Park Güell

One of the appeals of returning to Barcelona once again is to finally make a visit to Park Güell, another place I missed during my last visit to the city.

I schedule my visit at the opening so I can maybe have a visit that isn’t uncomfortably crowded.

My travel instructions have me exit at the metro stop at the bottom of the hill. I am not excited about a morning sweat.

Once at the top of the hill, I am still early and I have views of the city.

Once inside the park you can stay inside as long as you want but to see some of the more fabulous features of the park you must visit in one direction only. I start my visit by heading to the most popular spots. I am not completely alone but I have photos mostly void of people that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Like anything these days it gets more busy as the day goes on so I visit all the highlights, sometimes multiple times, and then leave. I imagine at one time this might have been a great place for a picnic, when perhaps the crowds were not as bad.

After my visit to Parc Guell I decide to walk back towards my hotel since I want to explore the artsy neighborhood of Gràcia.

Beautiful Tree on my walk back

I still have half a day left so on the walk back I detour over to another of Gaudì’s works – Casa Vicens. This house is the first important commission he received, said to even begin Modernisme movement in Catalonia and Europe. I am just pleased to view the interesting tile choices and wild ceilings that are in almost all the rooms. Its current layout is different than its original configuration since it is now used as an event and exhibit space.

The classy gal I am, I decided to try a local delicacy. (Well not really since it is worldwide chain and I might have fallen to peer pressure to take a picture “for the gram”.)

Finished the evening at wandering around Las Ramblas. I head back to my hotel with the most confusing lobby. You can only tell the elevator is there because I catch the door partially open in a photo. Tomorrow I visit the inside of another of Gaudì’s great works, La Sagrada Familia.

Arrived in Barcelona, land of dance

Bulla ‘N ‘Barna festival

I’ve been to Barcelona once before: the trip started off well but my then husband and I soon developed some kind of gastrointestinal illness and were hotel bound the rest of our visit. I always vowed to someday return and explore all that I had missed. Therefore this visit is a little bit of a make-up trip. My immune system feels good so far so looking forward to the next couple days in Barcelona.

I arrive in town late enough to check into my hotel to freshen up. I really have nothing on the agenda today except go watch the Sardana dance and maybe try to visit la boqueria, one of my favorite places.

I am staying once more in a nicer hotel. I like this chain, Room Mate Pau.

I wander around my hotel.

During my last visit to Barcelona I fondly remember catching the Sardana, the traditional Catalan dance. My current visit is timed just right for me to catch the dance again.

Now I head to La Boqueria via some of the Gothic Quarter.

First I stop for a pizza and a beer. I cannot resist the pizza with mortadella on it, a topping rarely seen on pizza.

Stopped by La Boqueria but most of the stalls are closed but nearby is a street party called Bulla ‘N ‘Barna put on by four local dance schools. They are doing the traditional dance of Ball de Bot. I stay here for a while to watch and buy my first vermouth in Barcelona. It is so much fun to watch all the dances.

I end the afternoon with a stroll down Las Ramblas. It is nice to just stroll with no destination in mind. Tomorrow I finally get to see the famous Park Güell.


I am up early this morning in Granada. I have a flight to Barcelona and then shortly after taking a train to the city of Girona. I planned to take the cheap airport bus that arrives outside my hotel just a little down the street but that plan fell through last minute. My hotel had an outdated bus schedule because when I arrive at the bus stop this morning I realize I must have missed the bus and another doesn’t come for two hours. Since I will not make my flight on time if I wait I head back to the hotel and have them call me a taxi.

When I arrive at the Barcelona airport I don’t quite understand the instructions I have written down. Last time I was here was ten years ago and even then I was flying home and recovering from some sort of a norovirus/food poisoning. I take the wrong train initially and end up wasting a fare since I basically go to another airport terminal and then back again. Eventually I discover I have to take a regional train into Barcelona Estació Sants and switch to take my train to Girona. Luckily there are many trains daily to Girona so I don’t have to stress about missing one. Barcelona is highly connected by trains and metro stations. It is complex for a new traveler to the city, at least in my opinion. I am used to traveling in cities so I eventually wrap my head around the system after a day or two.

The ride to Girona is quick at around 40 minutes. At Girona there are two train terminals. They are pretty close together but it is real important to know the appropriate one to be at.

My hotel is a 20 minute walk from the train station. There is a foot and bicycle path that follows under a regional train. It is shaded and has some interesting art work along the way.

I chose Girona as a location to visit because it is a smaller city and I like visiting cities that aren’t popular and crowded. There are not too many must see things in Girona but it is a nice relaxing way to spend a couple days.

I cross a foot bridge to enter Barri Vell, a gothic quarter. I have a view of colorful buildings reflected in a river as well as a large basilica greets me as I cross the bridge. My hotel is practically around the corner from here.

The hotel I chose, Hotel Museu Llegendes de Girona, is a nicer hotel. I didn’t have as much luck locating a decent discount hotel in Girona. The hotel is a strange art museum/hotel. My room is simply designed except the lighting system – there are so many buttons in the room and only in one place are marked what they are; but not clearly though. I have a nice but complicated room.

After check in I walk the medieval streets of Girona. It is not crowded in this town and that is why I like it.

I decide to go for the fancy avocado toast plus halloumi for a late lunch. It feels slightly healthier than what I’ve been eating lately.

Federal Cafe

After lunch there is more wandering around town.

I stop at the famous ice cream chain Rocambolesc and try one of their creations. Very interesting flavors.

I walk down to the shopping district and do some window shopping. I am not a big shopper in general and especially when I am traveling but I eye a brand of shoes I must have. I note to myself to look them up online later (Update I did and there are a little more than I want to pay).

I see that there are old city walls that circle the city. I climb them and get a view of the city in the late afternoon. I almost have the walls to myself.

I find small gardens after small gardens hiden down alleys surrounded by old churches. I spend some time in Jardins dels Alemanys. I try to identify the fruit tree there with some other visiters of the park.

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I arrive at another very large church. There are very loud and active birds around that I stop to admire. I turn the corner and realize this is the famed church that was used in the Game of Thrones, a show I never really watched.

I walk up to a garden that is supposed to have a John Lennon memorial but I can’t find any such thing in the garden. I want to do a tapas crawl but I am tired from waking up early. I stop by a café for a quick drink for the evening then I head back to my hotel. Tomorrow I take a day trip to Figueres to visit a Dali wonderland.

Night in Barcelona

Tonight is the last night of enjoyment we have in Barcelona. Whatever illness we get hits C first. At first it is funny because he is usually the one with all the stamina and I am the person with low energy. He starts dragging behind and is having a hard time keeping up with me. He jokes that I am a force to be reckoned with after me completing my first half marathon, which I recently did. Then it catches up with me this evening, whatever ails us. I learn I am getting sick when I try to eat tapas in a late night restaurant tonight. C can’t even come into the restaurant and remains outside on a bench. I look down at what I believe to be the most disgusting plate of food I have ever laid eyes on. We are hotel bound for the rest of our Barcelona trip. However before that we have a nice evening stroll around the city. It is quite beautiful at night.

The streets were preparing for the Barcelona marathon for the following morning.

Plaça d’Espanya

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

Magic Fountains near Placa d’Espanya

Luckily we were there on a night that they had a musical light show at the fountain. We wandered around the fountain and enjoyed the show.

It is Whitney Houston tribute night.

We enjoyed our last real evening of the trip. The rest was mostly hotel room bound. After this trip we have discovered the art of probiotics while traveling. Probiotics have saved us from illness on many other trips since. We even survived a couple weeks in India!!
The illness has put Barcelona back on the list to must visit because there was so much more to see there. I hope one day to visit again.

Barf tapas

Gaudí is Good

If you are not familiar with architect Antoni Gaudí then you are missing out. His work under the Modernisme is some of the most unique that you will ever see. The city of Barcelona is a showcase for his work.

Lampposts around Barcelona

Casa Batlló

La Pedrera (Casa Mila)
We were able to tour the inside of La Pedrera or Casa Mila, an apartment building in Barcelona.

One of the most impressive examples of Gaudi’s work is the still unfinished  la Sagrada Família. There really is nothing else like it in the world. Unfortunately the only day we were able to see it, it was closed for some special event. One day I will return to see the inside and maybe it will be complete then.

We both got sick at the end of the trip (nasty stomach virus) so we never made it to Park Güell. I have many reasons to return to Barcelona sometime in the future.