BACK TO BARCELONA, LAST STOP IN SPAIN!
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
322Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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Back in Barcelona after 2 weeks in the Greek Islands. This time we are staying with Frederique in her apartment in the lovely suburb of Gracia. We are close to the metro and all the bars, cafes, shops and plazas that we might crave for! The nearby fresh food market is absolutely fascinating and we frequent a stall there that sells cheap and delicious coffee and snacks, along with crowds of senior ladies who linger for a chat.
We are just around the corner from Plaza del Sol where we watch Spanish people play,eat, shop and communicate; did we mention that the Spanish don't do takeaway- they sit and drink coffee together in the cafes.
Frederique is French, doing her doctorate in Barcelona and a very lovely host; we met her neighbour Carinne, also French and taking in airbnb travellers and we really had some good times with these two and with Prem, Carinne's lodger, an Israeli just out of the army and into dynamic meditation.
We were back in this diverse and busy city for a week and we still had a lot to see.
This time we used the nearby underground metro to get around as well as our feet and we covered a lot of ground!
Park Guell not far away was a priority - this is Gaudi's landscaped park and it is stunning with his imaginative architecture and little surprises everywhere. Needless to say on this sunny day the park was packed with tourists enjoying the large green space.
We took a trip to La Barceloneta, Barcelona's beaches and walked a long way along the esplanade to the Olympic port, a renovated marina where there a lots of seafood restaurants. there were quite a number of people sun-baking on the sand, strolling the boardwalk and just hanging about.
The beaches are wide and clean and apparently packed in the summer. We found a super bakery here in La Barceloneta and bought lots of goodies to enjoy back at the apartment.
We catch up with Yuni and Cesar and join them for a special walking tour through the wonderful back streets of Barrio Gotic, Barcelona's Gothic Quarter where we admire the specialist boutiques and cafes; we happen upon the bookshop of author Carlos Ruiz Zafon's "The Cemetary of Forgotten Books" and determine to get hold of "The Shadow of the Wind" when we return to Australia.
Earlier we had enjoyed the funky El Born area which the boys tell us is now very trendy.
On the evening that Prem was to return to Israel we got together with Frederique and Carinne at the La Font Magica for the glittering sound and light show- we took champagne and snacks and joined the masses of people there. We then walked Prem to the Airport Bus and said our goodbyes.
Frederique told us about a Flamenco performance at Plaza Real and we decided to go along and even though the male dancer was missing the music and artists were really capable and the 30 minute show received an enthusiastic response from the audience. We love the Flamenco music and the female dancer was great!
We never did visit all the galleries we could have but did make the CaixaForum, housed in an ex-factory and sponsored by a bank with a modern art collection. The Joan Miro Foundation was a favourite and we partly explored the National Art Gallery of Catalunya which is in an amazing casle looking building!
We had a busy and eventful week and we really loved staying with Frederique in Gracia; we think we covered most of the city and found some great cafes for delicious meals. The weather was warming up and you really can an increase in tourists as Spain heads into summer.
A day trip to nearby Sitges is covered in the next blog.