Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Barcelona, Spain, Part 3: June 28, 2010

After Park Guell, we just aimlessly walked the city, taking in the sights, and whatever we stumbled upon!  Because Barcelona is so fantastic, you can have an awesome day without having plans to do anything particularly special!

Just a random building that looks really cool!

A more futuristic version of awesome looking buildings in Barcelona!

A residential street where each building is distinctive, and looks like a wonderful place to live.

Another housing street, this time a walking-only one...how awesome would it be to live here!?

We'll take balcony number two, Bob!

One more of Gaudi's awesome creations, Casa Vicens.  This building was hidden on a small street out of the way, among residential streets, and it took us a long, long time to find it.  We asked a lot of locals in the area where it was, some had no idea, some had a vague idea and put us in the right (general) direction. We just had to find it in the maze of few blocks we figured it was in!

A street that runs to one of the harbours through the centre of the city is called La Rambla.  It's one of the main streets in Barcelona and a major tourist attraction. It's a fantastic street, really really wide, and one reason it's so great is that it's about 75% pedestrian and 25% cars.  There is only one lane for cars each way on the outsides of the pedestrian area.  As you can see, there are trees along the street, and it's full of shops, restaurants and lots of buskers!  Another great place in the city to just stroll along aimlessly!

This is the MACBA, the contemporary art gallery of Barcelona.  We had plans to go there someday, but it happened to work out that day.  However, once we got inside, we found out that almost the entire gallery was closed, there was one small room that was open to view, and you still had to pay to see it.  Major renovations were going on, which kept us from seeing any art!

This is the courtyard in front of the gallery, looking the opposite direction of the photo above this one.  What was really cool about this courtyard is that it was an integrated skateboard park.  Those yellow things were moveable things that skaters could do tricks on and around.  It looked like moveable functional art!

This is the entrance to the gallery, inside looking out.  It's like walking through some Space Odyssey 2001!

We found this vegetarian restaurant, one of very few we found on the trip.  It was a all you can eat buffet, and Stefan was very excited!  After being tricked by the paella full of animal parts on the first day, veggie Spanish-ish food was fantastic!  This was a stuffed grilled eggplant (rice and veggies), veggie paella, chickpea salad, grilled mushroom and onions, and one more thing at the end that we can't remember! It was tasty, however, in a few photos you will see how Stefan's happy veggie belly was highly disturbed!

This is the entrance to La Boquiera, a fantastic market just off La Rambla.  It doesn't look like much here, but once you get inside, it opens up to food market heaven!

Great, hanging cured legs of some large animal!

Tons of candied fruits! Fruit and candy all in one!  Healthy and fun!

There were tons of beautiful arrays of fruits and veggies, which on their own looked really yummy, but were always arranged perfectly too!

Oooohhhh, endless chocolates and nuts!!! Also healthy and fun! :P

A great stall of veggies and fruit!

All the dried peppers you could ever want!

There were lots of stalls that made fresh fruit juice mixes, so it took us a bit to decide which one had the flavours we wanted...one of us had coconut blackberry juice, and the other had a kiwi passionfruit...holy shit balls they were good, and only €1 each!

AHHH!!! BARF!!!! Here is where Stefan's veggie meal got upset and almost got puked up!  What can you identify!?  Pig, goat, ????

Another awesome random walk way.  This one was in the centre of La Rambla.

The Barcelona Opera House, still very nice looking, but not as fantastic as many other buildings in the city!

A great shot of La Rambla: this is the end that is closer to the water, it's not as busy on this end 'cause there are less shops and restaurants.

At the end of La Rambla, close to the water, there is a large roundabout with some really great buildings around it.  This is one of them!

This is another one!

...And another one!

Frig, they are everywhere! Another fantastic looking building!

The waterfront at the end of La Rambla.  This section is fairly open, and there are not any boats docked in it.  The wavy wharf is a large walk way that goes out to a mall built on a dock in the middle of the harbour!  It's a great place to walk and sit and chill out! We did that a few times.

This is the other side of the wavy wharf.  This side there is a marina, with lots of sailboats in it.

This buoy, or boy rather, is floating in the harbour...taking a whiz!  Ends up, he's not holding his male parts, but has his hands behind his back! :P (Check out how his knees are bent!)  But what's the star for!?


Cool view from the wavy wharf looking over the waterfront and marina.

A nice shot of the obelisk in the centre of the roundabout at the end of La Rambla.

And so concludes our second full day in Barcelona! So much to see!!! AAAAAH!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Barcelona, Spain, Part 2: Park Güell, June 28, 2010

On our second full day in Barcelona we decided to visit Park Güell, a big park designed by Antoni Gaudi. It's part of the UNESCO heritage site named "Works of Antoni Gaudi".   For those who don't know, Gaudi was a famous architect who lived in the late 1800's to the early 1900's.  He is known for his wacky, weird, wonderful, fantastical designs.  The entire park is wacky 'cause he designed the whole thing, but Barcelona is also full of his work, along with many other designer/architects that were inspired by him, or who knows, maybe tried to copy his successful work!

 This was a playground we saw on the way to the park. Check out how it's on an island in the middle of a really big intersection! We noticed a few of these types of playgrounds in Barcelona. It was really strange to see a playground with no grass... it puts a whole new spin on playing in traffic!

One of the first things we saw on the way into the park! Freaky Gaudi structure behind all the trees!

Gaudi lived in this house for a bit...we didn't go in though, 'cause you had to pay!

Gaudi tiles! On a wall! Cooool!

Gaudi tiles! On the ground! Cooool! Actually you could find these tiles throughout downtown Barcelona! Instead of a stone or brick sidewalk, they would sometimes use these Gaudi tiles. Really neat!

Stefan in a Gaudi vine vortex!

Random sculpture! Freaky! It's like a cactus!

Under the stone structure from the second photo in this post. The columns are supposed to represent trees, but Stefan thinks this looks like the underside of a huge dinosaur! It's so grand and freaky that it makes being there feel like you're in a fantasy land.

Another cool structure in the park.

Overlooking a huge terrace overlooking the main entrance of the park.  A lot of the park is behind us and to the sides, like a big stadium.

At the back of the terrace you could find seating for a restaurant.

Don't know what this is... but it's the view from a part of the park! Looks like a cool building on a hill though!

Here's a lookout platform at the top of the park. It gives you a 360 view of Barcelona. There's not a lot of space up there as you can see and people sort of shuffled their way about to get their time at the top. A bit of circus acrobatics to not fall off the platform and roll to your death :P

View from the platform--there's the Sagrada Familia, probably Gaudi's most famous work. We only lived about a 20-minute walk away from the cathedral; we think we were to the left of it in this photo!

A view of the hillside of the park. Those two buildings you see are at the front/main entrance.

The really kick-ass terrace railing! Everything in this park was designed by Gaudi, down to the tiniest details. They don't sell these tiles at Home Depot!

A view of the two buildings at the front entrance from the edge of the terrace. Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompas must live there!

A view of the terrace while we were at the front of it.

Underneath the terrace... yeah, that giant dirt landscape that is the terrace is actually the top of another structure! Check out all the wicked tiling on the ceiling!

From the space in the photo above you can walk down stairs that lead to the front entrance. Here we are at the top of those stairs.

Looking up the stairs! You can see the edge of the terrace there in the background. Also, a colourful mini-Godzilla!

Inside one of the houses at the front entrance. The whole inside of this house was painted with really bright colours!

A view of the staircase at the front entrance from the second floor of one of the houses.

This park was pretty amazing. It may be the most unique park you may ever go to. There is lots of greenery but there is also lots of sand... very lush but desert-y at the same time. And of course, with Gaudi's really cool and interesting architecture makes Park Güell something that can't be missed in Barcelona! Go! Now!!!