Day 14: Barcelona

day-city-header1401 September 2014
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I grabbed breakfast in the form of an apple danish with a cherry on top.

I should mention here that I don’t think many dog owners in this city clean up after their dogs – I see piles of poop everywhere on the sidewalks. This morning, concentrating on my danish, I accidentally stepped in one! D: I remembered the water fountain from last night which was across the street and managed to very conveniently clean myself off. So crisis averted.

The first item of the day was to find the Archives of Aragon for another work task. It wasn’t easy for me to find because the picture I found of it online doesn’t resemble the actual building at all. I also didn’t realize it’s not very open to the public and I had to be interviewed with my passport information and address, sign something in Spanish, store all of my belongings in a locker, and was then issued a temporary ID. The librarian there was impressively knowledgeable and helpful.

I then took the metro to explore the Passeig de Gracia area. There was a karaoke singer on the train, haha. I attempted to ninja a photobraph but he finished and moved to another car. >_< I walked along the higher-end shopping and business area. I then made a turn in search of Bosque Palermo: a recommended place for homemade paella. It was closed for vacation! :( Should have seen that coming. I made my way back to find most restaurants wouldn’t open for lunch for another hour (it was noon) until I finally stumbled into one that served a menu del dia.

I ordered a lenguado a la plancha sin espinas (spineless grilled sole?), paella de bacalao con alcahofas (cod paella with artichokes), and a crema catalana del chef (chef’s crème brûlée). Yup, these were all specially Google-translated for you. I enjoyed my meal, and true to form, it took a while for the paella to come out, though they warned me about that when I first ordered.

After lunch, I went to Casa Batlló, another modernist Gaudí creation. Its lavishly designed façade makes it easily identifiable on Passeig de Gracia. I had bought my ticket online – there was no date or time stamp like for La Sagrada or Park Güell and was valid for anytime between now and next year. My student ticket was €18.50 (audio guide already included) plus a €5 fast pass. I don’t think that last part was necessary though; there wasn’t a long line up when I came in or when I left. Oh well!

I adored this place. Where La Sagrada Familia was forest-inspired, Casa Batlló has a more oceanic feel to it with its seashell-like designs and rounded features. I loved the mosaics and the interesting roof that’s shaped like the arch of a dragon’s back. Like La Sagrada Familia, the stained glass windows are particularly striking. The building was built and renovated in 1904-1906 for the Batlló family. Now, it stands as an iconic architectural marvel in the center of Barcelona where it occasionally hosts important events.

I wandered around the building with my audio guide pretty leisurely and spent about two and a half hours here. I would rank my enjoyment of each of the Gaudí places I visited as 1) Sagrada Familia, 2) Casa Batlló, and 3) Park Güell

I then looked at my map and headed to the Barcelona Central Garden that was supposedly nearby. I’m not sure if there was a misprint on my map or something, but I didn’t see it! I don’t know where or what it was, lol.

There are a lot of other garden-type areas and walkways in the area though. I chilled out on a bench in Passeig de Sant Joan for a bit. Nearby there was a playground, a tennis table, and a monument. I then passed by La Pedrera and Casa de les Punxes (but didn’t go in) on my way back to the apartment, which was a considerable walk considering how hot it was and how tired I was starting to feel.

I got to the apartment to get some rest. I knew my body was getting exhausted and I was developing a more and more frequent cough. I didn’t want to get sick! :( Side note: there is no feeling quite as satisfying as removing your socks after a hot day of walking.

However, after an hour or so of down time, I decided I was really itching to see just one last little bit of Barcelona. I headed down to Boqueria Market and finally got the chance to see it while it was open! It was actually closing soon though haha, so I had just over half an hour to walk around and get some food for dinner.

So much different food and so much colour and character! I didn’t have much of an appetite though (starting to get sick! D:) and couple of sit-down places that were still open were so full and busy. I ended up getting an empanada from somewhere and a cup of fresh fruit. Make sure to walk around first: there were a lot of places selling the same thing for different prices! I then washed everything down with a hot chocolate from chök nearby, haha.

It was now evening! This was my last night in Barcelona and I walked up the entire famous La Rambla strip, surprisingly, for the first and last time during my stay. Barcelona is such a beautiful city, and definitely one I want to come back to!

portugal&spain

Portugal: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5
Spain: Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16

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