Sunday, September 12, 2010

Barcelona, Spain

When I first arrived in Barcelona, I inherently loved it. It reminded me so much of Buenos Aires (a city in which I lived for a month in 2008) that I couldn't help but feel good vibes all around.

It was late when I left the airport and some of my first views of the city were in the dark. However, over the next 5 days, I explored much, walking old narrow streets and observing a myriad of historical buildings, seemingly happy people and a nice coastline. Dinners were not until at least 9 pm and tapas or paella were typically what was on the menu.

When it came time to leave, I definitely was not ready. I took a timeout for myself daily trying to balance out sightseeing (and the crowds that go with it) and relaxation. As such, I did not get to see all I wanted to see. However, taking life slowly and stting outside at cafes in non-touristy parts of town watching the locals go by was definitely worth it. I will just have to go back sometime to complete what I missed!

A night scene (and large shadow) on the Barcelona streets

A tapas of mushrooms. Yumm!

These recycling bins can be found at various places throughout the city

Continuing in their seemingly green initiative, these bikes that are part of a bike sharing program can be found around the city as well

A respite from a heavy thunderstorm

The perfect place for a daily siesta at my charming guesthouse

Castell Montjuic

Montjuic is a castle that sits above Barcelona and offers some amazing views. In it's present form, it has been there since the mid-1700's and has a dark history of war and executions.

The Castell

An ancient pathway

A modernization


Translated to Serrated Mountain, Montserrat is 50 km NW of Barcelona and easily accessible by train. At about 725 meters, sits the monestary of Montserrat. Founded in 1025, about 80 monks live there today, and a boys choir sings daily in the Basilica. Surrounding the monestary are many peaks including the tallest one, Sant Jeroni, at 1236 meters. As a last minute decision, I decided to hike to its top despite being in a dress with shoes that would later suffer some holes in the bottom. Regardless, it was a good choice. The views, being out in nature and having the trail mostly to myself were just what I needed.

The monestary of Montserrat situated between two mountains

A grave stone with no markings due to age and erosion found along the trail

An old church found closer to the top

What's this guy doin' here??

Hanging out at the top of Sant Jernoni

An expanse of Spain

La Sagrada Familia

Started over 100 years ago in 1882 and still not complete, La Sagrada Familia is the vision of Antoni Gaudi and some say later his obsession. Despite being incomplete, it is one of the cooelst churches I have seen. It is said that Gaudi loved nature and had a dislike of straight lines, both things that can be seen throughout the church. Guesses as to when it will be complete range from the 2020's to the 2040's.

La Sagrada Familia (picture courtesy of the internet as I did not have proper camera or angle)

Sitting amongst the pillars at the front (or is it back) of the church

A sculputre of Longinus on the Passion Facade

Probably some of the most photographed construction workers in the world

Columns with branches at the top to represent trees