sagrada Familia"

    If we had know.. or informed ourselves a little more, we could have booked our tickets to go inside the cathedral online..  The queue.. was over 3 hours long.    It was also undergoing renovations and upkeep work.  Both Manuela and me , decided.. just to take photos from the outside. I have no words to describe this most stunning magnificent cathedral.
                                   "The Sacrada Familia"  - is indeed a sight one will never forget. Gaudi's immagination , leaves one stunned.  Its incredible.

                                   Our Hotel. very central
                                A   3 hour wait to get into the cathedral.  It was so so hot.. and thousands of tourists. You can also see work in progress.
                                                   Myself and Manuela resting.  Went for an ice cream after our day's adventure.
                                    This large structure is on top of the "Gran Casino" on the beach front..We both decided that it was a "Whale"!   Particularly impressed with the large ball, balancing at the edge of the building.
                                       cable car.. to see the sea front and some of the city..
                                               Strange  Lizards.. pretty scary. Gaudi is famous for his strange animals.
                                          Thousands of tourists.. from all over the world.
So .. I come to the end of my trip.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos in the Flamenco Palace   Both leaving  with dizzy heads, dancing and clapping all the way back to the Hotel. Ole , Ole Ole..
It was an amazing show.. The main "Gitano" Gypsy dancer was around 56 or so.. he was a breathtaking dancer..
All in all a wonderful 4 days...
We had seen the highlights we wanted to.


Antoni Gaudi


  1. Lovely pics of a wonderful city!

    ♥ Franka

    1. Thanks Franka.
      Hope you are enjoying your travels there in France.

  2. What a fantastic post. You saw so much and I'm happy you shared with us. Am not familiar with Gaudi's work but it is quite breathtaking. The cathedral is quite a work of art. You made memories for a lifetime!

    1. I had only seen Gaudi's work in books .. It was indeed so so different.
      Thank you Sanda for coming over.. We took in as much as we could.

  3. Dear Val, I know what you mean when you say that you like the country best. It takes a native to show you around a big city or like you say, live there for a couple of years. Gaudi's ceramic designs are spectacular. Thanks for the photos. I see lots of inspiration. I might have to make another trip to your part of the world. Have been seriously thinking about it. Your pictures have given me new wanderlust.

    1. On every street corner and on one's way up to the park.. the shops are full of ceramics designed with Gaudi inspirations.. You could take a lot from them Gina.
      Indeed it takes time to get to know a city. We saw what we wanted to see.
      happy designing.

  4. Thank you for y our trip and excursion. You sure looked cute and not hot. And it seemed your learned a lot and had a good time. But there is no place like home -right?

    1. Well , thank you Sandie.. I felt hot.. put on a few kilos , what with the wedding and a busy August.
      I did indeed learn more about Gaudi.
      I so agree.. there is no place like home..

  5. So glad you enjoyed your four days in Barcelona Val. We've been a couple of times both of which the Sacrada Familia had scaffolding around it. Lovely architecture though and it was a shame you couldn't go inside. We're found a wonderful indoor market place just off La Ramblas selling the most wonderful selection of fruit, vegetables, fish and meat. Have a good week.
    Patricia x

    1. 4 days was enough for us Patricia.. It was so crowded ..and its such a large city.
      We were told that work on the Sacrada Familia is on going. such a shame to just see scaffolding and netting. One day I will return just to go inside the church.
      La Ramblas, is very much like our downtown Lisbon area.
      Thank you for coming over. .. we didnt buy anything.. as we had full board in the hotel.

  6. very interesting art and architecture. lots to see, i am sure. glad you took some rest stops and had a good hat for shade. :) i, too, prefer the country.

    1. Thanks Tex. Yes, we both took our hats.
      It was interesting.. and we took a few rests..

  7. Dear Val - so pleased that you enjoyed the wonderful sights of Barcelona - what an incredible architect Gaudi was. You did very well in the heat, and hope that you had no problems with the Romanian pickpockets that swarm all over Barcelona.
    I am always reminded of the tragedic ending to Gaudi's life. Apparently when young he was quite a dandy but as he became older took less care of himself and even looked liked a beggar. That was his downfall when he was struck by a passing tram and lost consciousness. Because of his shabby appearance and lack of documentation he did not receive immediate attention and care and he deteriorated and die. What an indictment of the Spanish system during the 1920s.

    1. We saw what we wanted to see. That was pleasing for us.
      We were not hastled at all. There were Guarda all around and police on most of the streets. We were prepared not to walk the streets. My hip wont allow me to walk to far.
      I could have written more about Gaudi.. but i thought the post had enough..
      What a tragic end for him. He lived a very strange life too.
      I think both Manuela and me did very well. We had a nice lunch that day..rested and continued. (Please write a post about Gaudi)..he was such an interesting man.. you can do a follow up. Spain and Portugal ..with their dictatorship.. it was awful what the comman man were subject to.
      Thank you Rosemary for your comments. val

  8. Very nice, thank you for another wonderful tour! You probably need a rest after all of that.

  9. Thank you for your kind comments , there from Sunnybrook Farm
    That is just what I have been doing all weekend.. In fact, i feel a little guilty at doing nothing.. just made sure the horses had water.. watered the flower beds.. and rested.

  10. Hi val, excited by this post! I have been to Barcelona too! A vibrant colourful city with lots and lots to see.....We even popped on the tube and had a day at the beach! A city with a beach! Wonderful.... Thanks for the virtual tour....It brought back lovely memories...Hugs and kisses Maria x

    1. Hello Maria,
      Yes .. A very big City. 10 million people.. We went for specific sites..
      Lovely beaches. When one is young, its different. My view is that Barcelona is for young people. Very vibrant night life.
      Thanks for your comments Maria.. xx

  11. Replies
    1. Thank you for coming over Wild Magnolia..
      Just saw what we had planned to see and we enjoyed that.
      Barcelona is a huge city.

  12. What a fantastic time you must have had. It has been thirty years since I was last in Barcelona. Do you think it's time to visit again? I do!

    1. Good morning Pondside,
      Any travel is good for us.. Barcelona is a beautiful City. Very very big 10 million people as iwrote.. If you like City life.. its great.
      You also have the beach life.. It has its charm.
      I myself will not visit again. I live in a fantastic City.. also with wonderful beaches.
      I prefer the smaller towns.. Seville, Cordoba, country.. (age is catching up)

  13. Amazing post and amazing time by the sounds of it Val. You certainly earned that ice cream. Enjoy - Shell A Darlings Nest

  14. Hi Val!

    I have never been to Barcelona and I would love to go! I get a feeling you were not too sure about it. Fair enough!

    Gaudi's "vision" is certainly original and the buildings do, indeed, look like fairytale houses, but not my cup of tea. Give me a nice baroque building, or a lovely old thatched cottage and I am happy! Gaudi is a bit too much! Though I do love traditional Art Nouveau!

    It must have been a lovely break for you, though. Since we came here, three months ago, we have done nothing but run around like headless chickens, buying things for this house, when, maybe, we should have invested in UK: My husband can't wait to go back to NY and I can't wait to go back to England, to enjoy a few months of lovely cold weather and rain. I think him and I should find a place in the middle of the Ocean, half way between America and UK.

    Maybe we can speak on the phone when I get back to UK, Val. We fly back on Oct.10.

    Lots of hugs, my dear...




  15. Great post about Barcelona. Such an interesting City. It's many years since I visited, but I can still remember the heat and being tired from walking the pavements. Also remember the statue of Christopher Columbus.
    You must have been pleased to put your feet up when you got back home!
    Is it still hot where you live?
    Happy days,

  16. Fascinating Gaudi architecture and I enjoyed visiting it all thanks to your photographic visit! It sounds as if you had a fantastic time with your friend, Manuela!

  17. It does look so hot in your pictures you managed to see so much in 4 days. My son and his ex girlfriend visited there last year and loved it. Those tile designs look incredible. It must have nice to visit but equally nice to be home away from the crowds!
    Sarah x

  18. Lovely photos of Barcelona, Val. It would be top of my list if I ever get to Spain - the Gaudi art and architecture is super, I love it, and you have given us an excellent guided tour. It looks hot there - the same heat which arrived here today! You and Manuela look very chic in your cool tops and pants with nice straw hats, and your blue shoes and bag are very cute. But as you say, No Place LIke Home! xxx

  19. Val, Jess visited Barcelona a few years ago. She thought it was a beautiful place, but it was very hot when she went. She had a great time. I enjoyed browsing through your pictures. The buildings and the views are amazing. So glad you got to visit with your friend.


  20. What a fantastic post, Val. I love your photos and you give us such a good idea of what Barcelona is like. I've heard of Gaudi's architecture but have never seen so many photos of it. I will admit that his work isn't to my taste, but I'm very glad to have been shown it. You obviously had a wonderful trip.


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