After arrival at the Barcelona International Airport, it was an easy taxi ride to the hotel.
We started from the Colom by the waterfront. The Colom is the very tall post, as in a column, at the pier probably originally built for mariners as a mark of the port. The lower part of the Column is decorated with winged statues and plaques. From here we walked to Las Ramblas, a very touristy street, with tons of people. There were performers dressed up in costumes waiting to get their pictures taken with the willing tourists, for a fee, of course. There were angels, demons, beheaded, magician, clown and so on. That day was le Merci, a holiday, so there were parades and music performances around town. We headed north to Piazza Catalunya for the hop-on hop off tourist bus terminal.
This is a central plaza area. The major roads radiate from here. The circular plaza has many beautiful fountains. We bought the one-day hop-on hop-off bus pass to get to each of the point of interest.
La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona's most well-known landmark is the Sagrada Familia. It is an unfinished church built by Antoni Gaudi. The front façade depicts the scene of Jesus’s birth with Joseph and Mary. This side of the church was made by Gaudi. This part is clearly Gothic style. The back of the church façade is modern style and depicts the death of Jesus. The modern side is done by followers after Gaudi. The sides and interior of the church is still under construction. There are small portions that have finished and has elaborate gilded ceilings and stained glass windows. I think the admission is over priced because there is not much to see inside. The museum under it has interesting displays on how the church was built.
There are scaled models and tools on display here.
Gaudi Park (Parc Guell)
I really like the Gaudi Park which is very artistic. At the entrance there are two small buildings that looks like they are out of a fairy tale. Kind of like giant candy houses. The main entrance has a grand divided staircase that has sculptures and plantings down the middle. The many columns supports a huge platform. Many of the benches and columns are decorated with colorful mosaic tiles. This is a beautiful and relaxing place to hang out. From the edge of the platform you can have a great view over the city from high up.
Plaza Espana and Palace Museum
From the Gaudi Park, we hopped on the tour bus and headed to Plaza Espana. We got off at the Spanish Place or Spanish Tower. This is a pair of huge pointed pillars. There is also a large traffic circle here. From here we walked pass the Miracle Fountain. When we were at the fountain in the afternoon it was not flowing or lighted. At night it is supposed to be lighted and should be really beautiful but we weren't there at the right time to see it. We walked up the many steps to the Palace Museum which is on top of a hill. The Palace Museum has very beautiful architectural detail, very grand, and looks very big from the outside. By the time we reached the top of the steps, it was already late afternoon. We didn't want to pay the admission fee for just under 1 hour of visit so we hang out on the plaza outside. Like many people here, we sat on the steps in front of the museum and watched the sunset. From here we had a panoramic view of Barcelona from the top of the hill. There were a couple of people playing a strange music instrument. It was a metal drum that looked like a UFO and made an airy bong~ sound. This added a surreal feeling to the scenery. I also paid 4 euros for a bottle of coke, such a rip off.
Return to hotel
We went back down the way we came and hopped back on the bus again. The route passed by the Olympic stadium, a cable car terminal, a botanical garden, and then back to the port area. We stopped back at the hotel again for a short break and then headed out for dinner. We found our way back to the Ramblas again. We landed ourselves in a tourist trap kind of restaurant. The smoke ham was very good but expensive but at least the size of the serving was big. We stopped by the Plaza Catalunya fountains and at night they are all lighted in different colors. On the way there were parades with drums and trumpets. Well, that's a great way to start my vacation.