Barcelona trip report

Jul 24th, 2001, 12:11 PM
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Barcelona trip report

This isn't really an extensive trip report but just a list of some of the major sites and some rambling comments. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. I am in the process of putting some of my photos on the web and will post a link here when it's ready.

Barcelona trip report
March 10-17, 2001

We booked an air/hotel package through and chose to stay and the Hotel Taber which was one of the mid-priced options. I was a bit nervous since I wasn't able to find the Taber in any guidebooks but it was a good choice. The hotel was small and modern and charm-less inside but the location was wonderful. It was in the Eixample section, north of the main tourist section and the Rambles. This neighborhood has some of Barcelona's architectural highlights - our hotel was around the corner from the famous "block of discord" where you can see the wild and spectacular Casa Amatller, Casa Batlló, and Casa Lleó Morera. In fact, all the architecture in the Eixample is beautiful.

The weather was great - it rained one night for about 20 minutes, but otherwise it was very sunny and in the 60s.

We pretty much walked everywhere although in retrospect we probably should have gotten tickets for the Bus Touristic which makes stops at most major sites and seems like it is probably useful in getting to sites outside the city center, such as Parc Guell.

Although I had read so much about pickpockets and petty crimes, I didn't have any problems. I had a small black bag that I wore across my chest and usually walked around with it on my back (zipped of course). We were approached by a woman trying to sell us flowers which was probably a scam to pickpocket us but we just refused and walked away.
Jul 24th, 2001, 12:11 PM
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I didn't get to see everything I wanted to see, even with a whole week. We didn't get to Montserrat and only made one side trip (Tarragona).

Main sites

*Sagrada Familia - as if the architecture weren't bizarre enough, all the scaffolding and construction workers walking around in what should be the center of the church makes the experience even more surreal. You can pay to take an elevator but we chose to walk up the maze of stairs which allows you to see the sculptures up-close plus get an amazing view of the city.

*Casa Mila - one floor is a museum which shows what apartments in this building looked like when it was first built by Gaudi. The contrast between the staid furniture and the undulating walls is great. You can also go on the roof to see some of his famous chimneys.

Palau Guell - another private house by Gaudi, off the Ramblas. You have to go on a tour to see the inside of the house which is cramped and dark - the opposite of Casa Mila.

Picasso Museum - not many famous paintings, but a large collection of his early work (especially drawings) plus the Las Meninas series.

Museu d'Art Comtemporani de Barcelona - a huge, bright building designed by Richard Meier which contrasts with the rest of El Raval, the seedy neighborhood made famous by Jean Genet's Thief's Journal. If you are interested in contemporary art, this museum gets a lot of major international shows.

Fundació Antoni Tąpies - a museum devoted to the artist Antoni Tąpies which features contemporary art. It was right across from our hotel and the building (an old printing house designed by Lluis Domčnech i Montaner) was interesting, but unless you are really into contemporary art, probably not worthwhile.

*Parc de la Ciutadella - large park with a lake and a giant waterfall/fountain, a great place to relax between walks.

*Parc Guell - this was the only place we went that was crowded to the point of being unpleasant due to the large number of high school groups which were rather loud. The mosaics and the slanted columns are amazing.

Tarragona - we went to see the Roman ruins, but the rest of the old city was nice as well. I especially liked the cathedral - we paid a bit extra to see the museum which has a combination of ancient Roman and religious art plus a wonderful courtyard in the monastery .

Jul 24th, 2001, 12:14 PM
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Is Palau Guell the house with the funky chimneys? I saw this the first time i went to Barcelona. When I came back with my wife i wanted to take her there but couldn't remember where it was! I loved the views from the roof...
Jul 24th, 2001, 12:35 PM
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Nice trip report, cecilia...thanks!

Abe, Palau Guell has some interesting chimneys covered in tile, but you're probably thinking of Casa Mila, which has the more bizarre-looking chimneys.
Jul 24th, 2001, 12:39 PM
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Palau Guell was one of Gaudi's first buldings - located off the Ramblas, towards the harbour. I don't remember the views from the roof being extrodinary. However - the views from the Casa Mila (on the passage de gracia ) were wonderful. Also durng the summer they have cocktail hour on the roof of the Mila.
Jul 25th, 2001, 06:53 AM
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Gaudi's La Pedrera ("The Apartment")in the Eixample District has the amazing rooftop with funky chimneys and great views of the city. It is a highlight that you should not miss. The Bus Turistic stops right in front. Also, don't miss the Miro Museum.

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