So we woke up bright and chirpy and headed to the in-house restaurant for breakfast that came complimentary with the room. The breakfast spread consisted of the common food found in European countries; toasts, croissants, cereals, fruits & juice, and cheese. In addition, with this being a spanish city, there was iberico ham too. We met a middle-age couple from Switzerland and had the briefest of chat. They were surprised to hear we are from Singapore while I was surprised that they knew where Singapore is. 😀 I’m always very proud when people from all over the world have heard of Singapore, the tiny little red dot.
We were tempted to go shopping since there’s a huge array of shops for affordable shopping (read: non-parisian style). But I was determined that we at least visit two famous sights.
The first, of course, is Sagrada Familia. There was a snaking long queue and without hesitating, I got into the queue. From the queue, we could see the cranes involved with the on-going work of the church.
The queue moved pretty fast and we paid for the audio set and also for the ride up the viewing tower. There’s stipulated timing for the lift ride up and ours was at 2pm (something that I was initially unaware of).
So we headed in to the interior and this greeted us at the entrance.
This church is amazing!! In terms of style, its so exceedingly different from any other church we have been to. The interior of Sagrada Familia is white and its brightly illuminated. I felt uplifted upon after entering the church. The way the church was designed allowed for alot of light to enter through and light up the interior. It was simply beautiful.
The husband said there’s no other church like this and this is the most beautiful church he has ever seen. I think he might be right.
After spending a significant amount of time in the interior, we went outside. And there seemed to be more people outside than in the interior but that’s actually because the space in the interior was a lot more than that at the facade.
The facade was filled with carvings of the most unconventional forms, nothing like what we saw in churches in France.
And I thought we could go take the lift to go up the tower. But the staff at the lift said to go back at 2pm. That’s when I truly realised that we could only take the lift up at 2pm.
This is the ceiling at the lift area. I found the ceiling to be lovely. 🙂
So we went back to the interior whereby there’s more information on the Sagrada Familia. Inside there, there were men working on some parts which I reckoned are parts to be used for display for visitor’s information.
And we saw a sculpture of Gaudi. It was nice to have a face, albeit a stone sculpture, to the name.
And a lovely drawing of the facade:
And very quickly, it was time to ascend the lift. I had no idea how high the lift brought us up to. It didn’t bring us to the top but sufficient for us to get a very nice view of the city spreaded out. Peeking out from the stairs, we could see parts of the facade of the church. And the colours on the facade are lovely to see.
By following the stairs, we were eventually led to the ground floor and that finished our tour above ground. Then we headed to a small exhibition in the interior whereby there was an introduction about how Gaudi was inspired by nature and how he related nature in his works. This explained why some of the structures of Gaudi’s works look similar with a twist.
This small exhibit was really quite interesting and it did provide an insight into Gaudi’s genius.
By the time we were done with Sagrada Familia, we were hungry. And we walked around the streets near Sagrada Familia and entered a restaurant that offered tapas buffet. However, the tapas on display didn’t look particularly appetising, so we proceeded to order the set lunch. The set lunch was much cheaper than what we could get for in Paris, something below 10 euros.
My spanish was not good enough to fully understand the menu, and the waitress was not very familiar with English. So, I didn’t have high expectations of the lunch.
For starters, I had gazpacho – or something like that, said the waitress.
Hmmm, somehow the soup led me to think that Spanish food is an acquired taste. Firstly, it was weird having cold soup and the soup didn’t taste like what I ever had. And Iberico ham is definitely not for me. 😮
For mains, we both decided to have something very conventional. I had salmon, he had chicken.
The mains were alright, just a tad bland. Nothing to shout about really. 😐 It was a tad disappointing. Though the people in the restaurant seemed to be enjoying the tapas. Well, it was a buffet, so people kept going back for more.
And the desserts. While I didn’t quite like mine, the husband liked his. He got a flan. He still remembers the flan till now 🙂
With our stomachs filled, we then headed to La Padrera. Somehow we got a little lost on our way there as the map we had didn’t have La Padrera pinned on it. 😕 In the end we popped into a hotel that’s called Padrera which was pinned onto the map as we had mistakenly thought that was our destination. The kind receptionist then told us the correct direction to take and it turned out we had ventured off by quite a bit.
After about 20 minutes of walking, we finally reached La Padrera. The queue to get tickets seemed quite long but in fact, the queue was rather short as the ticket booth was located by the street. The ticket for La Padrera is rather expensive. If I remember correctly, it was about 18 euros.
View from the ground up inside La Padrera:
View of La Padrera from top down:
This is a model of La Padrera.
The part of La Padrera that one sees past the entrance, on the way to the lift which brings people up.
At the roof top of La Padrera. The views weren’t as nice as that from Sagrada Familia. But the roof looks like a huge playground. 😉
When we were done with the roof, we proceeded downstairs. Within La Padrera were rooms as they were in Gaudi’s times. I didn’t find the rooms to be spectacular. Of course, there were also information on the building and displays of furniture designed by Gaudi, and samples of the structures used in the building.
Somehow this reminds me of a ninja. 😉
So when we exited La Padrera, we realised we were in the shopping district. 😛 So we enjoyed the stroll along Passeig de Gracia. Of course, we entered the luxury boutiques when we came across one. There is a whole world of difference in the luxury boutiques in Barcelona and Paris. In Paris, most of the boutiques had a lot of traffic but in Barcelona, a lot of the boutiques are quite empty in comparison. And the number of boutiques in Barcelona are much smaller than what is available in Paris. For example, there’s only one Prada outlet in Barcelona compared to at least three in Paris. And the variety of items in the boutiques are significantly lesser than their Parisian counterparts. Hence if you want to go high-end shopping, Paris is the place.
Eventually we hit upon the streets surround La Seu. We didn’t enter La Seu as it was probably closed (we didn’t check though 😛 ). But the husband said he’s had enough of churches for the time being, so we were satisfied with just a glimpse of the facade. Anyway, we could always visit it in our next trip to Barcelona, no? 😛
The streets in Barcelona, while no good for luxury shopping, are fantastic in street fashion. There’s a Mango, Zara or Blanco in almost every other street. So the shopaholics reared up in full force and we headed for the shops especially since we felt we have done our part as tourists exceedingly well in the day. What makes shopping in Barcelona even better? The closing time of the shops! The shops close at 9 or 10pm!!! With the sky turning dark only at 9 plus in the evening, it sure felt as though the night was real young! 😉 And the variety of clothes and accessories in the Spanish stores are fabulous, so much better than what we have in Singapore. Plus the prices were significantly lower than what’s on offer in at home too!! We love shopping for clothes in Barcelona! Oh, and the tax refunds could be gotten for purchases above 90 euros. The minimum spending for tax refund eligibility in Paris is 175 euros! What a world of difference indeed! 😛
And then we hit onto Las Ramblas. And we were hungry, so we decided to enter a restaurant somewhere in the middle of the street.
And what a mistake that was! 😥
The food was so awful that looking at the following picture made me cringe and I stopped taking photos of the rest of the food ordered.
We also ordered sangria but we got the cava (champagne) type. It wasn’t nice too! 😡 The sangria I had in Singapore was really nice with fruits in it but there weren’t any fruits in the sangria we tried in Barcelona! Why?? 😕