Category Archives: Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

Gaudi’s Barcelona

Gaudi’s Barcelona.

I wonder how Barcelona would like if Gaudi never existed?

Like Sharm el Sheikh, Barcelona gave me the feeling that it is built solely for tourism. Though this is not true, and the city holds a lot of history in it, but the atmosphere, the buildings, and Gaudi overwhelm the old spirit of the city.

I can easily state that at least 50% of the must see and visit places in Barcelona are Gaudi’s work! I cannot say his work isn’t good; in fact, he’s a great architect, and he’s done a lot, but you can only listen to the name that much.

Especially when you’re on the hop-on hop-off bus and there is a stop to show a building that was made by him, just a normal apartment building! I’m looking at you, Casa Milà and Casa Batlló. Yes it is beautiful, but so are many other buildings in Barcelona, in Madrid, and everywhere else for that matter…

Another fact I didn’t like about Barcelona was the Via Laietana, again I have to state that it serves the city’s traffic system really well, but what about the buildings that were there? Some of them were moved, but some were not. Even if they were not important or significant buildings, they are SO old that you can’t just ignore that and demolish them to build a road!

One last thing I have against Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia Catedral. Yes, it is overwhelming, yes from the inside it is beautiful, and yes, in some years it will be a landmark that everyone must see, but for now, why the overpriced tickets? Seriously the ticket was just too much, and the lines are LONG! And after you pay for the overpriced ticket, you don’t get to see it all, because there is yet another ticket to use the elevator…

 Sagrada Familia

To be honest, and this is only my humble opinion, I didn’t enjoy Barcelona that much, or I was expecting more, because I have loved everywhere else I’ve been to in Spain, be it the small villages or the big cities along the Camino de Santiago, and Madrid got me from day one!

I can however excuse myself for that opinion; Madrid was my introduction to traveling abroad, it was the first place I visit as an adult. And the Camino de Santiago, well, it is something I have written A LOT about, and it is so special, even with cow shit filling most the Camino.

Maybe it was hard to fall in love with Barcelona because I had just returned from the Camino with all its serenity and uncrowded villages, so it was a huge culture/tourism shock? Maybe…

I never hated a place, and I don’t hate Barcelona, it still had very special and breathtaking places, but I am not sure if I would visit again, at least soon…

 

Have you visited Barcelona? Did you like it or do you at least slightly agree with me?

Tibidabo - highest point of church

Tibidabo – Barcelona from a different view

Tibidabo is a small mountain in Barcelona, overlooking the whole city and with beautiful views of the Mediterranean. Want to escape all the crowds and noise in Barcelona? This is definitely the place to go! While there are busses that go up to the top of the mountain, whereTemple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor is proudly sitting, there was a more touristy way of going up there which I used. Which was the old tram (actually this one wasn’t working, I’m always lucky – so I took a bus that covered the first leg of the mountain instead) followed by a funicular’s steep ride.

Alternatively though, there are hiking trails which I’m sure will have many rewarding mountainous views and clear views of the big city of Barcelona as well.

*Check how to get to Tibidabo here

Tibidabo - Amusement Park

So whether you decide to climb the mountain on foot, by bus or using the touristy way, in all cases you get up there to see the small amusement park, and the Sacred Heart church.

This church was beautiful on so many levels. And by on so many levels I mean from so many levels. You buy a ticket to use the elevator, and get inside to take the elevator tour. Where you stop a couple of times in the middle at middle floors to see churches, and then get out seeing the view. Followed by a staircase through the centre of the church to the very top of it.

Tibidabo - Church front view - where you get to stand
Places where you can stand on the church

And unless you’re with someone who gets dizzy from heights, you’ll enjoy a couple of minutes in the small terrace at the very top. Notice the word small, because that is what made my sister almost crying when seeing that the terrace could hardly pass two people and someone wanted to walk from behind her :) we had to go inside again and she refused to give it another try :)

 

Tibidabo - highest point of church
View from the highest point, and the only picture I took before I had to descend again with my almost crying -elder- sister :D

Here are some other picture I took from the church, hope you enjoy them :)

Tibidabo - Church full view

Tibidabo - second floor view up
Looking upwards from the second floor
Tibidabo - 4th floor view down
Looking from highest point at the same building in last picture

Tibidabo - Apostle overlooking the city

Tibidabo - Apostle overlooking the city 2

Did you ever visit Tibidabo, Barcelona? How did you go there? I’m sure if I was alone (without my mother who can barely walk through the city) I would’ve hiked up that beautiful mountain. Did/would you?

Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor | Barcelona

Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor - Tibidabo - Barcelona

Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor Tibidabo – Barcelona is the Catalan name forExpiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” which is the name of the temple church above “Tibidabo”, the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola, and overlooking all Barcelona.

Construction of the church took around 60 years, from 1902 to 1961, before that there was only a small hermitage above the mountain, which was integrated into the temple.

Photo was taken in October 2011.

Read more about the temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus here.

Santa Maria del Mar

Cathedral of the Sea – A visit to the Book

While I was in Barcelona last summer, I was determined to visit  Santa Maria del Mar (Saint Maria of the sea). Many people visit Barcelona and don’t go there, it is not that big of a cathedral and to be honest, if you don’t know its history, it is not that impressive, and there are many cathedrals in Barcelona that are way more impressive architecture and size wise.

 But I was very determined to visit this specific cathedral. The reason behind this was a book I have read a couple of years earlier. When I was in Madrid, back in 2008, completely by chance, I bought a book called Cathedral of the sea, by a spanish writer called “Ildefonso Falcones”. A huge book, around 800 pages, with a historical theme. And it was very sad. I love sad books so this one easily made it to my favorites (and Ildefonso Falcones easily became one my favorite novel writers that I looked for more books for him in Barcelona, found one called “The hand of Fatima”, another master piece).

So anyway, the Cathedral of the Sea is a book that has the construction of Santa Maria del Mar as the background of the story. And I really liked the way the church was built. The church was built in the Ribera district of Barcelona between 1329 and 1383. And during that time all the guilds of the Ribera district were happily involved in the construction process, transporting stones from the ships to the construction site, cutting them down and building. Those very simple people were building this church for the only person they still had trust in, the Virgin. While the inquisition and the Catholic Church back then was being very corrupt, they had lost trust in all but the Virgin, praying for her all through their happy and sad moments.

 

In the book it was mentioned that the porters and guilds of La Ribera were represented on the doors of the church, which I thought was something very special! It is always the leaders that are represented, be it architecture work or any other examples, even wars! It is always the leaders that are mentioned by history and not the simple people that have actually worked and poured their sweat on the construction site to build!

And yes for that simple reason I loved this church (and also because the story was amazing :D). But I wanted to go there and see for myself those small representations in honor of the workers. While I was a little disappointed when I finally saw the representations, being smaller than I thought they would be, I was still happy to see them, impressed by the church, and I was also a little bit emotional about it, but that is probably because of the book, remembering what has happened through story in those places and imagining the place in medieval ages.

I would recommend the book to everyone who likes historical/drama/and sad stories :D We all love sad stories don’t we? The ones that make your feelings tear apart and – as I read on a book review – plays with every string in your heart.

Have you visited Santa Maria del Mar when you were in Barcelona? or Have you read the book Cathedral of the sea? What did you think of them?