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Trip Report Barcelona Jul 16- Jul 23

July 16 Frankfurt to Barcelona - Arrived into BCN around 3 PM. It was a breeze to get hold of a taxi to go to the homeaway apt on Carrer d'arago. Settled into the apartment, figured out the nearest grocery store (there were 3 supermercats within 5 min walking distance). Motivated the jetl-agged family to go walking to Ramblas. The moment we turned into Passeig de gracia, we were stunned to see the fish building (as my son called it) "Casa Batllo" - That really woke my family up from the jet lag. We stopped at the metro station at the corner of Arago and Passieg de Gracia and bought a T10 ticket. Took pictures around the fountains in Placa de catalunya. Walked Ramblas all the way up to the Licieu metro station. By this time the family was tired so walked back to the apartment.

Jul 17 - In the morning took a taxi to La Catedral in the Barri Gotic district. Used RS walking guide to walk around. Did a bit of shopping and ended up having lunch at a tapas place. Being a vegetarian the choices were limited. After lunch, we returned to our apartment and rested a bit. Late afternoon, we took off to Nova Icaria beach. The water was warm (a bit dirty, sad to see several plastic bags floating) and calm and was easy to play around in it. Enjoyed a warm(!) beer on the beach. Walked up to a beach side bar and had a nice Watermelon Sangria. We walked by the dock and found there were several restaurants there. We had dinner there and went back to the apartment.

Jul 18 - I had booked tickets to Sagrada Familia for the 10 AM entrance (Nativity Tower). We walked to the church from our apartment. It took about 15 minutes. Wrong decision. The day was already warm and by the time we entered the church we were a bit exhausted by the humidity. The church was mobbed. It brought back memories of visiting Vatican few years ago. Once we entered the church it wasn't easy to identify which elevator to take to go up the tower. Also I had wrongly assumed that we could take elevators for coming down. We had to climb down 400 steps ( if I remember right). As we were already a bit exhausted by the walk, it was a bit challenging on the way down - I don't think it was the physical exertion of climbing down the steps but more due to the claustrophobic space. In my opinion, the views from the tower were just OK, possibly overshadowed by my irritation that I had overlooked the method of descent. The church was a unique experience. The whole space inside the church felt surreal - the soaring columns and the way the stained glass windows lit the place up - pure magic.
After spending couple of hours in the church we had lunch around the area and went back to the apartment to recover our energy.
I had planned for two things for the evening. I had bought tickets for Parc Guell - entry time was at 7;30 PM. I planned to attend a concert that was part of the Music in the Parks series. It was in the Nou Barris neighborhood. We took a taxi to the Parc Guell and entered on time. Spent about an hour there - enjoying the monument. It was really pleasant to visit the park at that time of the day. We got great views from the terrace and the whole place made us feel relaxed. We took a taxi from there to go to Casa De L'aigua where the concert was happening. It took more than 30 minutes to reach, the concert was in an open area outside a beautiful building (Cass De L'aigua). It was chamber music played by a band called Quartet Vela ( It was a great setting, in the middle of the park, with the declining light, the whole area was filled with excellent classical music played by four talented saxophonists. At the end of the concert we panicked as we couldn't get hold of a taxi to get back to the apartment. I remembered passing a metro station on our way into Nou Barris,

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We walked to the station and tried to figure out how to use the T10 ticket. It took a few attempts to figure out the right way to insert the ticket and then we were able to get in. Google maps transit guide was great as it showed what train to take and the schedule.

Jul 19 - I had not planned anything in particular for this day. I wanted to see how things progressed and if possible we could go to Montserrat. When we woke up we were still in great shape, so we decided to go to Montserrat. We bought the train and cable car ticket at the station and went to Montserrat. We reached around lunch time and had lunch at the cafe next to the cathedral. There was a long line to see the Black Madonna (the line was so you can go upto the Madonna and touch the orb). We spent about an hour standing in the line before we were able to go in. After that, we walked around the town, enjoyed the views and took train back home. It was a long day!

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THANK you for your report, WriteFace! I felt I was enjoying all the excursions right along with you. I was keenly interested, as my husband and I will be going to Barcelona, for our first time, for 3 nights in early October, before boarding a cruise.

In that space of time, did you feel that the side trip to Montserrat was worth the energy? We will be arriving, jet-lagged, at the crack of dawn on a Friday, and boarding the ship on the Monday, around noon. We will be staying in the Eixample area.

Thanks again!

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Vivian, With only 3 days, I am not sure about it. It also depends on what your main interests in BCN are. There are plenty to see in the city for the 3 days without excursions.

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Jul 20 - 8:30 AM Casa Batllo. I had bought the Sunrise Tour tickets to beat the crowd. We had the whole house to ourselves for most of the time. The house and the audio tour are definitely worth it. Highly recommended. We took about an hour and half to tour the building and spend time on the terrace. The kitschy photo op they sell at the top the building is certainly fun and worth the 14Euros as a great souvenir.

RIght after lunch we caught the train from Passeig De Gracia station to Sitges to hit the beach. This is an useful link to know more about beaches in Sitges:
From the station (the train ride was about 40 min - no special views) we walked the narrow streets to the beach Platja de la Fragata. The day was perfect for going to the beach, big waves, smooth sand and blue skies. The moment we stepped into the water, out came a shrill whistle sound. The life guard on duty pointed to the red flag up - no swimming today she said, strong currents - we were so disappointed. Oh boy, the crowd didn't listen to her and kept going to the water and had her running all over the beach. We played in the water at the lip and enjoyed the weather.

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Hello, I wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your report. We took Rick's "Best of Spain" a couple of years ago and loved everyplace we went. We started out in Barcelona and went a couple of days early so enjoyed the extra time. I too am a vegetarian, but found a couple of delicious tapas: the fried eggplant (I believe called Berenjenas fritas) and Patatas Bravas (crispy chunks of potatoes with a delicious tomatoe sauce. I had them both whenever we went out for Tapas and even though they were fixed a bit differently in different areas, they were always delicious. Thanks again for such an interesting report. I am enjoying reliving my visit to Spain. Teri

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Barcelona and Spain are on our bucket list so it is always great to hear. We are taking our older grandson to Paris and London for his high school graduation gift (I think it is more a gift to us but we will see) next week. His sister is 3 years younger. We have been encouraging her to take Spanish and telling her that SPAIN would be fantastic for her graduation. Keep your fingers crossed. LOL Until then I just keep reading and drooling.