September 7th, 8th, 9th 2010
Got to Barcelona late on the 7th, after a 5+ hour journey by train from Montpellier. Ate some nasi biryani (Malaysians reading this will know what it is) at an Indian joint across the street from the hostel. They also make pizza and serve tapas (Spanish finger foods that are served with beer) there, go figure. Indians are enterprising.
Spent the next day checking out one of the most jaw-dropping structures I’ve seen in my life, the Sagrada Familia, a Catholic church designed by Anton Gaudi. Its design is inspired by nature and was started in the late 19th century and scheduled to be completed in 2030. I would love to go back then to check it out. Instead of gargoyles, the outside of the church was adorned with statues of frogs, lizards, and various other reptiles, as well as statues designed by Josep Maria Subirachs, a famous sculptor. Subirach’s statue designs are very interesting. Please check out the link to the Sagrada Familia, so much information I cannot even begin to write about and describe. Pictures say a thousands words.
(A section of the Sagrada Familia)
(Some of Subirach’s work)
(Inside the Sagrada Familia)
I remember how awed I was visiting old churches such as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. In 500 years time, then we’re all gone, tourists visiting Barcelona will see this church and be in awe. But I was there when they were constructing it. Please check out the rest of the pictures of the Sagrada Familia in the link at the end of this post. Gaudi designed some other structures as well but I only looked at them from the outside as the entry fees were ridiculous. It sucks that he died by being hit by a tram. A tram!
Found a bookstore that sold English books and bought The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole and Fever Pitch. Cost me ~€10 each! But good books make such good time-fillers, be it on the long bus/train/subway rides or just relaxing in the park or hostel lounge.
Ate lunch at a popular local joint called La Rita. It was high-end looking but had great prices, especially if you have the Menu del Dia (Menu of the Day) where you pick a starter, a main course, a dessert, and a drink. I tried to be classy and had red wine eventhough I knew the consequences. An hour later, I walked around Barcelona with red eyes and face and feeling quite buzzed.
The next day, I explored La Barceloneta, the area around the beach. Had seafood paella from one of the restaurants along the beachwalk. Then walked along La Rambla, one of the most famous streets in Spain. It’s just a tourist stretch filled with tourists, street performers, tourist shops, restaurants, and pickpockets. On the way back, it started to rain and instead of taking the subway, I decided to be cheap and run back. I got soaked, but saved €1.40! Ok, I am not that cheap, I just felt like running back in the rain. It’s an exhilirating feeling.
Spent the next day checking out the Barcelona Cathedral (unimpressive) and Mercat de Boqueteria, a popular local market. Had some fresh fruit and a chick pea dish. Spent the afternoon taking a tour of Camp Nou, F.C. Barcelona’s stadium.