Monday, May 4, 2020

Cycling Europe 2019 Days 18-19: Always Barcelona!

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As I sit at home to write this blog on a ride we did four/five months ago, the world is facing a dangerous pandemic, the Covid-19. To help slow down the spread of this pandemic & have it eradicated, I am STAYING HOME and not going out unless really necessary.
Stay Safe, my friends.


Cycling Europe 2019 Days 18-19: Always Barcelona!
(Photo Credit: Anne Cheong)
Portugal, Spain & France: Days 18 & 19 Wednesday & Thursday, 13th & 14th November - Granada to and around Barcelona
This is part of a cycling tour of Iberian Peninsula (Portugal & Spain), covering the leg from Granada to Barcelona, and walking tours in Barcelona:
Day 18 - Granada to Barcelona:
Cycling Distance: N.A.     Level: N.A.
Time : 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Time Taken : 7 hrs. (including van ride, plane flight, Metro ride, cycling to home-stay, and lots of photo opps.)

Cycling Distance: N.A.     Level: N.A.
Time : 10:40 am to 5:20 pm
Time Taken : 6 hrs. 40 minutes (including Metro rides, free walking tour, and a long visit to the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, lunch and lots of photo opps.)

This is page 16 of a 19-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D17 Alhambra        |        Go To Other Days      |     Go to D20 Barcelona 2 >

Route Recommendations :
1. Traffic Directions!
     On the Continental Europe, vehicles are left-hand drive, so cycle on the right. And do remember the traffic directions at road crossing. Also note that often cycling lanes run next to pedestrian lanes at town and city areas, at crossings there are separate lanes for pedestrians and bicycles, so stick to the correct lane.

2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
    On Day 18, we took a taxi-van up to Federico García Lorca Granada Airport and took the 12:30pm Vueling Airlines flight to Barcelona. The flight took 1-1/2 hours and on arriving at Barcelona El Prat Airport we unfolded our bikes and took the Barcelona Metro down to town. Full sized bikes are allowed onto the Metro, so we did not have to fold or bag our bikes to take them into the train. In the evening we took a walk from the L' Eixample locality to the Sant Gervasi-Galvany locality.
    The following day was a non-cycling day and we joined the Guru Free Walking Tour of Barcelona.

3. Weather
    On 13th November, morning temperature iGranada morning averaged 7°C. Afternoon & evening temperatures in Barcelona averaged 
    On 14th November day morning and afternoon temperatures averaged 11°C & 15°respectively; while evening temperature averaged 12°C.
    It is always prudent to check the weather for the next day so as to know what to expect and be prepared for it. Useful weather forecast sites are BBC WeatherAccuWeather; and for more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.

4. Bringing Bikes Onto European Trains, Buses & Trams
   In Spain, full size bikes and folding bikes (there is no necessity to fold them) can be taken into inter-city trains, metros and trams for free and without bagging. Do note that bikes may not be allowed during peak hours.
    For regulations regarding bringing bicycles onto different Spanish trains, click here. For regulations regarding Barcelona, Click here and click here.
    For regular travel on the Barcelona Metro (which also include buses and even some funicular trains) one can opt for the Hola Barcelona 3-day Travel Card at €23.70 per pax which allows for unlimited trips during 3-day period from first activation. This card can be bought online with a 10% discount.
    OR opt for the T-Casual ticket at 
€11.35 per card. This is also know as the T-10 card and it allows for 10 trips per card, the best thing is that it can be shared by several users. Friends can share a card but bear in mind it's a total of 10 trips per card (meaning if 10 friends share, they can travel for only one journey. Limitations of this card is that it does not include for travel to the airports, and there is a limitation of each travel journey being limited to 75 minutes. The single trip fare to or from the airport to the city is €4.40.
    For tourists who often travel in a group, the T-10 card is recommended as it can be shared; buying two T-10 card to share among six is much cheaper than six 3-day Travel Card.
    Full-sized and folding bikes are allowed onto the Metro trains; folding bikes need not be folded in the trains
    E-hailing Uber is available in Portugal but not in Spain, where taxis are aplenty.

5. Bringing Bikes Onto Planes
    From Granada we flew to Barcelona via Vueling Airlines at a fare of €60 per pax; just to be on the safe side we purchased bicycle luggage at €50 each which allows 35kg per bike. However, this fare could be for full-sized bikes, it could be possible to buy normal luggage for folding bikes but we decided not to risk it. Our bikes were folded and bagged before checking in. Vueling allows 10kg of cabin luggage but there is no free check-in luggage, click here for Vueling Baggage Policy and here for Vueling Airlines Bicycles Policy.
    A tip, simple but important. Ensure that you DO NOT carry your tool kits or any long/sharp metal objects in your hand luggage. Put your tool kit into your checked-in bike bags. I often seen friends forgetting about this, only to have their tools confiscated at the security checkpoints.

6. Places of Interest
    At Barcelona were several places of interests, some of which we visited and others we did not for lack of time:

A. Places of Interest on 13th November Self-walk:
  1. Casa de les Punxes (GPS: 41.39800, 2.16399).
  2. La Casa Comalat (GPS: 41.3971, 2.16074).
  3. Palau Baró de Quadras (GPS: 41.39675, 2.16136) by Antoni Gaudí.
  4. Obelisco Diagonal (GPS: 41.39653, 2.15952).
  5. Iglesia Nostra Senyora de Pompeia (Church of Our Lady of Pompeii(GPS: 41.3965, 2.15824).
  6. Hotel Casa Fuster (GPS: 41.39797, 2.15803).
  7. Plaça de Gal·la Placídia (GPS: 41.39902, 2.15299).
B. Places of Interest on 14th November mostly along Guru Free Walking Tour of Barcelona:
  1. Monument at Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer (GPS: 41.39914, 2.16994), named after the 19th century Catalan-language epic poet of the Jacint Verdaguer.
  2. Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona (Arc de Triomf)(GPS: 41.39105, 2.18064).
  3. Cases Antoni Rocamora Building (GPS: 41.38889, 2.16946).
  4. Iberostar Selection Paseo de Gràcia Hotel (GPS:).
  5. Plaza de Cataluña (Plaça de Catalunya, Catalonia Square)(GPS: 41.38701, 2.17004).
  6. Plaça Vila de Madrid (GPS: 41.38448, 2.17216).
  7. Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia, Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia(GPS: 41.38396, 2.17619).
  8. BARCINO, Old name of Barcelona (refers more to Barcelona Old Quarters / Gothic Quarter) (GPS: 41.38241, 2.17611).
  9. La casa de l'Ardiaca (GPS: 41.38409, 2.17574).
  10. Plaça de Garriga i Bachs (Monument to the 1809 Heroes) (GPS: 41.38363, 2.17584).
  11. Plaça de Sant Felip Neri (GPS: 41.3834, 2.17505).
  12. Església de Sant Felip Neri (GPS: 41.38345, 2.17488).
  13. Temple D'August, old Roman Temple ruins (GPS: 41.38339, 2.17731). Highest point of the Barcelona Old Quarters.
  14. Plaça del Rei ("King's Square") (GPS: 41.38409, 2.17741).
  15. Plaça Sant Jaume ("Saint James's Square") (GPS: 41.38269, 2.17702).
  16. Salterio, antiquarian shop (GPS: 41.38253, 2.17604).
  17. Museu d'Història de Barcelona (Barcelona History Museum) (GPS: 41.38386, 2.17780).
  18. Basílica de la Sagrada Família (Basilica of the Sacred Family) (GPS: 41.40362, 2.17435) by Antoni Gaudí.

7. Meals
13th November:
a. Breakfast: Self made at apartment.
b. Lunch: Delta Cafe in Federico García Lorca Granada Airport (GPS: ).
c. Dinner: at Els Pinxus (GPS: 41.39750, 2.14850) in Barcelona - 
    1. Assortment of Pinxu (Barcelona tapas), 2. Egg plant Cannoli (stuffed with beef and light truffle sauce), 3. Steamed Mussels  in olive oil, garlic and lemon, 4. Squid legs, 5. Sangria (only 1€ per glass) 6. Chocolate with green tea cream.
14th November (Barcelona):
a. Breakfast: Cafeteria Los 4 Vientos (GPS: 41.39819, 2.16873) -
    Croissants & ham sandwich with coffee.
b. Morning Tea: Take away Argentinian Empanadas puffs from la Fabrica (GPS: 41.38253, 2.1764)
c. Lunch: Buenas Migas Santa Clara (GPS: 41.38381, 2.17729) at €7-95 per pax -
    1. Orecchiette Al Tonno, 2. Amanda Chick Pea Indian Curry, 3. Pastis Porros Gorgon, 4. Pastis Garibaldi, 5. Mahrana suc Taronja, 6. Compote pommes-prunes, 7. C. Vaso Tibidabo Pils, 8. Vas Tinto Protocolo.
d. Dinner: a social event at Primavera Hostel (GPS: 41.39819, 2.16873) prepared by hotel crew for the patrons.

8. Accommodations
    Four nights aPrimavera Hostel (GPS: 37.17224, -3.59256) located in the L' Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona which we had pre-booked through Booking.com; different types of rooms: two-bedder & three bedder room (at about €25 per pax per night); beds in 4-bedder & 8-bedder dorms (at about €14 per pax per night). Do pre-book earlier as this hostel is a favorite.
    Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 330, 08037 Barcelona, Spain.
    Phone: +34-931752151
    Email: primaverahostel@gmail.com
    Website: primavera-hostel.com.
    
9. Communicating with Each Other
    When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost.
    We bought pre-paid SIM cards from UK mobile provider Three on-line through Lazada. As some of us stayed for a shorter period, we got two plans with cost ranging from RM30 to RM70 for a 20 days 4G and a 30 days 10G plans respectively. These plans include their "Feel At Home" package which allow the phone's data, call and messaging allowance to be used in sixty countries (mostly European and also Singapore) without any extra charges!

10. Communicating with Locals
    In Spain, except in rural areas, many young locals can speak some basic English and communicating with them shouldn't be a problem. This is especially the case in hotels & restaurants.
     When communicating with locals is a problem, this could be partly overcome by using translation apps like Google Translate. Do install this app into your phone and before you leave on your tour, do some basic translation as it will be saved onto a list of recent translations.
    Look out for the tourist information booths at airports, railway stations or bus stations, the guides manning the booths speak very good English and do give good tips on where to visit, directions, train and bus schedule.

11. Navigation
     Unless he or she is very familiar with the locals routes, the tour leader should carry a GPS units. It will also be good if another member of the team carry another GPS unit should the leader's one go faulty.
    Kevin was using a Beeline navigation unit that synchronized with pre-planned routes on his phone app. Sin & me were using the Garmin GPS units and had pre-plotted our daily routes into respective GPX maps usable in these units. We had pre-loaded the PortugalSpain & France Maps together with GPS coordinates of our destinations. Do ZOOM out to look for turning points further ahead; and ZOOM in at complicated junctions, otherwise one may make a wrong turn (it did happen to us sometimes).
    Alternatively, download the MAPS.ME app together with the relevant country maps. This app can be used offline.
    At the towns and cities, we used Google Maps to navigate to various places of interests that were not shown on our GPS units. In Spain, Google Maps does work in Cycling Mode.

12. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads and the relevant tools.
_________________________________________________________________________

PRELUDE

Yesterday we had we had spent almost the whole day visiting the jewel of Granada, the Alhambra! Today we say goodbye to this UNESCO World Heritage City and fly off to spend a few days at Barcelona and hope to have a great time at this vibrant and colorful city.
But why "Always Barcelona", well it's the Barcelona's 2019 City Logo.
 _________________________________________________________________________________

DAY 18: FROM GRANADA TO BARCELONA


Route:Campo de Principe>by Granada Taxi Van>Federico García Lorca Granada Airport>by Vueling Airlines>Barcelona El Prat Airport>by Barcelona Metro>Barcelona>L' Eixample>Sant Gervasi-Galvany>L' Eixample.
Cycling Distance: N.A.     Level: N.A.
This is a non-cycling map as we flew from Granada to Barcelona., later in the evening we took a walk over form the L' Eixample to Sant Gervasi-Galvany for dinner.
(Zoom in to see routes and POIs in Granada and Barcelona)


Today was one with a tinge of sadness, we will be saying goodbye to Sin, Jo & Fenn as we will be parting ways. They will be taking a train to Valencia, while the rest of us will be flying to Barcelona.
After a breakfast of churros with coffee (churros are a type of fried-dough pastry, the Spanish equivalent of a Chinese breakfast favourite - Yau Char Kwai/Youtiao , and both goes very well dipped into black coffee), the five of us hopped onto two hired vans with our bagged Bromptons and headed for Federico García Lorca Granada Airport.


 12:30pm - From Granada we flew to Barcelona via Vueling Airlines at a fare of €60 per pax; just to be on the safe side we purchased bicycle luggage at €50 each which allows 35kg per bike. However, this fare could be for full-sized bikes, it could be possible to buy normal luggage for folding bikes but we decided not to risk it. We had booked the flight tickets online a couple of months earlier. Our bikes were folded and bagged and were checked in as over-sized baggage. Vueling allows 10kg of cabin luggage but there is no free check-in luggage,
After a 1-1/2 hours flight we landed at Barcelona El Prat Airportt and were happy to see our bikes safely rolling our at the carousels.


And it's:
   Benvingut a Barcelona!   

(That's Catalan for "Welcome to Barcelona")
Barcelona lies within the Catalonia region, and the locals are fiercely loyal Catalans, who speak the local Catalan language on a daily basis. So knowing some basic Catalan will warm one up with the locals.


At the airport information, we inquired about the different type of Barcelona Metro passes and were advised to get individual unlimited travel Hola Barcelona 3-day Travel Card at €23.70 per pax, which we bought from the counter. Helpful as the information lady was, this was not the best option; perhaps if we had spoken to her in Catalan instead of Spanish, she would have understood us better and given us better choices. Later we were to meet some other tourist and learnt that we could have saved a lot of money by just getting a couple of T-10 cards at €11.35 each to share among six instead of getting six 3-day Travel Cards. The T-10 card allows for 10 trips per card, the best thing is that it can be shared among several users travelling in a group.
One other good thing is that full-sized bikes can be pushed into the Metro trains; so we happily pushed our unfolded bikes in!


We were not the only happy cyclists to push our bikes into the Metro; this Uber Eats delivery guy must be even happier, using the train to ease his delivery!


4:45pm - After a short train ride and an even shorter bike ride we arrived checked into Primavera Hostel; housed in a early twentieth century building, it's a lovely place exuding a unique welcoming warmth; it's very affordable but more importantly had very helpful and friendly staff.
We also double checked and found that Sin's package (of bike bags that he had forwarded from Porto on Day 2 of our tour) had arrived, the courier companies here are very reliable. We had also written earlier to Primavera to expect this package. They were happy to receive it and store it without any extra charges!


After quick baths and a short rest, within half an hour we were out again!.There's no time to waste as Barcelona is one big interesting city! Also Mel & Kevin who had been to Barcelona before were eager to take us to an eatery that they had liked very much.
As the eats place was at the Sant Gervasi-Galvany neighborhood just 2 km. away, we decided to take a walk there, hoping that we would get to see some sights along the way.
We were not disappointed, one of the first buildings we saw was the Casa de les Punxes with it's conical turret roofs does look like build Cinderella Castle. But actually the Walt Disney got the idea for Cinderella Castle from Church of Our Lady Before Tyn which we saw in Prague during a 2015 European tour.


Ahead we got our first exposure to the  saw was the La Casa Comalat; this building design by Salvador Valeri i Pupurull, with impressive balconies and "weird" looking concrete framing patterns. His Modernisme style with strong and odd-looking architecture features was had much influence of Antoni GaudíThere is an urban myth that the eponym of the word gaudy is from this 19th century art nouveau architect Antoni Gaudí. The adjective gaudy, however, was in use long before Gaudí was born, sometime before 1434. The word actually comes from Old French gaudir "to rejoice, make merry, to jest, scoff at".


The house wasn't the only one with a gaudy theme, the shop below one of the balconies has tongue-in-cheek skeleton in a Yoga pose; these Spanish do have a sense of humor.
One thing we did notice is that there are many using the Brompton to commute in the city; which made me think that after LondonBarcelona probably has the next highest number of Brompton users.


We will be going to savor some pinchos which are a kind of tapas but are called pinchos because many of them have a pincho (Spanish for spike), typically a toothpick - or a skewer for the larger varieties - through them. Pinchos are usually a small snack, typically eaten in bars, traditionally in northern Spain and especially popular in La RiojaCantabriaAsturias, the Basque country and Navarra.
Mel's recommendation, Els Pinxus was excellent; they serve pinchos but have made them into an art-form; beautifully crafted and appealing to both the eyes and the palate. The above clock-wise from top left are: Salmo fumat (Smoked salmon), Formatge blau - Blue cheese (don't look like much, but it's our favorite!), Ou de guatlla i Xistorra, i.e. sunny-side up Quail eggs and Chistorra sausage, and Txangurro (Basque for Crab) patties with the renown Spanish Padrón green chili pepper.

More pinchos to titillate your palate: Bottom photo of the above, from left; ham, bacon, Chistorra, minced meat and Fuet; the top photo includes a pincho of a lovely shrimp hugging a combo of something (Sorry, I can't recall the names of the the rest, but they were all very delicious 😄).

A close up look of the shrimp pinchos, with some caviar rolling down. Yes, this is definitely a work of art..... too bad it will be going down my mouth soon.
Other than the pinchos, we had several other good dishes such as egg plant Cannoli (stuffed with beef and with light truffle sauce), squid legs, and succulent mussels steamed with olive oil, garlic and lemon.

We loved the place so much that I left one of my "AhPek Biker was here!" stickers there as a testament/recommendation of their excellent cuisine.

More interesting sights on our walk back: on left, tomatoes that can't decide wheter they are tomatoes or pumpkins. On right are scratchers for scratching that cycling itch!

And Anne having fun with Spanish scooters .....

..... and the cage-like old elevator at Primavera Hostel.

Bona nit!
(That's "Good Night" in Catalan)
 _________________________________________________________________________________

DAY 19: FREE WALKING TOUR AROUND BARCELONA


Route:
This is a non-cycling map and includes places of interest covered by the Guru Free Walking Tour of Barcelona.


We started this day on a cheery note when we boarded the Metro & met this man with his cute hat that's lined with small statues of cats on its brim. He must really be a cat lover!
His happiness was infectious and overflowed onto us.


Our Metro journey took us past some sights like the Monument at Plaça de Mossèn Jacint Verdaguer and the Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona (Arc de Triomf) (top left photo) along the way, and ended with us taking a short walk to the Plaza de Cataluña (Plaça de Catalunya, Catalonia Square) (top right photo) from where we will start our free walking tour. Within the plaza where many statues one of which was a nude woman holding up a galleon (bottom right), and nearby the plaza were several nice building one of which was the Cases Antoni Rocamora Building, a building with beautiful yellow domes on it's roof (photo on bottom left).


The plaza had many flower beds full of colourful flowers. This one had the Iberostar Selection Paseo de Gràcia Hotel looming over it and doves playfully nibbling into the grass lawn....


..... and even more doves right at the center, seems thousands of them in fact.
But this birds were used to human presence and just calmly cooed around.....
..... until we waved our hands to shoo them into a flying frenzy 😁.
Naughty... naughty... heh heh.


12:00pm - Soon we met our guide Senor Sham from Guru Free Walking Tour and he soon took us on a route that started with a walk along back-lanes leading to the Gothic Quarter. Hah! We will be walking in the rain again, Mr. Rain seems to like us and followed us on our walks, just like when he did during our Porto Walking Tour. But we are not going to let that deter us or spoil our fun, after all the streets here are lined with so many nice buildings!

Our very first stop was  the Plaça Vila de Madrid, down below at the sunken portion of this plaza were these restored Roman tombs. During the excavation for development of this plaza in the 1950s (on the site of the former convent of Santa Teresa de les Carmelites of Barcelona), they uncovered this important burial site dating from the Roman city of Barcino. Quiet a find actually.

And high above were Yellow ribbon Catalonia. and the Senyera estelada flags hanging from the balconies. The Senyera estelada is the flag typically flown by Catalan independence supporters to express their support for either an independent Catalonia or independent Països Catalans (Catalan Lands, i.e. the territories where Catalan is traditionally spoken). The design of the Estelada comprises the red-and-yellow bars of the Senyera, with the addition of a five-pointed star in a triangle at the hoist. The Serenya itself is based on Aragon coat of arms.

Round the corner was this shop selling these tempting pinchos. Having had good ones the previous evening at Els Pinxus, we wanted to get some but the walking tour was on a roll and we didn't have time to buy any as there was a long queue ahead of us; must be a favorite place for locals for it to sell pinchos at this time of the morning.


Next door was a boutique with "Salvador Dalí" modelling several shirts. Dali was of of Spain's favorite sons and originated from this Catalonia regionHis best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, is one of the most famous Surrealist paintings and he was one of the world's renown Surrealist artists. I wonder whether he would object to his masks being used in this manner; but come to think of it, with his Surrealist style, he'll probably think the masks as part of an overall artistic experience and history. Pardon me if I think wrongly, "mestre".


12:30pm: A longer stop at the Barcelona Cathedral, where Sham gave a quick elaborate talk on the cathedral. But like in any free tour, time is short and we did not go in. Like in any crowded touristy place, we kept an careful eye on each other from being pick-pocketed.
This Gothic cathedral was constructed from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, with the principal work done in the fourteenth century. The roof is notable for its gargoyles, featuring a wide range of animals, both domestic and mythical, will show these in later photos.


The cathedral is officially known as the Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia, (Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia) as it is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona, a young virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, suffered martyrdom during Roman times in the city. One story says that she was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snowfall in mid-spring covered her nudity. The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled it down a street (according to tradition, the one now called Baixada de Santa Eulàlia). The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral's crypt.


Next was the La casa de l'ArdiacaGothic-Renaissance residence of the Archdeacon (Casa del Arcediano) from the Twelfth Century. In the courtyard is a palm tree which was planted in the late Nineteenth Century and next to it is a fountain, where at the Feast of Corpus Christi (60 days after Easter Sunday) the traditional "l'ou com balla" (dancing egg) is celebrated, then the fountain is decorated with flowers and fruits and an egg is laid under water jet; the egg will not fall, but turns and turns and dances with the water.



Further down the street at Plaça de Garriga i Bachs, was the Monument to the 1809 Heroes, a monument dedicated to the five heroes of the 1809 uprising. Tiling panels on the wall, based on an engraving by Bonaventura Planella, portrays the entrance of the Napoleonic troops to the city and of the people who had been condemned to the garroted, shortly before their execution at the Citadel. They were accused of attempting to free Barcelona from the French forces of occupation who had made the city their stronghold during the War of the Spanish Succession.

From a sober place we moved onto a light-hearted place, Plaça de Sant Felip Neri just behind the Església de Sant Felip Neri. This is a small square in the Gothic Quarter, in the center of the square is an octagonal fountain, dedicated as a symbol of life. Small this square maybe, but it has been uses in the filming of several movies including "Vicky Christina Barcelona" starring Scarlett Johansson, and "Perfume".

All the walking made us hungry and at a longer stop at the Jewish Quarter we hopped into la Fabrica and got some delicious Argentinian Empanadas.
A few doors away was the Fat Tire Tours, being an avid cyclists I couldn't help it but to drop by to say hello. There are several good bike tour companies, click here for the Top 7 Bike Tours of Barcelona. Or better still, like us, bring your own bike along!

At Plaça Sant Jaume ("Saint James's Square") we meet our favorite saint again; no it's not St. James, but rather St. George. From young after reading stories of St. George and the Dragon, I had always thought this saint was of British origin since he's the patron saint of England. But I stand to be corrected, he was a soldier of Cappadocian Greek origins, member of the Praetorian Guard for Roman emperor Diocletian, who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faith. He's also the patron saint of Aragon and there's a Legend of St. George in Barcelona.
In this square could be seen statues and wall panels.... er ..... patronizing him.



We turned round the corner to Plaça del Rei, and at one corner entered the Temple D'August, inside were tall columns, remnants of an old Roman Temple ruins. Highest point of the Barcelona Old Quarters. A plaque on on wall indicated that we are on Mount Taber with a height of 16.9 metres being the highest point of within Barcelona then.

We walked on and at a dark narrow side-lane espied the Barcelona Cathedral. We have looped back and will end the Guru Free Walking Tour here and will continue exploring ourselves.

We are at the rear of the cathedral, and from here see a different perspective of the building.


From here too, we get a better glimpse of the roof and it's unique animals. On the right are the usual gargoyles ornaments. On the right is a wild boar and a horse, somewhere higher up (see the photo before this) is a cow and a unicorn.

2:30pm - time for a late lunch for us but a normal time for the Spaniards. Found the this cozy place called Buenas Migas Santa Clara, with a good offer of  €7-95 per pax for two mains, desserts and drinks. Food was ordered from those on display at the counter so it was easy, you get what you see; and these were what we got, clock-wise from bottom left:
    1.Amanda Chick Pea Indian Curry, 2. Orecchiette Al Tonno, 3. Pastis Porros Gorgon, 4. Pastis Garibaldi, 5. Mahrana suc Taronja, 6. Compote pommes-prunes, 7. C. Vaso Tibidabo Pils beer, 8. Vas Tinto Protocolo wine.
That's what we liked about Portugal & Spain, such lovely food at affordable prices.

From here we took a short Metro ride to visit the Basílica de la Sagrada Família. Exiting the station, we just saw new commercial buildings! Stumped, we asked ourselves, "Hey! Where's that icon of Barcelona?"
We turned around and Hah! It's behind us! Perhaps the rail authorities purposely orientated the station exit that way, to play a trick on tourists.

The Sagrada Família is a large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica designed by Spanish/Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, his work on the building is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On 19 March 1882, construction of the Sagrada Família began under architect Francisco de Paula del Villar. In 1883, when Villar resigned, Gaudí took over as chief architect, transforming the project with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted the remainder of his life to the project, and he is buried in the cathedral's crypt. At the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. On 7 November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the church and proclaimed it a minor basilica.
Even up till today, the sf is still "unfinished", construction is still in progress with the booms of the tower cranes adding their gaudiness to the building.


And here's a video of bells chiming at the cathedral.


And close-up views of elements of the church. These elements looks newer and more clean cut.


(Photo Credit: Anne Cheong)
Julia from Sao Paulo, and who was with the free walking tour, followed us here and did a beautiful ballet pose in front of the building.
Somehow, the original front towers by Gaudí look more rugged and natural, and her contrasting colors made her stand out.


While Julia was executing her swan-like poses; I was lying down on the floor most inelegantly. No, I wasn't posing, I had to get low down so as to be able to get a tall photo of Julia with the whole of la Sagrada Família in.
Other tourists seeing that I was already down there, asked me to take photos of them of them too. I laid down there for a good five minutes taking photos, all part of the AhPek service!


We hung around for a while, and as the sun set, its rays painted the buildings in a majestic golden hue!

Va ser un dia meravellós!
(That's Catalan for "It was a wonderful day!")

(For more photos of the Day 18, Click Here)
(For more photos of the Day 19, Click Here)

This is page 16 of a 19-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D17 Alhambra        |        Go To Other Days      |     Go to D20 Barcelona 2 >
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