Saturday, 27 September 2014

Barcelona - Things to See

Well it's high time I told you a little bit about Barcelona!
This will be a sort of 'Things to See' type post with the bigger stuff.
I'll do another 'Things to Do' post with a bit more detail and some other cool places to go I think! 

Seriously.... If you've never been to Barcelona, you need to go!
It is the most awesome city. I can't quite put my finger on quite why but it seems pretty laid back, they are welcoming and good fun. It feels like a safe place and the tube etc is easy to use and not as scary as London!
I love it and if I win the lottery, I'll be buying an apartment here so I can visit often!

We stayed in a rented apartment rather than a hotel which we think is much better for getting stuck right in.
We stayed in the old part of Barcelona called Born. I'd definitely recommend this area.
Our holiday was Sunday to Friday so we had plenty of time to see stuff (but it still doesn't seem long enough at all!) 

We had tapas, pintxos, beer (bleargh!) and ridiculous sunshine! It was soooo hot! I drank lots of water because I can't stand beer and they don't really have cider. Cola is more expensive than beer and you get a tiny glass bottle. Not worth it! 

The day after we arrived we bought tickets for the hop on, hop off tourist buses that run round the city. €35 each for a 2 day pass - better value and less rushing than a €27 one day pass.
This is a great way to see all the famous sites and you can get off and have a look round if you want.
You get given a set of headphones when you get on and you plug into the seat and select your language and listen to the commentary as you drive through the city.
We didn't get off at the Sagradia Familia because it is so busy.
My cousin has been inside and she said it's not worth the €20 entry. Once you've seen the inside of one church, they all look fairly similar.
I'm glad we took her advice and saved our money.
It is definitely stunning from the outside though.
Sagradia Familia
We did get off and go to Parc Guell and spent a couple of hours walking round there. That's worth doing for the stunning views across the city.
We discovered that you now have to pay to get into the famous area with the ceramic salamander and seating etc so we didn't do that. I think it is about €8.
We bought a few touristy nik naks from the illegal sellers who are all over the place (until the police turn up!)
The view from Parc Guell
We saw the Barcelona Football Club (yawn... ) needless to say, we didn't get off and have a look around haha!

On the second day we got off at the Olympic Stadium and wow.... Definitely my favourite bit!
You can imagine the excitement and atmosphere when the games were on in 1992 and the Olympic Park is just stunning. 
The Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Torch
High above the city, just a few people lolling about in the shade reading a book or having a picnic. It was absolutely blissful!
The Olympic Park
The telecommunications mas. I was trying to be arty!
Olympic Park
I'll definitely be going back there next time!
We then went to the national art gallery which is just down from the Olympic Stadium.
Here there are amazing views of the city from the other side to Parc Guell,
You can see the theme park on top of the mountain (sod that!) and it is just beautiful.

We pit stopped for a cold bevvy then hopped back on the bus for the rest of the tour.
In the evening, we took the bus along the sea front by the beaches but it didn't have that same awesomeness as the rest of the city.

On Catalonia's National Day (11th September) we visited the Parc de la Ciutadella. There is an enormous, very ornate fountain that is well worth looking at. You can go up the steps either side and walk behind it. 

Also, you must go to El Born CC which is a bit like the ruins at Bath but so different!
There was a market there originally and they wanted to do it up back in the 90s I think but when they took the floor up, they discovered this amazingly well preserved part of old Barcelona. They spent years restoring it and it opened to the public for the first time on 11th September 2013 so we were some of the very first people to see it when we were here last year.

El Born CC
Also well worth going to is the La Boqueria Market and you can feast your eyes on the stunning displays of produce. It is very touristy but well worth a visit!

So colourful! - La Boqueria Market
Don't get excited about La Rambla... It's a total waste of time! It's just a high street with touristy tat shops on it and high street shops you'll find in your local town. It is a pickpocketing hotspot and the restaurants try and lure you in with hideous photos of their food. Don't eat anywhere that has pictures of their food!
The only time you should come here is to get to La Boqueria which is just off La Rambla. 
I genuinely don't know why it is so popular with tourists and what the attraction is! 

I think this will do for a 'things to see' post and I'll do a 'things to do' post. I'm sure there'll be some overlap but it saves me writing it all in one post and it gives you a chance to rest your eyes and go and make another cuppa!


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