Saturday, 24 November 2012

Hola! Barcelona!

And as previously mentioned in Brad's Not-Quite-Top-Gear entry, we were off to Barcelona in our little Italian number...

What an incredible city! The architecture (Gaudi curved buildings everywhere!), the food (seafood tapas and paella!), the fashion (bold colours and designs!) - it is an amazing, world-class city to visit. We already want to come back.

The warm temperatures (a balmy 16c-18c while we strolled around during the day) reminded us of San Francisco. But the boulevard trees had a more Hawaiian feel to them.

And as we're in Spain now, the fruit tree of choice for the boulevard (versus olives in 'our' town) is oranges.

A walking tour of the architectural sites is easy to follow as it's marked with coloured tiles embedded into the sidewalks. This marker shows the modernism tour route - the tiles were actually designed by the architect Antoni Gaudi himself.

The route takes you past several buildings either built or renovated in the modernism style - including this famous one, the Casa Batlló, renovated in 1906 by Gaudi.

Another famous Gaudi landmark is Park Güell (the name of the developer of the site). It was an unsuccessful high-end housing project that was turned into a municipal park. Here's a shot of us....with the other hundreds of tourists and school children (and souvenir hawkers who hide their illegal wares at a moments notice when the police appear).

And a shot of the most famous piece in this famous park....Brad is already thinking about the next tile project for the house....

Much of our strolling took place on La Rambla - the long pedestrian boulevard on the edge of the Gothic Quarter. The street runs for just over a kilometre, leading up from a giant column topped with a statue of Christopher Columbus. While the streets are lined with permanent stores, the wide centre boulevard is crammed with stalls selling a unique array of merchandise. There are the usual souvenir magnets/baseball hats/fudge....but there were also two (!) pet stalls.

This one was selling turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits. AND the supplies for each of them.

Really?!?! People buy that sort of thing on the street? But I guess when they're THIS CUTE!!!

But if you don't want to grow a pet, you can always augment your garden. There were several fresh cut flower booths and then two that sold vegetable seeds for the garden....

But we did find some classic Spanish wares for sale. On our first night here, after walking around for a while, we wet our whistles with some Sangria...keg-sized.


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