Gaudi's Gardens & Buildings, and a Flamenco Night

Trip Start May 18, 2009
Trip End Jul 04, 2009

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Where I stayed
Rent Barcelona Apartment 2

Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Catalonia,
Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First stop was the main train station, Sants Estacio, to try to book tickets for our trip the next day. It turned out to be a wasted trip, since we could only buy the tickets on the day of travel (i.e. the next day).  Anyway, it was a good rehearsal (without lugging suitcases) for the next day.  It was also much more efficient travelling around by Metro; the service is very good, with usually a wait of less than two minutes between trains.

Next we went to Park Guell, which we had heard about on the Bus Turistica.  Count Guell had commissioned Gaudi to design the extensive gardens for what was intended to be a residential garden city.  Only one house had been built and it now housed a Gaudi museum.

We emerged from the Metro and what was supposed to be the nearest stop but couldn't quite work out the route.  We were next to a university library and a kindly staff member explained the way, saying we would find some "mechanical stairs" which would take us a long way up the hill.  Sure enough, we found a series of escalators which eased the trip up the steep hill.  At the top of the hill, we again had great views out over Barcelona.  We followed the path around towards the “Tres Creus”, a monument with three stone crosses at the top of the hill.  On the way, we came across someone playing a hong, a musical instrument looking like a wok with its lid on but making a lovely gong-like sound.

The climb to the top of the Tres Creus monument seemed a bit precarious, as did standing on the narrow top.  However, the panoramic views over Barcelona made it worthwhile.  It was a very clear day (for the first time) which helped the view as well.

We walked on towards a large “amphitheatre” with tiled seats around the edge in colourful mosaics.  Nearby we found a shady bench which was perfect for our picnic lunch.

Further round the hill, we came across the Gaudi Museum and went in for a look.  Most of the furniture is designed by Gaudi and there were also some models he had made in designing the Sagrada Familia.

Leaving the museum we walked around under the “amphitheatre”, finding a large shady space with big columns holding up the structure above but with the outside columns at strange angles.  Just down the hill from here was a series of fountains with the first one having a large mosaic-tiled lizard, which is the most famous part of the park judging by the number of people photographing it.

The fountains marked the park exit and we had an easy stroll downhill for about 1.5km to the Metro station.  Taking this different route, we found plenty of signposts to guide us back.

We took the Metro back into town to visit La Pedrera, one of the landmark Gaudi buildings...

We returned to the apartment for an hour’s rest, and then caught the Metro back into town for the flamenco show.  There are lots of restaurants along La Rambla and we selected one next door to the venue for our show.  We had a very enjoyable two-course dinner including paella, sangria and a beer, managing to finish in time for our 8:15 show.

It had been explained that the seats were allocated on the basis of when you booked (and also, I suspect, giving preference to those who had paid for the dinner and show tickets, which we had thought far too expensive).  Having booked the day before, we were quite pleased with the view from our seats.

To be continued...
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