Deb and Joe's Adventures travel blog

Block of Discord

La Pedera

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Barcelona from the cable car to Montjuic

Barcelona from the cable car to Montjuic

Castell de Montjuic

Barcelona from the cable car to Montjuic

Monument to Columbus

Barcelona harbor

Placa Nova

Carrer del Bisbe Bridge


Today was pretty much on our own - our tour doesn't officially start until 6pm tonight when we meet the rest of the group and go out for dinner. So we decided to try and see as much of the city as we could be going on a hop on/hop off city bus tour. Some of the highlights along the way were the Block of Discord - three houses (two of which we have pictured - Casa Amatller and Casa Batllo) occupy most of this block. Both were built in the early 1900's by Gaudi, a famous Spanish architect. Across the street was La Pedera built between 1906 and 1912 by Gaudi. He was well ahead of his time with modern art. His architecture was not appreciated then as much as it is admired today. A few stops later was the amazing Sagrada Familia, also designed by Gaudi. This was his life's work, his grand masterpiece. Gaudi worked on Sagrada Familia for 43 years beginning in 1883 until his death in 1926. The church is still not done and construction continues on today. The goal is to finish it by 2026 - the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death. The front of the church has life-sized carvings of the different stories from the Old Testament. Needing to take a break, we hopped off the bus for some lunch and then back on we went. Next up was a stop at the base of Montjuic - meaning Mount of the Jews. We hopped off the bus and decided to take a cable car to the top of Montjuic. There were great city views from the cable cars. At the top was Castell de Montjuic, an 18th century castle that is just an empty brick shell today. It was originally built by the central Spanish government to keep an eye on Barcelona and stifle citizen revolts. While Franco was dictator, being taken to Montjuic meant you likely would never be seen again as this was the site of hundreds of executions. We then went down by the harbor, a busy hub of activity with six cruise ships in port. One of the statues we passed was a monument to Columbus erected in 1888. He is pointing out to sea and towards the New World. Our bus tour over we walked through the square by the Barcelona Cathedral. We stopped to look at Placa Nova, pictured is one of two Roman towers. They once guarded the entrance gate of the ancient Roman city of Barcino. The stones that made up the base of the reconstructed tower are actually Roman. At one time, the Roman wall was 25' high and a mile around with 74 towers. Last stop before heading to the hotel was to get a peek at Career del Bisbe Bridge which resembles Venice's Bridge of Sighs. It connects the Catalan government building with what was the Catalan president's residence. Although it looks medieval, it was built in 1920.

This evening we met the rest of our group, so far it looks like a great group, lots of really nice people. We walked a short distance from the hotel and had dinner at a tapas place on a nice, quiet side street. We got back to the hotel early so we could get a good night's rest to get ready for our first day official day of touring Barcelona.



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