06/9/13
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A Day of Gaudí

On June 9, 2013, Ivan, Lil Dave and I checked out of the apartment.

We got a taxi to the new Airbnb apartment and checked in.  It’s close to La Sagrada Família.

Ivan parents Denise and Ken came to the apartment from the Norwegian Epic cruise ship soon after.

That afternoon, we all went to La Sagrada Familia which was created by Antoni Gaudí.  It was great to skip the very long line, which is usually an hour wait or more, since Ivan booked it online.

View from the nave of the altar

It was very cool inside with gothic and art nouveau mixed inside with lovely glass stained windows.  The ceiling was interesting as well.

Ceiling of the nave

I took lots of pictures.

Very unique architecture

Ceiling and glass stained windows

I highly recommend going inside the church if you love unique architecture.

We went to lunch at a Catalan restaurant – not sure of the name.  We got a big plate of bread.  You got garlic to rub on the bread and then you put tomato on and a bit of olive oil.  Ivan and I got a soup and a sepia but it was burnt.  The food was okay here.

Our next stop was Parc Güell.  It’s a beautiful park done by Gaudi.

Parc Güell

Ivan and I only made a short stop here the last time we visited, so it was great to walk around and explore the park more.

Ken, Ivan and Denise at Parc Guell

It’s a great place to relax in especially on the cool serpentine bench that has many variety of colorful tiles on them.

Owl like bridge

Lil Dave loved climbing the trees.  I would definitely walk around the park if you come visit, there’s lot of great art to discover.

Sun tile

It’s definitely one of my favorite parks in the world.

For dinner, we went to Tapas Royale.  Ivan picked out a variety of tapas for everybody.  We also ordered cuttlefish, vegetarian paella and Galician-style octopus.  It was delicious food as usual.

05/30/13
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Gaudí Tapas

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 11 am on May 30, 2013.  We used the internet while we waited for our laundry to finish.

We left at 2 pm.  I asked Ivan if he had the key and he said yes, but he didn’t check.. so I closed the door.  It turned out he didn’t have the key.  I guess I should have hesitated more while he actually checked.  He called the lady with the Airbnb apartment.  He was going to meet somebody to get the key in 30 minutes.

It was time for lunch and we walked to Irati for tapas.  Lil Dave had to make his own bananas with some bread.  Ivan and I shared a bunch of tapas: crab meat with egg, anchovies, smoked salmon, goat cheese with quince and cabbage.

We went on the Runner Bean Gaudí Free Walking Tour.  I asked Ivan if we could take a Gaudí tour and he found this one online.  Our meeting point was at my favorite square in Barcelona Plaça Reial.

The tour was 10 people and 1 monkey.  Our guide was named Miguel.  It was cool to hear about the history of Gaudí.  He was Catalan and refused to speak Spanish.

Our first stop was Palau Guelle with the colored chimneys – one looks like ice cream.  Gaudí broke the tiles and put them back together.

The group took the Metro and then walked to Casa Batlló which is definitely my favorite Gaudí building.  It looks quite gothic and cool.  I love the skulls outside of the windows.

The cool Casa Batlló

It has aptly gained the nickname The House of Bones.  I really love the style of this building.  It’s very unique and looks like something out of a dark Gothic movie.  The Chupa Chups inventor currently owns the Casa Battló.  Miguel told us that people still live here and their rent is really cheap since they’ve lived there for ages.  Imagine living in this cool building.

Gaudí was a madman and a genius.  He was very creative and loved putting color in his work. He was over way over budget with his projects.  He didn’t seem to eat much. He was either working or he was at church.   I love Gaudí’s Park Guell, but sadly the tour doesn’t go there.

We walked shortly down the street to our next stop which was Casa Milà or better known as La Pedrera (The Quarry).

La Pedrera

Roser Segimon and Pere Milà i Camps, the owners, thought that it would look like Casa Batlló, but it didn’t turn out that way.   Miguel said that women would cover their children’s eyes when passing by this building since they thought it was so ugly.  It’s not the prettiest of buildings.  I’ve heard the statues on the roof are really worth looking at.  It was a troubled commission with Gaudí fighting with the owner and putting in vengeful things in the balcony.

I’m not too fond of this building.  From afar it looks awful.  Up close, the balconies do look interesting though.  I would love to see the roof though.  Statues on the roof have inspired George Lucas’ Stormtroopers in Star Wars.  I could see how he could have gotten inspiration from the statues’ helmets.

Statues on the La Pedrera's roof

Picture is from Gage Academy of Art.

The owners didn’t actually give Gaudi his all his payment in the end.  He ended up taking Milà to court and ended up winning 105,000 pesetas.

Our guide Miguel reminded everybody that we would be on the Metro and it’s full of pickpockets.  You should watch all your belongings and not have any loose items visible.  He said if you have a backpack put it on your front, so you can see it at all times.  Of course, somebody didn’t listen.

We took the Metro and we came out and an Asian girl got her wallet knicked (stolen).  Miguel went back to see what was going on.  Ivan didn’t know what was going on, so we walked on.  I guess they were trying to see if they could find it.  I’m sure it was long gone by now since the train had already left.  She thought that she’d be able to feel it if somebody tried to take something.  Really?! A pickpocket is not going to make it obvious he’s taking your stuff.

The last stop was of course the huge Sagrada Familia.

The huge Sagrada Familia

It’s a massive building that still isn’t finished and it’s been 131 years.  It’s sad that the originals model was broken since vandals decided to smash it.  But, they did somehow manage to put it back together.  I know it would be a big undertaking to try to copy what Gaudi was trying to create.  But, I seriously don’t know what’s taking too long.  Ivan and I think it’s because the Spanish are lazy and they take too many siestas.  Ivan says if the Sagrada Familia was in Las Vegas, it’d be done in 2 years just like the big hotels that are built.  The estimated date of completion is 2026.  I would love to see it once it’s done.

This side shows the death of Christ

Gaudí wanted it as a church since he was so religious.  One side is the birth of Christ which is the more popular side.  The other side is the death of Christ which isn’t meant to be nice.  The fruit’s meaning on the building means abundance while the chalice represent the blood of Christ and the wheat and bread are the body of Christ.

This is a great tour if you would love to find out more about Antoni Gaudí and a few of his greatest works.

We walked around and Ivan put the coordinates for Hector in his phone, so I checked out their pink boots. The price is €190. I couldn’t believe they were so expensive. I know they’re leather made in Italy.. but that’s way too much money. I know I could buy plenty of shoes with €190.

Later that night, Lil Dave went out to meet up with his cousin Senor Dave for dinner.

Ivan and I had dinner at Bohèmic.  This was a cute modern tapas restaurant run by a family.  Ivan and I ordered bread and tomato, sweet tuna, patata bravas, cod fish fritters, crab salad with the crab from Alaska and red wine.  For dessert, we got a chocolate cake with ice cream.  It was served in a cute jar.

Me with a spoon & dessert

The meal was delicious except the sweet tuna was rather boring.

I really wanted to check out the cool music bar I saw yesterday.  The Sin Copa Music Bar is cool since there’s a fake band on the ceiling hanging down.

Sin Copa band on the ceiling

Ivan and I each got a Kir Royal drink which was champagne and something else.. but, not sure what it was.  It was tasty and had a nice reddish color though.  I love Barcelona. It’s filled with many unique bars, restaurants and shops.  I could definitely live here.

Ivan was still hungry, so we walked around.  We stopped at Tapas Royale.  He had a fish and an eggplant tapa.

We went back at midnight since our feet were so tired from walking a lot during the tour.

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