I woke determined to get out and see more of Barcelona today! Yesterday was just lovely but as much as I loved letting the hours drift by in the sun on the beach (damn, that makes me wonder why I didn’t go back!!) I knew it was time to get out and see some of the other sights Barcelona has to offer.
I came to Barcelona when I was about 11 or 12 with my Dad whilst on a holiday elsewhere in Spain. On that occasion I’d come in to see the Nou Camp and the Olympic stadium (this was just before the Barcelona Olympics in 1992). I had remembered quite vividly my day in this city and the trip around the magnificent home to Barcelona football club. It was for that reason that I decided, despite my love for football, that I’d endeavour to see other sights this time round.
Wondering aimlessly can sometimes be a great way to see things you would never have thought about, it can also be a terrific way to get hopelessly lost! Actually I didn’t really get all that lost but there were definitely times when I had no idea where I was and just kept walking in hopes of finding a helpful landmark or road that sounded slightly familiar.
My wandering feet took me through the Barra Gotic area which had been recommended to me by several people. It’s the old side of Barcelona and a fantastic array of little side street, shops, cafes, churches and other assorted goodies. I stopped for a caffeine boost at one of the cafes tucked away from the crowds before heading (rather hopefully than anything else) back in the direction of the Ramblas.
Once I’d passed Placa De Catalunya I was really just following anything that looked interesting. I did have my guide book with me although it being in Dutch didn’t help me too greatly! So seeing there were one or 2 things of interest near by I just carried on walking in the hope of finding them.
Something I hadn’t really expected to see came upon me in the form of the Casa Battlo, the rather impressive looking Gaudi house. Now, when I was talking to Shari the day I arrived, I got the feeling that everything in this city had something to do with Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona’s famous architect. Here I was then, at one of the famous Gaudi sites and, despite the rather expensive entrance fee (€12 for what I guessed was the main attraction – It was €16 for the full entrance fee!), I decided to go take a look.
I’m not entirely convinced it’s worth the money to go and do, but the roof terrace is quite intriguingly different. The array of colours and general design is like nothing I’d ever seen before and you’d probably have to do a lot of arm twisting to persuade me to have anything like that on my roof!! The other notable room had just a little enclosed fountain inside with one light. The impact of this was only really seen with the door fully closed, as when the room was darkened, the effect of water all around you could be seen! Quite a spectacular effect from something so basic!
From here I noticed on my map, another Gaudi building, the Segrada Familia which seemed to be the other side of a small park. I took myself off in that direction, taking little detours on the way if I saw anything that looked the slightest bit interesting! Most of them were just ordinary buildings which had a rather unique look to them or little statues commemorating people I had never heard of!
Walking through the park, I caught a glimpse at some rather steep spires, which I took to be the Segrada Familia and worked my way towards them. Wow!!! The place looks incredible from the outside even as they continue to work on this still unfinished building! I had no hesitation paying the €8 entry fee to go take a look inside! Not really knowing too much about the place I opted to take the stairs rather than the lift up, this was a fatal mistake!!! Not being a great one for heights I realized my mistake pretty quickly but once you’ve started to go up, there’s no coming down!!!
At least, not for some time. The slimline spiral staircase winds its way up one of these towers and with barely room for one person per step and no wall on one side most of the way up it rather freaked me out. I can do heights, don’t get me wrong. I had no problem whatsoever with the Empire State Building a couple of years ago. This however was different. I’ve never liked spiral staircases and with nothing on one side of me, I started to clam up and get a bit shaky. Trying to keep my bottle of water in one hand whilst taking the odd photo through slits in the wall with the other was like balancing on a tightrope for me! It’s been a good few years since I’ve felt quite a scared as that for seemingly no real reason!!
I made it about half way up, took a couple of photos and with the option appearing to cross over and take a different set of stairs back down, I gladly took it! I really don’t think it would have been a clever idea to put my body through that again only twice as high up!!
With that said, I’m glad I did it. The views (even from as far as I got) were spectacular to say the least. A great overview of this amazing city and a small feeling of accomplishment that despite my fears I had at least given it a go and got a reasonable way up!
I celebrated by knocking #1 off my not to do list by munching down a McDonalds before making my way back to the hostel. It was only on this walk back that I realized just how far I had actually come!!
In the evening I did go back and revisit one of things I’d seen as a kid! The all singing, all dancing fountains! A group of about 10 of us had decided to go down and see what the whole “fountain thing” was all about and were pretty please we did! I remembered very little from my younger years apart from there being some really nice fountains I’d seen. These it seemed were them!
Through the summer, around 3 or 4 times a week, the fountains are set free to basicallyt dance to music played over a loud speaker. Sounds a bit cheesy right? Maybe it is, but the combination of music, lights and water jumping around just worked and were unquestionably worh the little trek it had taken us to get there!
The fountains are supposed to go for half an hour and take a break for the same time befor egoing off again. Realizing we needed to get back to the hostel in order to get some beers in for the rest of the evening, we headed back via the supermarket. The remainder of the night was spent drinking our freshly purchased (and chap as chips) beer and playing a good bit of poker!!! Matchsticks as it turned out worked just perfectly as our replacement money and those that hadn’t played it before caught on pretty quickly! It seemed like the pefect way to end a fun packed day!
Tags: Barcelona, Spain, Travel