Category Archives: Spain

Enjoying Barcelona

Outside of Gaudi’s architectural marvels I didn’t take that many photos in Barcelona, that’s either because it isn’t very interesting or more likely because I was too busy enjoying what the city has to offer. I loved Casa Batllo, Sagada Familia, Camp Nou and Palau de la Musica Catalana but there was so much more to Barcelona with it’s unique culture, fantastic restaurants, lively bars and random festivals (see fire jumping iPhone pic). I really enjoyed Barcelona and could definitely see myself coming back for an encore performance some day.

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Sagrada Familia

During my time in Japan I suffered multiple bouts of ‘temple fever’ or ‘temple rage’ where I’d seen so many temples and shrines that just the thought of seeing another made me flip out in a fit of rage. It’s nothing against the temples themselves, it’s just that after a while they all start looking a little similar. There was potential for that here in Europe, with churches, cathedrals and basilicas taking the place of shrines and temples but luckily I’ve been saved by a few truly interesting examples such as the Strasbourg Cathedral and now Gaudi’s epic Sagrada Familia. Gaudi’s magnum opus hasn’t been completed yet but it’s close enough that you won’t feel ripped off waiting in line for over an hour. Cranes working on the continued construction of the church dominate the exterior but inside you’ll find a treasure trove of stained glass windows, gorgeous sculptures and unique designs that are unique to Gaudi (there’s also secret magic squares for geeks like me that notice that kind of thing). The columns and roof were apparently designed to represent trees and branches but it made me think of spiders, and no doubt it made other visitors think of something entirely different, which is all part of the fun. If you’re in Barcelona don’t miss the Sagrada Familia, there’ll probably be huge lines but it’s worth the wait.

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Gaudi’s Casa Batllo

I have a confession to make, I’d never heard of Antoni Gaudi until I came to Barcelona….SHAME! I guess that’s one of the good things about travel though, you can’t help but learn a few new things along the way. Now that you architects are over that shocking revelation, I will begin to throw praise upon Mr Gaudi, he of the flowing lines and organic style that impressed me so much during my time in Barcelona. First up was Casa Batllo, a restored building that is unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. I think that’s why I like Gaudi’s work so much, it’s bright, bold and refreshingly different. I could go on forever but maybe you should check out the photos and see for yourself.

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Palau de la Musica Catalana

I’d heard that the Palau de la Musica Catalana was a thing of beauty and not to be missed if in the area so I took it upon myself to check it out. It’s a concert hall but you can take an organized tour if you want to experience the architectural splendor in the absence of an actual concert. Arriving fashionably late I soon realized that all the English tours were done for the day so rather than leave empty handed I decided to go ahead and take the Spanish one. I didn’t understand much but you’d be surprised how much can be deciphered from tone, emphasis and body language. The place really was beautiful and I quite enjoyed branching out a little and doing the tour in Spanish, yay for me.

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Camp Nou

As a football fan I couldn’t come to Barcelona and not go to Camp Nou, home of the disgustingly good Barcelona football team (I’m a tortured Liverpool supporter by the way). They have an amazing set up and it’s not hard to get caught up in the history of the club, especially as they’ve been so dominant recently with Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and the boys running wild in the Champions League and Spanish La Liga. There were plenty of interactive screens and¬†memorabilia¬†on display but I think I enjoyed walking down the players tunnel the most, they recreate the sound effects of a packed stadium which is a nice touch. I also paid too much money to have a photo holding a replica Champions League trophy….day light robbery but it had to be done! I’d love to come back to watch an actual match but doing the whole tour thing was a pretty good substitute.

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Two Days in Valencia

I had two days in Valencia and it felt like enough time to get out and see what made the city tick. The city of Arts and Sciences seemed like the major drawcard but there were a few nice surprises including crossing paths with Andrew Bynum of all people during qualifying for the European F1 Grand Prix (sadly he wasn’t keen on a photo).

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Gulliver’s Playground

I loved the story of Gulliver’s Travels when I was younger (and still do), I also loved playgrounds when I was younger (and still do?), so naturally I thought this playground I stumbled across in Valencia was pretty cool.

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City of Arts and Sciences

I’d seen a few pictures of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia but it didn’t prepare me for the sheer size of the complex. It covers a huge area with a range of entertainment venues and modern architectural wonders designed to look like everything from a giant eye to the skeleton of a whale.

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