A Travellerspoint blog

Chapter 60: Hiking on Halloween

sunny 20 °C

The following morning, we somehow managed to drag ourselves out of the hostel in time to see to the huge Red Bull event that was taking place on Parc de Montjuic.
It took us a while to find it, despite it's size and noise level, but it was pretty entertaining... It was a massive soap-box car derby that hosted nearly 100 competitors from all over the world who built ridiculous gravity powered vehicles. They then would race these vehicles at quite a fast pace downhill, over jumps and around hairpin turns. It was quite the spectacle. They had big screens to show off their intro movie and possibly a funny send off...some of the crews even ran after the carts while other's crashed right in front of you!
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Halloween was spent at the boys' hostel drinking plenty of sangria and playing drinking games before heading out to a huge beachside club. Costume stores and our budget were limited so Kevin dressed as a flamboyant magician and Ariel dressed as a bunch of grapes. (We spent most of our train ride blowing up and taping purple balloons all over her shirt) It was a wild night and great end to our 8 days in Barcelona.
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Posted by Kev n' Ariel 08:30 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Chapter 59: Amazing Architecture

sunny 18 °C

Our second last day we spent admiring more architecture.
We began by training back to Sagrada Familia and admiring more details of the many spires and walls that seemed to be continiously added. As we walked down the street we found more statues and finally the Hospital or Hospital de Santa Crue i de Sant Pau, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner. We were able to walk around the back and admire the smaller buildings for free and without bothering any doctors or patients.
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We trudged upwards until we finally arrived at Parc Güell for another encounter with Gaudi. We wandered and enjoyed the views of the city while until our designated "time slot" was upon us. The inner park was very nice, with many mosaics and the house where Gaudi lived for many years, but the line for the porters house was too long and we imagined there would have been a bit more art. Was still a very interesting place to spend the afternoon.
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Posted by Kev n' Ariel 08:07 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Chapter 58: Tarragona

sunny 20 °C

We were met with a gorgeous sunny day to enjoy exploring the World Heritage town of Tarragona.
This small city is packed full of ancient roman walls and ruins. You had to pay a few euros for each but we avoided that by poking our heads around corners and walking around the block.
We stopped many times for the various kitties around the place (lots of sleeping spots and places to hide) and for a quick vermouth and olives.

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The most impressive of which was an old gladiator coliseum that's stadium style seating was still mostly intact. There was also the remains of a chapel that was built directly INSIDE the coliseum after the Roman Empire fell. According to the info panels it was done so in protest to the execution of some monks during. What a funny world and a strange sight.
Before we got back on the train we were so warm we went swimming and enjoyed the sun set :)

We returned in time to join the boys for a pub crawl. Their hostel was much cooler and had free sangria!

Posted by Kev n' Ariel 07:39 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Chapter 57: Gaudi and friends

overcast 15 °C

Today was the Gaudi walking tour. Was amazing to see not just Gaudi but other surrealist architects that were attracted to the city.
The buildings were all in amazing condition! We started with tour with an artist heavily inspired by Gaudi, Lluís Domènech i Montaner and his incredible Palau de la Música Catalana. We really wish we had gone inside as the inside of the building sounded as spectacular and detailed as the outside.
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We next walked passed the 4 Gats that Picasso had his first art expo in...pretty cool! And then we admired the sidewalk up the main bouelevard with Gaudi designs (very inspired by nature and space). We were then treated to 4 houses in the same block. Apparently the first 3 homes (side by side) were a competition between major members of society...guess who won? (of course Gaudi!) It is called El Drac de Gaudí and its inspiration is from St. Michael and the Dragon (see the dragon scales and the princess skulls?). The one across the street, called La Pedrera, was actually an inspiration for George Lucas and his Star Wars (specifically the roof was inspiration for the stormtrooper hats!).
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Sagrada Familia was especially awe-inspiring with its towering spires and it's tireless workers- the estimated time of completion right now is 2026...!
Not to mention most of the detailed drawings of Gaudi were unfortunately lost so there are new architects designing the main facades...the one completed was very unique with a NAKED Jesus!
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Once we did a lap around the immense property we rushed back to the city centre to meet Steve and Matt who unexpectedly had arrived! Ariel went to bed early to keep a cold at bay while Kevin stayed out with the boys until the wee hours.

The next day was spent lounging on the beach, playing volleyball, eating tapas and drinking cervezas with Steve and Matt. We had an early night to prepare for our day trip the next morning to a town one hour south of Barcelona called Tarragona...

Posted by Kev n' Ariel 06:52 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Chapter 56: BARTHELOwwNA

overcast 18 °C

We arrived at our hostel which was located very central in the Gotic neighbourhood. We were steps away from the old churches, shops and dozens of tapas restaurants! Was so cool to walk around in the warm weather with so many people about us. We settled on one that had lots of the tapas displayed along the bar and they charged you per tapas by counting your toothpicks!
The next day we met Ariel's old YMCA friend Alvarro who designs lamps with his friend in the city. He showed us the building where Columbus was awarded money from the King to find India, the harbour with its many upgrades, then discussed the separatist politics of the Catalonians over a drink of vermouth and huge burgers with patats bravas (most popular snack in Spain).

We had to rush off in the evening though to attend a footy game; FC Barcelona vs. SD Eidbar in the massive Camp Nou stadium that can fit 100,000 people. Final score was 3:1, so everyone was happy! Ariel even found a FC Barcelona tuque among the chaos of the crowds lining up for the metro.
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The next few days we spent exploring and attending the walking tours. First one was of the old city centre and its baroque churches with a dodging jesus (sorry no photos were allowed!), another built solely from the fishermen community and its crazy competitions of human pyramids!
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One night we found a really tiny music venue that night. We walked in on a 14 piece jazz band which was incredible. Pretty sure that there was as many players as audience members. Then a talented 4 piece groove/funk/rap band played and we ended the night by running through the pouring rain.
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And another night, after wandering around a big park with a Gaudi fountain (very tame), the waterfront, we met Alvaro and Clara (another YMCAer) for dinner and they ordered all the classic tapas and caught up (been 7yrs since Ariel worked at the Y summer camps).
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Posted by Kev n' Ariel 06:26 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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