Lexi and Hiro's Round The World Journey 2008-2009 travel blog

La Sagrada Familia

Inside Sagrada Familia

designed just like canopy in a forest

work still in progress

Park Guell

a view from Park Guell

Hiro was knocked out by the heat, taking a break on Gaudi-desinged...

Lexi made it to the top of the park

and enjoyed a view from the top, you can see La Sagrada...

wave-like corridor in the park

entrance of the park

one of the gaudi-desinged apartment in the city

enjoyed great tapas in the bar

Barcelona's water front

We have now arrived in the country known for sunshine, bullfighting, flamenco and Tapas, Spain! It didn’t take too long to fall in love with Spain. We started our Journey in Spain from Barcelona. We arrived quite late, around 10pm, but we soon realised that it wasn’t late for the Spanish. The sense of time is one thing that was really different to our home. Morning continues until 2pm, and then 2pm to 8pm is afternoon, after 8pm is what they call “night”. Furthermore they have a long lunch break with a nap, called “Siesta” from 2pm to 4 or 5pm. During Siesta, shops are closed and streets are deserted. They have big lunch at around 2pm and then have a small dinner at around 9-10pm. At first it was difficult to adjust ourselves to Spanish time, but once you get used to it, it was fine and actually makes good sense. In Spain 3-6pm is the hottest time of the day. At 3pm in 45 degrees heat outside it’s hard to do anything. Siesta is a great way to avoid the heat during the daytime. It was surprising to see the streets are livelier at 1am than 3pm!!

Gaudi, Gaudi and Gaudi! Well I think it is safe to say Barcelona is the city of Gaudi. His architectures are dotted around city and attract millions of tourists from all over the world. To be honest we don’t know much about architecture, and don’t have special interest in it. However even I can tell for sure that he is an absolute genius, and all his architectures we visited shocked us. The first one we visited was La Sagrada Familia, the most famous building in Barcelona. It is a work still in progress after his death, construction started in 1882 and is estimated to be completed in 2026. Once we stepped inside, we felt it was just like being in a forest. Many high columns are just like trees and sunshine comes through from glasses on the ceiling just like sunshine coming through leafs in a deep forest. His work is full of references to nature and the spiral. He gets ideas for his work from natural things such as flowers, trees, beehives, animals and literally anything natural. He also used a lot of spiral designs, which I think it is again a natural thing like how plants grow, DNA etc. We both agreed that he is a genius, as the way he interprets nature into his architecture is just amazing and so eccentric. It was a highlight of our trip to witness this creation.

Next we headed up to one of the highest points in Barcelona city to Park Guell which is another of Gaudi’s creations. It was originally designed to be a self-contained community with houses, schools and shops, but now it is a lovely park on a hill where locals and tourists enjoy Gaudi’s work. When we arrived at the entrance, we thought it was some theme park. That is how funky and so cool his creation is even now after more than 100 years. It was stinking hot but we loved just walking around this desert-style park with great views over Barcelona and the ocean. There are many more of his architectures in Barcelona and they were all amazing.

I don’t know if it’s Gaudi’s influence or not but Spanish fashion brands are quite eccentric, colourful and funky too. They are often quite affordable compared to French or Italian brands, so we loved looking at shops here too. Zara, one of Lexis favourite shops where she bought a few new clothes is very popular and inexpensive Spanish brands. We also loved Designal brand of clothes, it’s very colourful and different.

At night we had our first Tapas meal and loved it, we chose a casual one and sat up at the bar (as food will be cheaper than sitting at table) and just picked little dishes. Tapas reminds us of eating in Japanese Izakaya pubs, drinking and eating a few small plates of food. We now love eating Tapas and surely we are going to enjoy it throughout Spain! We also checked out a food market full of locals. Even vegetables and fruits look brighter in Barcelona, and they sell everything from pig intestines, skinned rabbits to snails.

We really wanted to stay longer in Barcelona but we have to keep going, now heading to Granada, our first Andalucía city.

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