Barcelona – Part 1!

View of Barcelona from Sagrada Familia

Oh, my gosh, Barcelona.  I had heard wonderful things about it, but I hadn’t expected to love it as much as I did!

We arrived on a Friday night, and left on a Monday morning, giving us nine very full days there.  Not that we truly filled those days – we definitely took it easy!  We rented an apartment while there, so we took our time in the mornings and enjoyed an afternoon siesta each day.  It was super relaxing, and a “vacation to recover from the vacation” wasn’t needed.

We didn’t plan out much for the vacation – we just knew we wanted to see the main Gaudi sites, plus the architecture of the different parts of the city, and take a couple of day trips outside of the city.  So the first day, we headed out to the Holy Grail in Barcelona – La Sagrada Familia.  The line for tickets went around the building (and that’s a big building!), so we decided to buy tickets online and come back another day.  In fact, that’s a pretty good rule of thumb for almost anything you want to do in Barcelona!

We had planned our vacation before we checked the events calendar, and it just happened to coincide with the end of La Merce Festival.  I read a little about it, and then checked out some videos online.  And then, I couldn’t wait to check it all out!!  Human towers, Catalonian dancing, fireworks, parades…Oh boy!  We decided to forego the correfoc (fire run) for fear of getting burned, although I admit I would have loved to have gone!

Barcelona Spain

Gigantes Parade, La Merce Festival

Barcelona Spain

Gigantes Parade

Barcelona Spain

Gigantes Parade, La Merce Festival

Barcelona Spain

Catalonian Dancing

La Merce Festival, Barcelona Spain

Building a pyramid (we saw some towers, but as you can see by the heads in the way, taking photos was difficult!)

La Merce Festival, Barcelona Spain

Topping out the pyramid – a kid (but at least he’s wearing a helmet!)

We strolled through the City Park (Parc de la Ciutadella)…

Barcelona Spain

Fountain at the City Park

wandered down by the beach…

Barcelona Beach

Barcelona Beach

took the funicular, then the cable car, up to Montjuic Castle (really a fortress, with old cannons and amazing views of the sea and the city)…

Barcelona Spain

Montjuic Castle

View of sea from Montjuic

View from Montjuic

walked over by the National Palace (which looked much cooler from far away than it did up close)…

Palau Nacional Barcelona Spain

View of National Palace from Montjuic

Barcelona Spain

National Palace – fun fact:  The Palau Nacional was built as a temporary building over 3 years for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona.  They were going to tear it down after the exhibition!

checked out the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion (the polar opposite of Gaudi)…

Barcelona Spain

Mies van de Rohe Pavilion

Barcelona Spain

Mies van der Rohe Pavilion

On our last night, we finally made it out to the Magic Fountain, which was the fitting end to our vacation.

Montjuic, Barcelona Spain

Magic Fountain – Thursday-Sunday, starting at 9pm.

Magic Fountain, Barcelona Spain

Magic Fountain, Barcelona Spain

Magic Fountain, Barcelona Spain

*****

I have five or six more posts on Barcelona in the works, including a whole post on Gaudi and a whole post on the food, which, let’s face it, is the most important part of vacation!  Oh, and a post about our day trips to Montserrat, Casteldefels, and a Cava winery.  Stay tuned for more.  🙂

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