Tuesday, 17 April 2012


We have had an absolutely fabulous day!!! We used the bikes to take us into the centre of the city (until the cycle path stopped close to the Sagrada Familia); we could see the towers of the cathedral soaring above all the other buildings, so it was quite easy to find – which is good as we’ve sacked Sat Nav for the time being. The queue for tickets was around two sides of the building, and it’s a big building, but we joined it anyway as we wanted to see inside. The outside is fantastical; the tall slender towers look like melted candles with birds and reptiles and fruit adorning them, it’s just incredible, fabulous - I love it (apparently some people despise it). The queue moved quite quickly so we were only waiting for about 20 minutes and there was lots to look at while we waited (and shuffled forward). When we bought our tickets (16 each) we were told that we would have to wait for 1 ½ hours before we could go up the tower (Brett really wanted to, so I had agreed to go up), so we were hoping that there would be enough to occupy us for that long. Inside was “wow” so much coloured light – stained glass windows everywhere. I was in my element, I took so many photos (and bought a book on the glass); Gaudi didn’t design the glass, the artist was Joan Vila- Grau. The windows are abstract, not figurative, and there’s no painting on them – just coloured glass and lead. There is some wording on some of the windows, I don’t know if that’s paint (obviously I couldn’t get near enough to see!).

There was masses to do for our 1 ½ hours, there’s a museum with models and sketches and, as the building is still being built, there are workshops where you can see current models being made. When we were standing in the queue for the lift I read a notice which said that the lift took visitors up the tower but that you had to walk down spiral stairways to get back down and that if you suffered from dizziness or vertigo (yes to both) it wasn’t advisable to go up! I said to Brett “you’d have thought that they would tell you that on the website wouldn’t you?” and he said “they did” ??? “you didn’t tell me that”, “well you wouldn’t have come up if I had” !!!!! So we got in the lift and it went up and up and up and up ..... it was a long way up. When we got out it was scary (it was a long way down). The views were out of this world, you could see right over the tops of all the other buildings to the sea.
It's an awfully long way down!
Then we had to walk across the bridge between two of the towers – that was really, really scary – my knees went wobbly. From up there you got fantastic close ups of the outside of the building.
From below these look like coloured blobs, you can't see they're mosaics
Going down was not nice, it was literally walking down stairs spiralling to the left for an awfully long way – but I survived to tell the tale, though I probably wouldn’t have gone up if I’d known I would have to walk down (but I’m glad I did, now I’m down!).
Right at the top, between the two towers is the bridge we walked across - it's very high up!
We got back on the bikes to travel to our next destination the Barri Gotic area, via Passeig de Gracia where we left the bikes (as by now it was exceedingly busy with traffic and people and no cycle paths) and where we saw more fabulous Guadi buildings, with very long queues outside (we might go back tomorrow, we had queued enough today).
Fabulous ironwork door (spot me & Brett)

I want to see these windows from the inside
Barri Gotic is the Gothic area; the main street, Las Ramblas is very touristy with lots of ‘tat’ for sale and people dressed up as statues (and not moving) or (bizarrely) dressed and acting like lizards, but with stilts on so they were very tall, trying to make all the young girl tourists squeal! Leading off Las Ramblas is a maze of dark, narrow, windy streets with tall buildings;
In real life these alleyways feel really narrow and are very dark
There are all kinds of independent shops here – tattoo artists, leather goods, galleries, clothes designers, hippy shops, all very interesting.
This painted window was in a bakers, it's 1920's

By now we’d been on our feet for about seven hours so decided to have a drink at one of the cafes in this pretty square we came upon;
'Fleece the tourists' square!
We ordered two beers, they were served in what can only be described as very large wine glasses (must have been ½ litre) and cost 6.95 EACH!!! We got our money’s worth; we sat there for nearly ¾ hour, nursing out beers, watching young men tumbling and standing on one another’s shoulders and stuff (they were very good). By then we were all ‘touristed’ out (no staying power), so it was back to the van by 7.30 p.m. without any biking accidents this time.

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