This morning we did something we didn’t think we’d do again on this trip…rode the hop on/off sightseeing bus!
We may or may not have been a bit excited to be back on the cheesy red double-decker bus. The Barcelona tour has 2 loops, one covering the east half of the city and one covering, you guessed it, the west half. This was a good city for the tour, but only if you have a couple of days (like we did). We’ve already covered the attractions of the historic core, so this tour got us out to the more wide spread things worth seeing.
On the first loop we got another look at all of our Gaudi sights from yesterday and then headed out east. One of the awesome things we passed was the Hospital de Saint Pau. It’s 1 of the 8 UNESCO sights in the city and 1 of only 2 that aren’t Gaudi sights. It’s modern style looked very Gaudi inspired though, so it fit in well in this city.
We took advantage of the hop on/off ability and visited one of the city parks. Park Guëll is a city park located up on a hill in the middle of Barcelona. What makes it so special is it’s design by Antonio Gaudi (remember him from yesterday?). The park was initially intended as a housing development but the project was an immense failure. Instead, only the entrance to the park, a few lookout points and three houses were built. Eventually the land was sold to the city, who turned it into a public park. We were very excited to visit the park since we never went inside any of the Gaudi houses throughout the city. And when we did go into the church it was ridiculously wonderfully super awesome!
Your first thought when you walk up to the park’s front entrance is that it might be a display set up just for Christmas. The administrative offices that flank the entryway look like giant gingerbread houses, complete with icing. Once you pass by them you are met with bright colors, curved lines and all of the craziness we’ve come to expect from Gaudi.
As you assend the stairs (as the park is situated on a upway slope) you meet Gaudi’s famous dragon. He looks a little more like a lizard to us, but he’s famous so we posed for a photo.
At the top of the first staircase you come to a seat-ringed lookout. The seats are a ribbon of curves (Gaudi drew a lot of inspiration from nature…which has zero true straight lines!) and bright tiles. There are so many patterns and styles going on that looking at the benches almost makes you dizzy.
Up a bit higher there is a slightly frightening lookout. You climb up rough stone steps to a small rock covered in tourists and topped with simple stone crosses. Simple, but beautiful. From here we had great city views!
After the first loop on the bus we got off for a snack and to warm up. We quickly stopped at subway and then relaxed at Starbucks for awhile. It’s been decided that we need to visit Starbucks or a Christmas market every couple of days to keep us in the Christmas spirit as neither of us thought to put Christmas music on our iPods before we left.
We didn’t do any hopping on the second loop, but we saw some neat sights. We caught a glimpse of the Olympic venues used in 1992. This included the perch of the Olympic flame. We also passed the FCB (Barcelona Football Club). It was a huge complex, all surrounding the main football stadium. It wasn’t spectacular to look at, but it was quite huge! Also, there was an old bull fighting arena that is now a shopping mall…only in Spain!
Siesta was more productive than normal today. We used the time to do laundry and catch up on blog posts…Yay! Clean clothes and stories for you to read! When our clothes were folded & away, we went for supper. After wandering the streets analyzing menus we decided to just go back to the place we went the first night. It was soooooo good the first time and did not disappoint the second. The only difference in our meal was that we ordered the full liter of sangria this time 😉
What We Miss:
Love, Luck & Lizards,