Barcelona

 

History overload!

If you are an architect, Barcelona is your heaven. There isn’t a street you can walk down that won’t wow you. Every single thing is designed – including the streetlights.

Talk about the “IT” place for a studying architecture. Everything needed to be designed. And the person who thrived in this was Gaudi – but more on this genius later.

Barcelona was the last location on my 2016 Europe Trip – and it was definitely an amazing way to end the adventure. We flew in from Santorini through Iberia Airlines; our hotel was ideally located in the middle of all the beauty. So as we emerged from the subway with all our suitcases, we started giggling. A strange reaction but it was so surreal to come out from underground to this interlocked sidewalk and be visually struck by this beautiful Gaudi building – Casa Batllo.

Less than an hour into the last leg of our trip and we were already feeling amazing!Where to Stay:

Located 2 blocks from the main strip of Carrer d’Arago, the beautiful 1 floor hotel accommodated us in full luxury. Offering a variety of different style rooms, we stayed in a master with its own bathroom and a view of the rooftop patio. Aside from the amazing receptionist who gave us all the information and help we requested, Hotel Victoria Palace had 24/7 security.

What to See:

Free Walking Tours
Architects heaven, AKA Barcelona, offers a handful of free walking tours (supported viaDSCN4214 tips). We signed up with Runner Bean Tours who offered a Gaudi tour or a tour of the roman area of Barcelona. Since Casa Batllo had already blown us away we did the latter. An extremely knowledgeable tour guide, who even took the time to photograph everyone in the tour in front of La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo, took us to handful of Gaudi’s buildings.

One tip from the tour guide: Touring inside all of Gaudi’s masterpieces is not affordable, but breakfast at The Rock House is. The restaurant has the original ceiling, columns and you can see inside the front foyer from there.

Casa Batllo

dscn4055-e1511576360952.jpgProbably one of Guadi’s most iconic buildings. Remodelling the plain building that was already there, Gaudi (famous architect during the modern area) transformed the facade into a story – that is still being deciphered. The inside is designed for the comfort of humans. I mean the staircase railing is carved to fit your hand perfectly, tiles are lighter at the bottom and darker at the top in the inside skylight area for equal light throughout. Even the heater is designed to look like a heart; every inch of Casa Batllo is worth looking at. Entrance to the museum includes a guided tour via a tablet that depicts what each room would of looked like while the actual owners lived there.

La Sagrada Familia
WOW! The fact that this is a church just flies right over my head. Its magnitude and its DSCN4185incredible details can’t be ignored. Every inch of this building is covered in features and artists from around the world contributed many of the new additions. The life size status depicting moments from the bible are modelled after real animals and people who posed for Guadi.

I suggest taking advantage of the guided audio tour. There DSCN4241are so many details in the church you need someone – or a machine – to decipher everything and its meaning. Everything was designed and created with meaning and purpose.

They are hoping to have it completed by 2020.

P.S. we had the best Paella down a random street near La Sagrada Familia

Las Ramblas
DSCN4144
A long road lined with restaurants and shops that connect Plaza Catalunya to the beaches. Every place on this strip we had food at was amazing, so you can’t go wrong. You should definitely have sangria, paella and churros for dessert. If you wonder enough down the strip, you will be going in and out of random plazas, encountering the gothic quarter, unique shops, and live music.

Where to Party:

See ya at the beach. The long strip of beach is side-by-side to the clubs. It is an amazing time with buses running all night so you can leave at 4am (like we did) or even later. The only down side, drinks in the club came to $18 for a rum and coke. But don’t worry, get stamped to come in and out of the club so you can buy cans of beer on the beach for €1.

Shopping:

Authentic shopping can be found at one specific store, Desigual. It is authentic to Catalonia (Barcelona). All their clothing is very bright and unique and their store is international. This is the only place where you will feel like you are truly purchasing something authentic.

 

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