Friday, March 12, 2010

Our time in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona was amazing!  But before you read on, animal lovers and those with queasy stomachs beware!  There are a few pictures that might be disturbing but I wanted to share with you the whole experience.  Well, almost. 

We spent three nights and three days in Barcelona.  I do not recommend our hotel unless you are on a tight budget.  It was a nice 4-star hotel, however, it was a bit far from the city center, about a 30 minute bus ride.  We stayed at Hotel FrontAir Congress.  The only benefit besides it being cheap, less than $100 a night, is they offer free airport transfers.  Other than that you'll spend a great deal of time commuting into town.  It also costs 12 Euros per person for breakfast.  There's a McDonald's in the same parking lot but it is not open for breakfast.  There's a mall next door with a grocery store but is closed on Sundays.  I would recommend staying somewhere close to Las Ramblas, especially if you have limited time in Barcelona.

The mall next to our hotel had a grocery store that had some interesting meat for sale.  PETA would not be pleased with this display.  Since I had never seen anything like this, I took a picture.

Some people like to buy their pork attached to the hoof.

The metro system is great in Barcelona and for 7.85 Euros you get a pass for 10 rides.  You can split this with other people and it is one of the cheapest ways to use the metro.  The pass is also good on the bus and tram.

Our first full day we strolled the streets of Las Ramblas.  We saw a lot of street performers (please tip them if you take a picture of them) and enjoyed all the interesting pet store stands and markets.  Plan to spend a few hours strolling the street and stop for coffee if you have time and enjoy people watching.

One of the markets in the Las Ramblas district displayed something that reminded me of my high school biology class.  So sad.  After visiting Barcelona I seriously reconsidered becoming a vegetarian.  I mean seriously, does this really help them sell their pork?  I also now wonder if the animals they were selling on the street were for pets or to eat.  They did sell live chickens and roosters in a few booths.

I guess these little piggies went to market...and stayed!

While we were walking to get on the cable car we saw a man riding his bike totally naked.  That's something you just don't see in Texas.  We took the cable car across the Barcelona Port (Transbordador Aeri del Port) and saw amazing views of the city.  The cable car dropped us off on Montjuic Mountain.  There is a second cable car on top of Montjuic but we didn't ride it.  We got some ice cream and it started to drip rain on us so we decided to head off the mountain.  The Transbordador Aeri del Port was 8 Euros per person.  Babies are free.

View of Las Ramblas from the cable car
Monument of Christopher Columbus built at the site he arrived in 1493 after he discovered America

On our way to the cruise ship we took a taxi from our hotel (70 Euros) and drove past the other side of Mount Montjuic and passed an interesting cemetery.  The Montjuic Cemetery is quite impressive and has graves on all levels of the mountain and is the oldest cemetery in town.  We have never seen anything quite like it.

Our last full day of Barcelona we took the metro to Park Güell.  I have never seen a park like this.  The park was designed by Gaudi and is built on a mountain.  There was a musician playing music, some entertainers, beautiful views, and lots to explore.  Another perk, it's free!  It's a nice place for adults and children.  Some say Gaudi's work inspired Dr. Suess.

Next we went to see Sagrada Familia.  This church was designed by Gaudi but was never completed.  It is amazing!  If you're limited on time just take a taxi from Park Güell.  It will cost 7-8 Euros and will save you a good 45 minutes to an hour as the metro is kind of far from Park Güell.  We did not have time to go inside the church but wish we did.  The cost is 10 Euros per person.

If you have any suggestions of places to see or things to do in Barcelona, please feel free to share.

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