Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Barcelona, Spain: Churches & Montjuic

Actual date of this event: 20 September

When Saturday came, Luke and I had two fulls days left in Barcelona, so we needed to make a decision on what we wanted to do with those two days. I really wanted to take a day trip to Montseratt, but research showed it would require an early morning. We weren't so thrilled with that idea given our dinners were happening at 9pm, and we weren't getting home at night until after midnight. We decided to do the churches in the morning so we could dress appropriately (there is a strict dress code for the cathedral), and then head to Montjuic so we could see the fountain show that night.
We started out visiting the church right by our apartment that we walked by several times each day - Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar - Our Lady of the Sea. The interior was fairly plain, but of course the stained glass was very pretty. We learned while inside that we could do a rooftop and tower tour, but the times were limited and not convenient for our day, so we opted against it. It would have been a wonderful view though as we would have gotten the Barcelona Cathedral in it.

Next, we headed to visit La Catedral - The Barcelona Cathedral. We actually arrived just as the church was opening for visitors, so very few people were inside. I made the suggestion to head to the rooftop first so we could be the only ones up there. We took the elevator to the top, and discovered an extremely rickety walkway. Walking around was limited, but since we were the only ones up there, it was fine.

About five minutes later, people started to show up, so we headed back down. The inside of the cathedral was Gothic-style with dark-colored decor and gold lights, but still nice to look at.

We took a walk in the cloister outside and found geese swimming in a little pool in the sun. This was a very peaceful area of the church!

We left the church and walked a little bit in Barri Gotic. We had only really walked around in this area at night, and let's face it, those nights were mostly a blur. As it was a Saturday, there were lots of people walking around, and since it wasn't the afternoon, most of the shops were open.

We went back to the apartment to change - I had a long skirt on and Luke had on jeans since we needed to have church appropriate clothes. Then we hopped on the metro to Paral.lel where we would catch the funicular to the bottom of the cable car up to Montjuic. We were so absolutely confused when we could not find the funicular. After 20-30 minutes of walking everywhere in this area, we finally asked someone, but the area was not quite an English-speaking location, so our communication was very poor. Finally, as we were already up a good chunk of the hill, we saw the funicular coming out of a tunnel. We ran back down and saw the sign pointing into the metro station from where we came! Ah, we are idiots! Ooops. We took the funicular up (included in the metro pass), then we paid for the cable car (extra fee), and made our way all the way up to the top of Montjuic. The views going up were wonderful!

At the top was Castell de Montjuic, and a huge lookout point of the sea and major port. We walked around for a while. Then we sat for a while looking out a sea where we saw a few cruise ships depart for the night. Cruise ships seem to take forever to leave a port!

Luke and I wandered our way down the hill. We tried to follow a walking guide from our book that would take us through several gardens but the directions weren't very clear on which path to take... there were many from which to choose! We were still able to see lots of things on the way down though.

We reached Olympic Park where the 1992 game were held. The stadium seemed small, but the set up in front of it was beautiful! It helped that the sun was going down at that time, and only a few other people were in sight.

 Below is Luke's absolute most favorite picture he has ever taken. He LOVES it! hehe
Our final plans for the day were to see the fountain show in front of Palau Nacional. We were able to get some beautiful views from the palace and watch the sunset. Then we used the escalators to head all the way down to the bottom (I believe there were three sections going down).

La Font Magica is a beautiful fountain show that dances to music and lights. I had heard this was a must-do in Barcelona, but to be mindful of the days and times of the show. Before our trip, I made sure to check the website to see what days it would be on. Nothing came up as a problem for us. Well turned out that the calendar must have changed in the meantime. Due to La Merce, the fountain show was not happening that night nor the next night and also didn't happen the night before. We had waited around (and did extra walking to go find some beers for the show) all for nothing. After learning the show was happening, I tried to be a nice person and tell the others around us, but they spoke Russian, soooooo they didn't know what I was saying. Oh well. We were starving for dinner, so we ended up heading back to La Ribera to eat at Taller de Tapas again (Luke could not get enough of their seafood paella!). We took a walk by Palau de la Musica Catalan - a beautiful concert hall. Since it was dark out, we didn't get great pictures, but it was a gorgeous building.
We wandered in La Ribera, stopping for a few night caps, before we called it a night. It is a shame we didn't get to see the fountain show, but the rest of the day was great. We loved all of the views we got that day!

Other posts from Barcelona: TeaserArchitectureLa Sagrada Familia & Park GuellBarceloneta & the WaterfrontChurches & MontjuicCamp Nou, Torre Agbar & La Merce

Palau Nacional (where La Font Magica takes place) was the main site for the 1929 International Exposition (aka World's Fair). Currently, it is the home of over 5,000 art pieces (National Art Museum).

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