Sunday, 10 September 2017

Barcelona - It Was the Second Time That We Met

I had a great summer! For the second time in as many months I travelled abroad, this time to Spain. Many of you will remember that back in June I went by myself to visit my Dad in the UK. This time we went abroad as a family. Now, it's not easy holidaying with teenagers. Truth be told, my 14 year old didn't really want to go on holiday with Mum and Dad. He likes an action-packed holiday and he thinks that Mum and Dad are old (we're not that old actually!) and that Mum enjoys too many museums (I do!). The 16 year old, on the other hand, realises that these all-expenses paid holidays with his parents are coming to an end, and was happy to join us - especially when we suggested a visit to Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona. In the end we all went together. Heck, I can't leave a 14 year old home alone, and his grandparents happen to live in another country. And you know what? We had a terrific time!
We split our holiday into two parts. The first few days we stayed in beautiful Barcelona and the boys in my family (I'm including Mister Handmade in Israel here) knew that I was going to insist on a bit of culture. We visited the incredible Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí's renowned unfinished church which was started in the 1880s. The interior's creative use of colour, space and stone work is jaw-dropping. We walked around the Barri Gotic, the Parc de la Ciutadella, and enjoyed the wonderful Picasso Museum. Park Güell, another of Gaudi's masterpieces, was completely amazing and surprises awaited around every corner.
I got up early one morning to check out the produce at La Boqueria, a fascinating food market just off Las Ramblas. The range of fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, drinks and pastries was incredible to see, and also rather intriguing to this Jewish blogger who sticks to a kosher diet. I picked up some churros for the younger son who was keen to try this traditional Spanish pastry.
This football loving family couldn't visit Barcelona without a visit to Camp Nou, the largest football stadium in Spain and Europe. Unfortunately we weren't the only ones there and, though we had booked tickets ahead, we were somewhat rushed through the stadium along with the rest of the group. The day was saved when we realised that Paulinho Bezerra, one of FC Barcelona's summer signings, was making his debut on the pitch. We waited to watch, and ultimately enjoyed the experience far more than the tour!
Sadly things took a turn for the worse later that day and we were far too close for comfort to the horrible terror attack that took place in Barcelona this summer. Coming from Israel, it was rather ironic to find ourselves so close to trouble in another country, but thank goodness we were all okay (sadly others weren't) and it just meant a long and late night for Mister Handmade in Israel and me before we could get back to our hotel (the kids were already there).
Picking ourselves up, the next morning we set off for Montjuïc to see the Olympic Stadium, then the boys visited the Barcelona Olympic and Sport Museum whilst I went off to spend some quality time with Joan Miró. I enjoyed the comprehensive collection of works from across Miró's career, including some well-known pieces. This was one of my favourite museums in Barcelona.
Then it was time for some more GaudíCasa Batlló on the Passeig de Gràcia may be the most fantastical place I have ever visited. Its exterior is sheathed in colourful pieces of broken ceramics, while the roof is covered in scale-like tiles. The audio guide, which simulates the way the house looked with its original furniture, really brought the house to life.
La Pedrera was a must-do for the rooftop and views alone, but we also visited the attic, an apartment inside the building and the downstairs courtyard. The building, the last private residence designed by architect Gaudí, is spectacular and a wonderful way to truly appreciate the organic nature of his work.
My absolute favourite of all the things we saw in Barcelona was one of the last places we visited. The Palau de la Música Catalana is a concert hall designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. From the outside alone it is an impressive building, but inside it is rather like a multi-coloured glass jewellery box. The concert hall, which contains 2,146 seats, is the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light. The hall has an ornate central glass light on the ceiling depicting the sun bursting out of a blue sky, 18 half-mosaic, half-relief muses appear out of the back of the stage, and winged horses fly over the upper balcony. Decoration truly erupts everywhere. The building is a feast for the eyes and my only regret is that we had no time to see a performance in this unique and elegant concert hall. I will just have to go back someday.
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16 comments:

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

a beautiful city!

restlessjo said...

It is the most wonderful city, Lisa. Thank you for letting me revisit it with you. What a summer it's been! If it's not been terrorist attacks it's been ferocious and life threatening weather. I'm so glad that you were safe. It's a strange world we inhabit, isn't it?

Miss Val's Creations said...

Wonderful collection of photos! Seeing the Gaudí architecture is on my bucket list. I would imagine even your 14 year old enjoyed it. So unique! I was supposed to go with a friend when we were in our 20s but the day we were to leave was the bombing in Madrid so we re-routed our trip. The terrorists attacks just seem to be getting even worse in recent years. :( I am glad you and your family were safe. Someday Jim and I will get to Barcelona. His dad's side is originally from there before crossing the Atlantic to Cuba then the U.S. so he wants to visit as much as I do.

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

I am glad all the members of your family had a great time in Barcelona. It is a city with tons to see and I think it appeals to people of all ages. My husband do not like museums (or indoor activities) neither but he liked the Palau de la Musica Catalana and La Pedrera. #WeekendWanderlust

Mapping The Map said...

Seems that you and your family had a great time in our city! Glad that you all were OK after the terrorist attack. Barcelona really has lots of things to offer to visitors, as well as the rest of Catalonia. Thanks for sharing in #TheWeeklyPostcard

bettyl-NZ said...

What fascinating scenery and architecture! I think the teens will appreciate the trim in a few years. But, until then, they have parents to help them see and do the things they need :)

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

So happy you were able to go to Barcelona. Such a fantastic city. I like it much more than Madrid. The food in Barcelona is also better! Have a great week!

Rhonda Albom said...

Barcelona is such a fun city. I know how it is traveling with teens. in 2012, one of ours was less than interested and the other was enjoying every minute. Their views on travel with parents haven't changed but our enthusiastic daughter is even more eager to travel with us (on our bill). I am happy that you were able to avoid the terrorist attack on Las Ramblas.

Raquel Jiménez Lastras said...

Cuanto me alegra que disfrutases tanto del viaje a mi pais, y que pudieses disfrutar de Barcelona, una gran ciudad.Todos estamos muy tristes por el horrible atentado que sufrió la ciudad, me alegra que en ese momento estuvieses lejos de Las Ramblas. Espero que quieras volver y visitar más ciudades españolas como la que protagoniza mi fotografía de esta semana Santiago de Compostela.
Saludos Raquel

Jim Vail said...

I love Barcelona and have been a few times, but I haven't been to the Palau de la Música Catalana. I would love to return and see a performance there. Thanks for linking up this week at #wkendtravelinspiration!

NC Sue said...

Stunning photos - WOW! I'm so glad you stopped by to share at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/09/pop.html

Tamar SB said...

Wow!! I so want to see Barcelona one day!!

Jan Robinson said...

What an amazing holiday. It is ironic that the Barcelona tragedy happened whilst you were there. Thankfully you were unhurt. I agree that the inside of Gaudi's Sagrada Familia is awe inspiring. We didn't get to see the inside of your favourite building, although we went on a cycle tour that stopped outside it and talked about it. Your photos of it show just how amazing it is. Thanks for linking up with Travel Photo Thursday.

Jibber JabberUK said...

I went to Barcelona for the day when we stopped off on a cruise trip many years ago. We did the tour of Camp Nou and my husband made sure he picked up the copy of the European Cup they had I photographed him! It's so sad and scary that all these beautiful places I have visited are suffering so much due to terrorist attacks.

Agness of eTramping said...

The Gaudí architecture is remarkable and definitely worth seeing. How many days are enough for exploring Barcelona and seeing all the highlights?

Ann said...

Goodness, I was so glad you read you were not hurt in the terrorist attack, Lisa. That must have been terrifying. It never fails to amaze me how old much of Europe is, yet the ancient buildings remain standing and are actually used instead of cordoned off with velvet rope like many of the 200 year old ones here in the U.S.!

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