Friday, January 04, 2013

Barcelona Pictures

I just realized I haven't put any pictures from Barcelona up. Time to remedy! Here are a few from what I've been up to, and I will promise to be better at staying up to date.

First we should start with the Barcelona Christmas market. There was no food or drink, but there was the interesting tradition of the Caganer. It was also located in front of the Barcelona Cathedral, which is stunning inside and out. Next to it is the Museu d'Historia de Catalunya and the roman walls.
I've spent time on Las Ramblas, and of course the famous La Boqueria. This is not even posed, but represents how exciting this market can be.  I can't wait to go back for the fresh veggies, fruit, and fish. (er, and the candy.)
As I've mentioned before, we live on the same street as the Palau de la Musica. I walk past it every day and bypass all the tourists taking pictures. Haha, tourists. (I kid!)  Joe & I went to the Johann Strauss New Year's Eve concert and got to experience the inside of the building. I see why it is ranked #1 on TripAdvisor!

On New Year's Day, Joe & I took the metro to Park Guell, a Gaudi masterpiece.  The views are incredible, both in the park and looking over the city. We were very grateful for the escalators (or as they say "mechanical steps") taking us to the top, as this park is up there!

I completely geeked out at this park. This dragon is iconic Barcelona to me, and in my happiness I think i did a little Barcelona-inspired jig next to it.
We continued our Gaudi-inspired walking tour by passing some of his apartments, including La Pedrera (Casea Mila) and Casa Battlo (shown below.) I will visit the inside once Taline arrives. 
A Gaudi-inspired walk (or a trip to Barcelona period) wouldn't be complete without going to La Sagrada Familia. I will be touring inside later, but we spent nearly an hour just admiring the outside. As I've mentioned before, I have LOTS of reading up to do before making my way inside.  Once it got dark, we stopped into an authentic Irish pub (recommended by our guidebook) before heading back home. 
Yesterday we visited the Parc de la Cituadella, and it was gorgeous.  Check out the fountain below, in which my photo does NOT do it justice. We joked that it could belong in front of a fancy Vegas casino. But no, in Barcelona, it is just hanging out in a park. I'm looking forward to returning to this park and running, reading, and relaxing.
Here is a view from the park down to the Arc de Triumf, and to the city beyond.
We've gone to the beach three times since arriving.  The first was on New Year's Even - we sat just about here and watching fireworks from the W Hotel (seen below) over the Mediterranean. The fireworks did not disappoint, and we were happy to have found this excursion.  Otherwise it would have been partying from 2am-5am, and well... yeah, I was asleep by 1:30am. We walked to the beach yesterday after wandering the park, and today we went to it and had lunch at Can Costa. I had my first arroz negro. Possibly my last, too. It was okay, but I am not sure I'm a fan of eating food that is black. I digress...
Yesterday was the first day I really went and explored on my own.  I took the bus to Montjuic and wandered around for an hour, visiting the Olympic stadium, the outside of the Catalony National Museum of Art, and the fabulous city views. Then I headed to the Foundacio Joan Miro and spent about 2 hours touring the museum.  I should say, I have always been a huge Miro fan, but it wasn't until yesterday that I felt I "got it."  He was an amazing artist + person, and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. I also managed to get myself back home unassisted AND had somewhat of a conversation with someone in Spanish. Gold star, right?  Then I met 3 new ESADE friends at some local tapas bars - its so fun to get to know my fellow exchange students and I'm glad we are getting a head start.

So there's a mini photo update.  Today we went to Santa Maria del Mar before going to Barceloneta.  I didn't expect it to, but it topped the Barcelona Cathedral. It was stunning, and I recognized that there was no way I could capture in via my camera.

I took a nap this afternoon and than ran errands, like grocery shopping, etc... I feel so comfortable here, which feels great.  Jen gets here tomorrow, and I'm meeting some exchange friends to watch the Three Kings Parade.  Great stuff all around.

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