Our apartment was a 6 people accommodation unit, therefore it had enough room space for the 5 of us. After settling down, we unpacked some of our worn clothings and quickly put to wash in the washing machine. We felt so at home. There was a dining area, a living room, 2 bedrooms, a balcony and a small kitchen. Nice and perfect. The kitchen consisted of a conventional oven, an electric stove, a microwave, a dishwasher, a refrigerator and of course plates and utensils. Just a small little perfect home stay for our vacation here.
After putting the clothes out to dry, we set off to roam the surrounding places and also to settle dinner. We knew there was an attraction nearby, the Arc de Triomf, so we proceeded in that direction. Weather was perfect too. Soon enough, we saw the attraction within our sight. It was WOW!! This arch was built in 1888 as the main access gate for the Barcelona World Fair back then. Walk through it and it would led you to a long walkway towards the Ciutadella Park.
We were hungry after a long day of travelling and walking, so we decided to comb this area another day. We had dinner at a local Spanish restaurant, ordered the famous Paella and a pizza. Spanish pizza did not taste as good as the Italian ones. Italian pizzas were the best!! We ordered a Squid Ink and a Chicken Paella. The Paella dishes were similar to a dish back home, where we would call it "Mui Fan". Basically rice with gravy and ingredients. Well at least it's rice, our parents were quite alright with the food this time round.
We visited the supermarket after dinner to take a look at the local varieties. The supermarket was huge, but one thing to note, no plastic bags were given when you purchased your stuffs. Each bag would cost you 0.3 euros. We were lucky because there were 5 of us, meaning that there were 5 pairs of hands to bring it back. The supermarket was only a 3 minute walk from our apartment. Not a problem for us. We called it a day and spent some time relaxing in our apartment before nightfall.
Day 2 of our self made itinery brought us to the Sagrada Familia, the largest Roman Catholic Church in Barcelona. This church was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, therefore we must at least set our feet in there for once. We took a morning walk there, looking at the buildings of Barcelona. I realized that the buildings here were pretty unique. They had a old Gothic feel in them and it felt like they were a thousand years old, dated back to Count Dracula era.
We had not bought the tickets online because our lawyer brother told us that we could get our tickets there without having to queue for hours. Well, upon arriving, we saw that the queue was fantastically long. We spent about 1.5 hours of queuing and there was a designated time of entry stated on your ticket. This was probably to ease the crowd within the building itself. There were still ample time before entry so we went for lunch at a nearby eating place. The Sagrada Familia was a magnificent structure. The architecture and art works of the building was astonishing! The building was still under construction since 1882. The construction had been ongoing for almost 200 plus years!! Can you imagine? 200 years to build something in Singapore was way way not acceptable. Who would want to oversee the whole process? The Sagrada Familia was expected to complete construction in 2025~2028. The stonework of the building was also astounding, especially the Art Nouveau period style of decoration on the exterior of the building.
We managed to make our way into the building without much pushing. The interior walls of the building were also amazing. It had the kind of artwork you would not find in any other churches. The kind of feel the moment you entered the building was beyond description. The marvellous artwork and design were simply out of this world. We just stood and went into a daze while staring on the interior walls of the Sagrada Familia.
When Casa Balto were upon us, the queue was also crazy. We checked out the entrance fees and it was quite pricey stated. The exterior of the building looked unique. The building did not have any structures that were straight, all of them were curvy.
It was not a very large building to cover, so we decided to give it a missed, and to spent the time shopping instead. I bought some clothes from Mango and Zara. Loved it! We decided to head back when our legs told us it couldn't go any further. We prepared our own dinner that evening with pastas and pizzas from the supermarket.
Day 3 of our itinery brought us to a walk around Barcelona city. We headed back to Arc de Triomf and through the long promenade to the Ciutadella Park. Graffitis were everywhere in the park and this attracted me. Spanish people were really artistic!
We walked through the park and headed into the Gothic Quarter. Our walk for today got to end at Montjuic, therefore we would need to cut through many places on our way there. We stopped by a local cafe in the Gothic Quarter to try out Churros. My Lawyer brother recommended to us that it was very very nice to eat, especially churros with hot chocolate. True enough, he didn't lie. Thumbs up for the hot chocolate! Good!
We continued our walk through La Rambla, stopping by shopping and munching on local snacks. Then we had lunch at a local restaurant with free wifi. Most of the restaurants would provide free wifi when you dined in. Great opportunity for us to rest our legs before heading to Montjuic too.
We were full and had built up enough energy for us to continue the walk. We were led by our Lawyer brother on this day. The walk all the way to Montjuic was impressive. It was a freaking long walk! We made it there at last... Montjuic is a hill in Barcelona. We took the Funicular de Montjuic to reach to the top of the hill, plus a steep walk to the Stadium. Extremely great workout for our legs. We went to the Olympics Stadium compound and its surroundings. It was a beautiful vast of empty land. The place was built in 1927 ready for its International Expo in 1929. And the management was bidding to host the 1936 Olympics which they lost it to Berlin. It was left vacant until 1992 where it finally hosted the Olympic Games. It went through a renovation in 1989 in preparation for the games. The stadium was supposed to be open for public but when we were there, it was closed, and there were some events going on inside.
We went to the entrance of the building and saw that it was overlooking the city centre of Barcelona. The view was splendid from the top.
We descended slowly down the hill and continued our walk to the Spanish Village. Every section of descend portrayed a different view of the place. It was so beautiful. Nice and pleasant place to go! I had to move downwards to capture the full view of the art museum and here the picture below showed it all.
As we headed downhill, we saw a huge Harley Davidson's event along the promenade as we headed towards Placa de Espanya. It was the Harley Village. There were two rows of tentage displays and sales of Harley stuffs. The people hanging around really had the kind of Harley looks. The rugged wear and the boots. It was quite fasinating for me because I could not imagine people to dress up just for this event under the searing sun. It was a hot and sunny afternoon.
There were also a mass display of Harley bikes. And they were huge!! It was a beautiful sight. All of them were aligned in a proper manner. Even the public had their orderly manner of attitude. They would try to squeeze in as many bikes as possible in the parking area. Be sure to look out for the two tall Venetian towers at the end of the road. It served as an entrance to the avenue of fairs held inside the promenade.
After strolling around the Harley Village, we decided to take a break to rest our legs before heading to the Spanish Village. Most of the food the big Harley guys ate were meat. I saw most stalls selling meat, big meats. You would be shocked with the kind of meat they digested.
Finally I bought my bites from this stall below. At least the meat weren't huge. It was very tasty and savoury. The spices used to marinate it were unique. It just tasted so delicious. The guy was actually smiling when I took him but he was too shy to look into the camera.
At last we were on our way to the Spanish Village - Poble Espanyol. It was a Spanish architectural museum. We did not go in because there was a long queue outside and we were also quite tired after all that walking. It was a large place inside, comprised of restaurants, shops, streets, houses, parks and theatres. Should have gone in. Having regrets now!!
We ended our day at the Arenas de Barcelona. It used to be a large exhibition hall but had became an enormous shopping mall now. We went for some shopping, settled our dinner there and took the Metro back to our apartment.
Day 4 of the itinery brought us to the street explorations of the Gothic Quarters of Barcelona. We took a slow walk down the streets after breakfast at home. We found churros along the way, and it was cheap, we bought it. We were heading towards the Barcelona Cathedral. Heard that it was an impressive Gothic architecture, so we were not oing to miss it. The buildings of Barcelona were unique in many ways. It was beautiful in a way with the Gothic feel. I loved every sight of it.
Here we arrived at the Cathedral. It was a jaw-dropping moment, Wow... I felt like I was back to Castle Age. The outlook was majestic and ancient. It was built in the 15th centuries. The Cathedral would be a perfect match if the day was dark with some bats hovering over the building - Batman Movie. There were dress code requirements too, of course no arms and legs exposed.
As I stepped into the Cathedral, it was dark and dim, with poor lighting some candles flickering light. There was a mass in the far front of the Cathedral, but entry was restricted. I took a walk round the interior and was amazed with those fasinating sculptures. I guessed that there were bats living in the interior of this Cathedral.
After that, we went to the flea market that was just outside the Cathedral. It was a retro market. The stuffs that the Spanish people were selling dated back to my great grandparents' generation. It was indeed a great experience.
We visited the Picasso Museum later on, proposed by my brother. Since we were already here, so we decided to take a look. The best thing was that entry was free. I could say that I am not an artistic or cultural person, and knew nuts about art, neither appreciated it. It was a boring walk indeed. Pictures and drawings which I could not decipher at all. Entry was free on every first Sunday of the month, else 14 euros per pax.
We spent the rest of the day combing the Gothic Quarter. Not too bad to explore Barcelona on foot for the past few days. Guessed we had shed 1~2 kgs or weight. Fruits were cheap and we had fruits that were expensive back home, eg. apricots, nectarines, plums, peaches, etc.
Our Barcelona experience had come to an end. We were leaving for Paris the next day so keep reading... ... :)
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