La Sagrada Familia, Barceloneta, y Montjuic

late breakfast, Sagrada Familia from 12-2pm, audio tour was excellent, place is totally amazing, I don’t know how else to say it, they have been working on it for 100 yrs and spend $1M per month on current construction, the lead architect says they will hold the first mass in it next summer, but the whole project may not be finished until 2030, we definitely want to some back when it’s done if not many times along the way, we took the train to Barceloneta, the main port, we wanted to have paella and went with Rough Guide’s suggestion, Can Manuel, very good, plus their house wine was under 10 euro/bottle, we walked from the port back up the bottom of Las Ramblas to see what we missed and to spend time at La Boqueria, we wandered through the stands, got some kiwi juice and some pre-portioned, vacuum-packed jamon, 10 euros, some jamon sells for 80 or more euros/kg, the market is fantastic, lots of fresh fruit, seafood, and meat vendors, got some gelato from the same place as before, hit the train back to our hotel, rested for short bit before heading to Montjuic, grabbed our climbing shoes in case we could find the bouldering tunnel, met Valerie, David, and Kean, took the escalators to the top of the hill and walked to the Olympic stadium and back down to the fountain in time for sunset and the music, took lots of pictures of the water, the Olles took off and Bev and I hiked around looking for the tunnel to no avail, train back to hotel, grabbed some dinner at the same block as the first night, but different place, salad sampler (good) and platos combinados (french fries and fried eggs standard, plus some sausage and fried calamare), each with beer, done

Sagrada Familia

$1M per month on current construction

Drawings of the finished cathedral

The hanging model is based on the theory of the “reversion of the catenary.” A chain suspended from two points will hang spontaneously in the shape of a so-called “catenary”. Only tension forces can exist in the chain. The form of the catenary upside down gives a perfect shape for an arch of stone masonry, and in such an arch only reversed forces of tension, being compression, will occur.”

Can Manuel in Barceloneta

Back at La Boqueria

David and Kean at Montjuic

Fountains set to music

Gaudi day at La Pedrera & Parc Guell

woke up at 10, ate, left place at noon, Barcelona time rocks!, headed to La Pedrera, one of Gaudi’s apartment buildings commissioned by a couple who planned to live in one and rent the rest, place is amazing, spent two hours doing the audio tour of the attic, roof, and one apartment, headed down Passeig de Gracia for some lunch, got some tapas & beer at a restaurant, fried cod balls, fish satay things, walked down Las Ramblas, H&M clothes, great gelato, ducked into La Boqueria, headed back feet were fried, had to meet Valerie and David at Parc Guell (pronounced “way”), grabbed our climbing shoes just in case, took train to stop, then walked to park, like hiking San Francisco hills, met them and walked all over, cool place, shame they never really finished it, but definitely popular place with the locals and a good view of town, couldn’t find the bouldering wall, caught a bus to David’s neighborhood to eat at L’Esquinica, got their at 8:45 and had to wait a bit, the place is so good people actually wait, ordered up some beers and claras and David picked out 5 favorites, Kean was getting tired, luckily David’s folks were nearby so they picked him up, we got another round of drinks and 3 more things to eat, stuffed, got the bill, planned to possibly do Montjuic the next night, back home, spent

La Pedrera

Casa Batlló

Best gelato ever on Las Ramblas

Jamón at La Boqueria

Colonnaded footpath under the roadway viaduct, Parc Guell

Gaudi’s mosaics on the ceiling

Gaudí’s mosaic work on the main terrace

David, Valerie, and Kean 🙂

Old vespas everywhere!

Estrellas, Calas, and Tapas at L’Esquinica

Papas Fritas


All around Barcelona in a day

breakfast, emailed a bunch of places to stay in San Sebastian, walked to bookstore for a guidebook, only had Rough Guide, asked the guy where to go for lunch, got a menu del dias at Palermo in Eixample, for 10/pp, we were loving it, feeling the cost pinch, but really a good deal, headed back to hotel to finalize plans to San Sebastian, bought Renfe tickets which really are a pain, but Googling the steps is helpful, got confirmation on Urban House, Valerie texted, called them and met up at the train stop, our place is on the same line as David’s family, headed down to Placa Catalunya, got horchata, walked to Barcelona Cathedral, walked La Born district, the Park de la Ciutadella to the zoo, down to Port Olympic and all the way up to Poble Nou, stopped for some Estrella and patatas bravas (french fries with spicy mayo and garlic mayo), we hit the train back to our place because our feet were down from all the walking, planned to do Parc Guell and tapas the next night, back to the hood, we walked to Sagrada Familia at night, astounding lit up, got some crappy tapas and good German beer at the only place serving food at nearly 1am

Ally’s Guesthouse

Avinguda Diagonal

Barcelona has  it’s own public bicycle program!

Menu del dia at Palermo in Eixample

Barcelona Cathedral

La Born district

Sagrada Familia at night

10 more days….

So there is a lot to update…not sure where it was that we left off since the last time we blogged. We pretty much booked the remaining of our accomodations in Marrakech, Essaouira, the first few days in Barcelona, and in Dublin.

Morocco: We will be staying within a stone’s throw of the famous Djemaa el Fna, the main market in Marrakech, but of course that means nothing because apparently it is SO easy to get lost in the souks and the streets are really confusing. I have a feeling we will be paying a young boy and his entrepreneurial friends a few dirhams to lead us through the maze of it all back to our hotel every night. But good news: Through some not-so-random people, we actually now have a real human connection in Marrakech. He’s the brother of one of David’s collegue’s clients (huh?) and is willing to help us figure out our itinerary, and get us on some freakin’ CAMELS! Additionally, we’ve rearranged our schedule to be able to meet with the Marrakech couchsurfers.

Spain: As far as the Spain leg of the tour was concerned, we made a pretty tough decision to NOT go down to Granada or anywhere in southern Spain. Although we really wanted to see the Alhambra, there was just too much travel involved (ha!) and we really wanted more time to explore Barcelona and the surrounding areas. Since we will be coming from Morocco, I think we will have gotten our fill of moorish architecture.

Dublin: We will only be in Dublin for a few days, and I think we are going to blow it out by staying in the Temple Bar area. And you better believe we are hitting the Guiness Factory!!