09 October 2011

Barcelona Day 2 - Park Guill and Mt Tibidabo

Hearing: Traffic and my cat purring

Welcome to the photo tour of Day 2 in Barcelona.

Barcelona has a lot to offer a tourist, but my time was limited and also, having learnt from previous experiences, rushing from one sight to the next didn't really let me enjoy or take in where i was or what i was seeing. There were a couple of must-see items on my list but i was more than happy just to absorb the city itself. With this is mind i bought myself a 2 day ticket on the Barcelona hop-on, hop-off Bus Turistic. It turned out to be a good choice. First up were the places that were a little further out from the city centre. This meant Park Guell and Mt Tibidabo.

Park Guell is the work of Antoni Gaudi. Its is whimsical, yet earthy and functional. There is so much detail and beauty in this park that you could easily spend the whole day there. Even as i was "rushing" i still found that i was there for a few hours.

Outside Park Guell, nearing the Main Entrance
Park Guell Main Entrance
Park Guell Entrance Lodge
Park Guell - The Colonnade
Park Guell - The Colonnade
Park Guell - The Colonnade ceiling
Park Guell - Looking down from the Colonnade to the Main Entrance Lodge
Park Guell - View of the Main Entrance Lodges and the Sinusoidal Bench above the Colonnade
Park Guell - The Sinusoidal Bench above the Colonnade
View of La Sagrada Familia from Park Guell
Park Guell - "Aqueducts"

After Park Guell was Mt Tibidabo. Reaching there involved a rickety tram and funicular ride. Hopping off at the tourist bus stop, the blue wooden tram was a very cute sight. Everyone packed in and the slow ride up the streets of suburban Barcelona began.
Mt Tibidabo has great views over Barcelona and its grounds are home to the Tibidabo Amusement Park and Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus - a large church with a statue of Christ arms open evoking the statue in Rio de Janeiro). Some of the rides at the Amusement Park are not for the faint-hearted, they leave you hanging over the edge of the mountainside! If you do find yourself visiting this place, do not underestimate how cold it can get up there, despite it being summer, i found myself wishing I'd brought a light jacket.

Inside the tram to Mt Tibidabo
The Funicular station for Mt Tibidabo

The Mt Tibidabo Funicular - Hop on everyone!
Mt Tibidabo Amusement Park and the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Rides here are not for the faint-of-heart...
Views from Mt Tibidabo over Barcelona
Beautiful mosaic inside the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Between Park Guell and Mt Tibidabo, i completely lost track of time - the long daylight hours of Summer didn't help either. I hopped back on the tourist bus and enjoyed the drive back to Placa Catalunya.

Placa Catalunya
Wanting an authentic Tapas experience for dinner, my hosts and i went off in search of a decent place that wasn't too expensive or touristy. The first place we decided on, we ended up leaving after half an hour due to poor service. People who came after us got served and we were still waiting on our bread; as we were leaving, we saw them trying to smuggle in prawns for one of the dishes we ordered!

It turned out to be a good thing though because a few turns down random alleyways later in the Gothic Quarter and we stumbled across a great place. It had a huge bench down one side with all sorts of dishes and ingredients behind a glass that also ran the length of the bench and a small back room full of tables and chairs, football posters hung up on walls and a clamorous but friendly atmosphere. The prices were cheap, the service fast and the food was oh so, so good! Very fresh and full of flavour. It was a true authentic Spanish tapas place and we couldn't have been happier. It was a great way to end the day.

Vanishing Point

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