Sunday, January 28, 2018

120 hours in Barcelona - Part 1

Why 120 hours?  That's how long I was there - and I have the well used 120 hour transit ticket to prove it! 

So here I am back in London and ready to talk about beautiful Barcelona.  I didn't take my laptop with me on this trip as I only carried a day pack and a purse.  And due to Easy Jet's rules on one carry on only, the purse had to fit into the day pack when boarding!  I have never traveled so light but it was such a feeling of freedom even if I did have to wash out my unmentionables and socks most nights!  Actually what I took is half the wardrobe I brought over with me so I don't have much believe me.  

On Monday morning I headed off to Gatwick airport which is less than 40 minutes by train from where I am staying in South London. 

The flight left on time and we arrived into Barcelona early.  I got the Aero bus to the Universitat area where I then went to the metro station.  I punched in my reference numbers (I had booked my transit pass online) and bingo..out came my transit ticket.  Got the train and was so easy to figure out and the airbnb was easy to find.  Pressed the buzzer for my airbnb host's neighbour and bang she answered.  This was all too easy - surely something had to go wrong!  Monica showed me around the apartment where I had rented a room.  My room was...uh...pretty bright and complete with a basketball hoop! I had seen the picture of it of course so knew what I was getting into...but yeah it was bright...  I found out later it is Ezequal's ten year old daughter's room and he had rented it out for a few months so he could afford to take her to Uruguay as that is where he is from originally. 

This wouldn't be to everyone's taste I know but this is how I roll.  Once again..another bonus of traveling on my own.  And believe me the price was right!  Airfare and 5 nights accommodation costs came just under the $250 Cdn mark - important when you are doing long term travel.

Once I had unpacked my meagre belongings I decided to head out and see the famous Sagrada was only four stops away on the metro so I could not resist. 

All I can say is wow.  The beauty and detail was staggering. 

I had booked a ticket to see it the next morning. Yes, for the Sagrada Familia it is highly recommended to book your ticket ahead or you will probably be very disappointed. 

Headed back to the St Marti area where I was staying and walked around trying to find something to eat. I was having one of those days when I couldn't decide what I wanted to eat.  Finally popped into a tapas bar and had chicken, chips and salad. 

Not the best meal I have had in a long shot but it filled the gap.  The area was full of tapas bars and cafes. 

Back to the room and then it all went to hell.  I was the only one in the apartment that night (and the next) and noticed not one but three locks on the door.  "Hmmmm..." I thought "must be a dangerous area, maybe I better use one of them just in case".  Mistake!  I used the chain lock but decided to test it to make sure it worked...and I couldn't get it open again.  Eek! It didn't pull over the way I was used to and for ten minutes I tried to release it getting more frantic all the time.  I phoned the next door neighbour with no luck - although what she could have done on the other side of the door is beyond me but you know..panic and all...I contacted Ezequel on What's App and he patiently told me what to do but it still didn't work and then I noticed a tiny button in the middle of the lock.  Pushed it and it released.  Whew!  I had visions of spending my five days in Barcelona in the flat - well it would be the world's best diet! Needless to say I did not use that or any of the locks again!  I found out later the locks came with the apartment and the building is secure so there was no threat - and I am not one of those scaredy cats.  One of those times you wonder why the hell you did something.  Not one of my proudest moments.  I felt like a right idiot. 

It took a long time to get to sleep that night - the adrenaline was still pumping!

The next morning I went to a nearby cafe where I spent the next three mornings...breakfast was usually a pastry and always cafe con leche. (coffee with milk)  The place was clean, had wifi and a toilet - all important!!

Then on to Sagrada Familia!  I was there early so walked over to the park across from it and got some great views. 

The construction on Sagrada Familia ("Holy Family") started in 1882 drawn up by plans by the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar who resigned a year later.  Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to take over in 1883. For the next 31 years he combined work on the cathedral with other projects.  In 1914 he dedicated his life to it until his sudden death in a tram accident in 1926.  Work still goes on with the construction slated to be complete in 2026 - the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death. 

At 10 a.m. I picked up my audio guide and for the next 90 minutes I was in absolute awe.  This man was a genius!!!

 Above is the nativity facade which is the only facade that was completed in Gaudi's lifetime.  The detail is amazing.  You could spend hours just looking at the outside of the building 

The stained glass was so beautiful.  Gaudi envisioned a forest - a lot of his work was inspired by the beauty of nature.

Even without the master Gaudi work goes on - he had the foresight to realize he would not live long enough to complete the cathedral so created models for future generations to work from - and they continue to do so.  I am so happy I got to see it for myself. 

And that was the first 24 hours!!!

2 comments: said...

That lock! Oh, my. I would have panicked, for sure!

Great first day report.

Barbara Mulligan said...

The current architect carrying out Gaudi’s plans is a New Zealander, which confirms my compatriots are everywhere in the world doing interesting things. I was totally awestruck when I visited several years ago. I expected it to be amazing but somehow not beautiful and of course it is stunningly beautiful.
Love your blog.

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