Barcelona (Spain), 2002

Photos © Ruud Leeuw Photos © Ruud Leeuw

 

Barcelona

We flew Basiqair (later Transavia.com) to Barcelona. We didn't like Basiqair very much, in those early days of 'low cost operators' fares appeared low in advertismenets but when booking they charged as much as the regular airlines. But the service was indeed no frills. That was Basiqair: not cheap and no service.
Anyway, we arrived in Barcelona where we had booked in Hotel Principal. We had hired a car, for I wanted to search out some aeroplanes in the outskirts of Barcelona (San Cugat). In the city the car is a useless commodity and expensive at that, because of the overnight parking. I tried to park it in the street, but the 'Guardia' was on me like a rash; in spite of the refusal to talk English I managed to get off with a warning and wasn't fined.

The hotelroom had a tv which offered BBC World News. When we put the baggage down in our room, we switched on the tv and learned from the assassination of Dutch politician, Pim Fortuyn. this was on 06May02. It was 9 days before Parlemantary elections, and Pim Fortuyn's LPF party was expected to score a major victory landslide. Pim Fortuyn was shot down while walking to his car after a radio interview.
How do you step outside and enjoy Barcelona, like you intended, like nothing happened?

Barcelona in the rain

The weather wasn't too good most of the time, in fact Spanish people claimed it was cold (12-15 C) for the time of year. Perhaps that is why we found most Spanish to be grouchy, unfriendly even. Or is that the Basque way? (We enjoyed Madrid in 2004 much more!).

We found the Spanish had a long way to go for a 24/7 economy. Restauarnts seemed closed most of the time, the siesta time closed shops during midday.

La Rambla can be considered a series of shorter streets, each differently named, hence the plural forms Las Ramblas (Spanish) and les Rambles (Catalan). From the Plaça de Catalunya toward the harbor, the street is successively the Rambla de Canaletes, the Rambla dels Estudis, the Rambla de Sant Josep, the Rambla dels Caputxins, and the Rambla de Santa Monica. Construction of the Maremàgnum in the early 1990s resulted in a continuation of La Rambla on a wooden walkway into the harbor, the Rambla de Mar. La Rambla can be crowded, especially during prime time tourist season. Most of the time, there are many more tourists than locals occupying las Ramblas -- this has changed the shopping selection, as well as the character of the street in general.For this reason also, it has become a prime target for pickpocketing.
[Wikipedia]

We found La Rambla hugely overrated...


Late dinner at Caracoles

Los Caracoles was a recommended restaurant and we enjoyed it too. But dinnertime starts really late and we had to wait until 20:00 before the restaurant (like many) opened.

 

 

Parc Guell
Parc Güell, with Gaudi's playful creations, was magnificent. This lone guitarplayer certainly added to the atmosphere.

Parc Guell

Park Güell is a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of el Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and built in the years 1900 to 1914. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí".
It has since been converted into a municipal garden. While entrance to the Park is free, Gaudí's house, "la Torre Rosa", — containing furniture that he designed — can be only visited for an entrance fee.
[Wikipedia]
Parc Guell
 


Antoni Gaudí was born in the province of Tarragona in southern Catalonia on 25 June 1852. While there is some dispute as to his birthplace – official documents state that he was born in the town of Reus, whereas others claim he was born in Riudoms, a small village 3 miles (5 km) from Reus.
Gaudí, as an architecture student at the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Arquitectura in Barcelona from 1873 to 1877. He would remain affiliated with the school his entire life. Buildings form the majority of his works, many of which can be found in Barcelona.
[Wikipedia]
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The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (official Catalan name; Spanish: Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia; "Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family"), often simply called the Sagrada Família, is a massive, privately-funded Roman Catholic church that has been under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain since 1882 and is not expected to be complete until at least 2026 (at the time of our visit it was 2022, by the info in 2009 this has become 2026).
Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) worked on the project for over 40 years. He devoted the last 15 years of his life entirely to this endeavor.
[Wikipedia]
Decorations added later are less playful, but experts claim it is with Gaudi's style.


We suffered another downpour, payed the entrance fee though we knew the church hadn't been finished and there wasn't much to see but it was a way to get out of the rain... Except, there was no roof on the building! So we joined the builders to get out of the rain.

We also visited the sea aquarium and Barcelona's Camp Nou, which both were excellent fun and interesting visits. But I didn't take any pictures. We had a look at the Picasso museum, but the waiting line was so long we left that for another time.


Not all 'culture' is treated with respect here, obviously..

 

 

Links:

http://www.aboutbarcelona.com/
http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/barcelona
http://wikitravel.org/en/Barcelona

 

the End