Barcelona Part One

Lets begin by saying Barcelona is beautiful! I’ve been wanting to come here for a while now, flying in to Barcelona has always been one of my favourite approaches from the flight deck, coming over the Pyrenees mountains and turning left to parallel the coast line, which is even better at night! So I booked this pretty spontaneously in the end and found somewhere to stay, travelling alone for the first time too, so I opted to stay in a hostel as you tend to find more people traveling solo that way and its also a great way to make new friends and meet people from all over the world.

My flights were booked with my own company and I was travelling standby but having checked up on the passenger loads I knew I was going to get a seat. As I walked to the aircraft I noticed that the First Officer was one of my good friends, and its funny because the last time I flew as a passenger he also flew me, maybe its destiny … Ha

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easyjet coming into land at London Gatwick as we get ready to line up for Take off

 

The flight was fairly quick about 1 hour 45 minutes, I did get some awesome photos however descending into Barcelona over the mountains, and some of the city! The crew, as always are so fun and caring, so I got them some Prosecco sweet, they were non alcoholic so don’t worry!  And after a slightly dodgy landing by Raj, I arrived into Barcelona.

 

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Sunset over the Pyrenees mountains as we descend into Barcelona 
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This took me ages to perfect but eventually had a good photo!
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Barcelona city at night on arrival

I had done some research about how to get from Barcelona El Prat Airport to my hostel and it took about 30-45 minutes or so and cost me €4.50, it was helpful that on the hostel website they provide you with fairly detailed information of how to get there. The metro… I was amazed at how spacious and clean they were. It made the TFL tubes look ancient, bar the metropolitan line, more importantly you have reception… UNDERGROUND! Maybe we will see that in London in 2050 or something, once they stop striking!

After taking a wrong turn out of the station (typical me) I eventually arrived to YEAH Hostel Barcelona, to be greeted by the front of house staff, who were friendly and helpful. We engaged in a short conversation about dinner and what was going on tonight, and they provided me with good information and suggestions.

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Hostel Entrance! 

I got my key, which was in the form of a bracelet to help you from stop losing it, which I thought was a pretty clever idea, so I was like I shouldn’t lose it… but of course, I did. So went up to my room which was on the 6th floor, my room consisted of two bunk beds, shower and toilet, fairly simple yet adequate for what you require. I was so glad when I found out I had the bottom bunk. The bed was slightly bigger than your average single bed after and really comfortable, the rest of the room was also very clean, again I was Impressed.

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The drawer you get for your things, which was more than enough space, and clean too!
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Fairly spacious 4 bed Dormitory

I freshened up put all my things away and headed downstairs to look for food. I was starving, they initially offered me to eat in, however I didn’t fancy the menu, however I have heard the food is awesome for the €10 you pay. So I wanted something quick and not too far, so I was recommended Gonzalez which was a burrito place, about 2 minutes from the Hostel. I walked in and I tried ordering what I’d normally order in the U.K. a naked burrito but they looked at me like what is he going on about. I kid you not, I never thought ordering a burrito would be this hard, eventually I got it, and my stomach was satisfied.

Got back to the hostel and enquired about what was going on at night. Going out to a bar just off Passieg de Garcia, I have no idea what it was but I remember the event for the Monday was called ‘F***ing Mondays’ Ha. The night was all right in the end; I wouldn’t personally recommend going to the bar/club but it was okay. I made a few friends that night which was great, the one thing I love about going to hostels and places alone is you meet people from all over the world! Now I have new friends from Chile, New Zealand, Argentina and Italy!

DAY 2

I was hoping to wake up by 9 am so I could go on the early morning walking tour provided by the hostel, yeah no chance. Waking up at 12 I quickly rushed out of bed and into the shower and headed down stairs. I had done my prior research but I asked the girl at reception for good places for brunch and she was kind enough to give me quite a few suggestions including Brunch & Cake. First things first however, I needed a coffee … urgently!

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Walking down Passeig De Garcia 
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Stopping on the way to pose outside one of many things Gaudi designed.  Outfit: Shoes Balenciaga Urban low tops, Shirt:Ralph Lauren Custom fit, Jeans: Bershka, Bag Northface, Sunglasses Rayban Wayferer

 

The staff were excellent and the food just was insane, from the presentation to the service. The menu was also varied and had an abundance of options. The atmosphere was buzzing, however there is usually a queue but I got lucky this time. There are a few restaurants around under the Cup & Cake umbrella also which I would recommend trying out. (http://www.cupcakesbarcelona.com/contact/?lang=en)

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More photo’s to come in Part Two

Next was to visit the remarkable Basilica de La Sagrada Familia, the walk was actually fairly lengthy from where we were so we went via Passeig de gracia as I wanted to see Casa Batllo and some of Gaudi’s other work. Eventually we got to there, I was speechless. I was with my roommate so we walked around for a little then eventually found the ticket desk, luckily there was no queue at all, and something I was wary about, as the queue can sometimes be insane.

It is advisable to book in advance online, as it saves sometime. We decided to get the ticket for €35, it consisted of a visit up one of the towers either old or new, so we elected to go up the new one, you also got an audio tour which was very useful as it helped us understand how and what each thing is made, in essence understanding the complexity of a mind that Gaudi had.

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Basilica de la Sagrada Familia 

Let me start by talking about Antoni Gaudi himself, he was born on 25 June 1852 in Reus (city south of Barcelona, along the coast), he moved to Barcelona when he was 16 years old and at the age of 21 joined the School of Architecture (1873). He is known for his other work around the city the Casa Calvet, the Casa Batlló and the Casa Milà, he took over working the Sagrada Familia project in 1883 from Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano, the Sagrada Familia’s first architect,until his passing 1926 due to a tragic accident, devoting 43 years of his life to this beautiful creation. Gaudí was buried in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia.

The Basilica’s first began being built on 19 March, 1882. It is said that 70% of the temple has been completed, and the approximate finish date is 2026 being exactly 100 years after the passing of Antoni Gaudi.

This is just basic background information about the church and more can also be found online on http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/

 

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Back part of the church

The two photos here show the front and the back of the church and how different they are! There is so much going on in one photo that I do not even remember half of it! Notice the three facades, each one representing one of the three crucial events of Christ’s existence: his birth, Death and Resurrection.  My best advise is when you go spend a few hours here understanding everything the audio tour is excellent and helps explain everything in a systematic order.

I was speechless as I walked into the Basilica, it was magnificent.

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One of the other things I found fascinating were the stain glassed windows, the designs and the colours were incredible, more so when the sunlight is shining through! It would light up the church.

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Just one side of many of these beautiful windows
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Sunlight illuminating the church through the stained windows.

One of the things if found amazing was the fact the floor plan of the Basilica is in the shape of a cross, and each pillar is made as it was a tree branching upwards. reaching towards heaven. It can be seen in more detail in the photo below. When in the Basilica it felt like I was inside Gaudi’s mind.

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Eventually we went upstairs to be embraced by some remarkable views of the beautiful City of Barcelona.

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It was fairly windy and cold up here however so I do advise carrying a jacket, also if you’re not a big fan of stairs do not go up, its a fairly lengthy spiral staircase.

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Its a long way down!

I could go on all day about the Basilica however I’d recommend that you see it and learn about it yourself. It’s such a peaceful place, so make sure you take a moment to sit down, pray and appreciate the beauty and spirituality inside the church.

The next part I will be going through the city so join me as we discover different parts of Barcelona and learn more about the history and things to do! Hope you enjoyed this.

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