Tag Archives: travel

Sagrada Familia from the bus

The best bit of my trip to Barcelona in April was Sagrada Familia, so I thought I’d show you why. This is Gaudi’s last and greatest masterpiece, and it’s hoped that it will finally be finished in 2026 to mark the centenary of his death.

I’m not going to ramble on, nothing I could say isn’t said better on the Sagrada Familia website, but love it or hate it, this building is incredible. These photos were all taken with a compact camera from the Bus Turistic, how I wish I’d been able to take my dslr!

Gaudi’s Mosaics at Guell

Eusebi Guell entrusted Gaudi to create an estate for wealthy people, in Barcelona on land that he purchased in the Monumental zone, high above the city where the air was clean and healthy. Unfortunately the project was not viable and Guell halted it in in 1914. When Guell died his family offered the property to the city council. They purchased it in 1922 and opened it as a public park four years later.
Since then Gaudi has become an international treasure, and his creation was declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 1984. Here are some the fabulous mosaics in the park.

And here is Eusebi Guell himself, standing in the Hippostyle room.
Eusebi Guell

A Walk at Morte Point

Last weekend my friend Lindy and I went for a walk up in north Devon. I wanted to go to see Verity at the same time so I found a walk on the coast that was just 2.3 miles, perfect for the Dido and Daisy as well.

We arrived at Mortehoe, a pretty village, just before noon and walked up the road between the pub and church.

Mortehoe village
Mortehoe village

The lane climbing upwards was trimmed with spring wild flowers.

Wildflowers in the hedgerow
Wildflowers in the hedgerow

And the walls were full of life.

Navelwort waiting to bloom Jude
Navelwort waiting to bloom Jude

We walked past a pretty cemetery.

Cemetery with a view
Cemetery with a view

And the walk began

Back to the path

Looking west
Looking west
That's close enough to a sheer drop
That’s close enough to a sheer drop

There were sheep everywhere and the lambs were adorable

The lambs were at the toddler stage
The lambs were at the toddler stage

The path stretched ahead into bright sun.

The south west coast path
The south west coast path
Woolacombe is fading into the distance
Woolacombe is fading into the distance

We stopped frequently so the dogs could cool down, so I zoomed in again.

Something strange over there
Something strange over there

Can you see the stegosaurus back bone?

By now we were warming up, and wishing we’d brought all of our picnic lunch, instead of just a packet of crisps. But the walk was lovely in every direction.

Deceiving but a very steep drop
Deceiving but a very steep drop

There were some interesting rock formations.


The crest of the hill in the photo above was soon just above us.

The stegasaurus
The stegasaurus

Some suicidal sheep!

Sure footed sheep
Sure footed sheep

 

Not far to the point
Not far to the point
One more bend
One more bend

The rock was changing colour as we walked east towards Morte Point.

Made it at last

Morte Point
Morte Point

Morte, as I’m sure you know means death and it’s believed that Morte point got its name because the treacherous rocks caused a number of shipwrecks over the centuries. Smuggling was rife, and some of the wrecks may have been helped along the way by wreckers walking the coast with lamps to confuse the sailors in the dark. Having seen this rcraggy coastline, it must have been incredibly dangerous. According to the South West Coast Path website,

The Normans dubbed it the ‘Death Stone’, and claimed that ‘Morte is the place which heaven made last and the devil will take first.’

Time to head on.

Going east again
Going east again

The walk continued steeply.

Shallow water
Shallow water

My camera captured seals here but just as dark bobbing blobs.

The seals didn't want to sunbath
The seals didn’t want to sunbath

We were out of water and fairly certain that we’d missed a turning by the time we reached here.

The turning point
The turning point

But a slight hint of a path up to the right led us back the way we needed to take.

Familiar ground
Familiar ground

The gate leads through to the road by the cemetery.
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The village shop supplied cold drinks and ice cream, which we followed with our picnic. The dogs flopped in the shade, tired but happy. The pedometer on my phone said I’d walked 5.5 miles, not the planned 2.3, but we stilled had some energy left to pootle around Ilfracombe.
I don’t know if Jo will be doing her Monday Walk this week but there’s always another day.

On the Way To . . .

Sometimes we find interesting places on the way to other places, Michelle at the Daily Post asks us to share them for this weeks photo challenge. Here are the ones I’ve chosen for you.
Taormina in Sicily is real jewel of a town and one of the ways of getting there is by train. We travelled from Fiumefredo and were delighted to find this stunning ceiling in the ticket office when we arrived at Taormina station.
sicily

This road is on the way to the entrance of Sepilok, the orang-utan rehabilitation centre in Sabah, Borneo. It was a hot, and humid walk from our rain forest lodge, but well worth it for the amazing experience of seeing these wonderful creatures up close.

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The long road from the north of Ghana was dotted with villages, where people would rush out to greet us, and we could by eggs and fruit for lunch.

ghana

This is the view from the air on the way to Sandakan, from Kota Kinabalu, Borneo. The coast is surrounded by coral reefs, the only time I’ve attempted to snorkel. I love the sea, but I’m not a strong swimmer, so I had to be brave to try it. It turned out to be one of the most incredible things I’ve ever done.
reef

There are lots of on the way posts to visit here, and you can join in too!

Back to Guell

Several hours have passed and my friends and I are back in the area of Parc Guell, still too early for our 5.30 – 6pm entry time. Even my ‘souvenir shopping’ friends have exhausted the junky gift shops now and we are little peckish, so tempted by a shady garden we settle for a quick snack and some sangria.
At last it’s our turn! gue1

to get closer to these intriguing buildings.

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There are columns created to mimic nature

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Where a stone woman

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and a bunch of crazy women from England lurk

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there are stunning views of the city

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wonderful mosaics on the towers

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A whole forest of columns

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that I really fall in love with. The Sala Hipostila was originally intended to be a market hall.

There was even a very beautiful young bride and her groom, imagine getting married there, although escaping the crowds would be difficult.

and I have some more photos to show you from Parc Guell, so I’ll be back.

Tantalising Glimpses of Guell

Our journey on the Bus Turistic continued past Sagrada Familia  and through the trendy Gracia area. Our destination for the morning was perhaps the furthest point on the blue route, Parc Guell.  We jumped off the bus, following a few others and turned a corner into full sun. Parc Guell is in the the Zona Monumental and a monumental hill faced us! Pretty soon our water bottles and our tummy’s were empty so we sought out a café for an early lunch. Surprisingly, considering the vicinity, the first one we came across was cheap, a little local place where we had pizza, churros and coffee for just a few euros. Refreshed, we tackle the rest of the hill, resisting the tacky tourist shops along the way.

Eventually we turned the corner and had our first view of Parc Guell.

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We were hooked right away, and headed towards the entrance.
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This wasn’t it, originally this was built as the porter’s lodge and entrance, but for now it’s one of the exits.
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The selfie sticks available in all those tourist shops were being put to good use. So we strolled a few metres more, up the path to the ticket office,

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where we were told that we wouldn’t be able to go in for another four hours. We bought our tickets to enter between 5.30 and 6pm, for seven euros each,
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and feeling hot and irritable, but glad we would be able to go later, walked all the way back down that monumental hill.

So, we’d had a little peep at what was to come and had to entertain ourselves on the blue bus for a while.

What could we do?

Views from the Bus Turistic

Riding around Barcelona with the views from the top of the Bus Turistic , the city is even more beautiful than I expected. The Via’s are wide and tree lined and every where you turn is another striking building, placa or fountain.

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Buildings often have exquisite design features, some by Gaudi himself, others influenced by his work.
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Why have plain when you can have intricate?

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There are streets and streets with apartment blocks like this, with the volume of traffic going past they must be very high maintenance.

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I always wonder about the people living behind the windows, can they ever open them and enjoy their balconies in the continuous city noise?

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Of course if you live in one of the luxury apartments in Casa Terrades, a Gothic, fairytale castle, I’m sure you wouldn’t have to worry about the outside world, can you imagine Rapunzel’s hair flowing down from here?
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One of the places I’d like to see when I return to Barcelona is the modernist Casa Mila, known locally as La Pedrera, it’s a UNESCO world heritage site and Gaudi’s last civic work. It’s given the name Pedrera which means ‘Stone Quarry’because of its rough exterior appearance. I’d like to go up to the roof and get a closer look at the art looking back at you, fascinating stone sculpture that you see from the street.
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This pretty building was one of my favourites, but I don’t remember what it’s called, does anyone know anything about it?
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This fantastical building is Casa Batllo, one of Gaudi’s greatest masterpieces. I really wish I’d had time to see it, if you go to Barcelona allow as much time as you can, there is so, so much to see and you will quite likely feel as frustrated as i did, having to miss things like this out!

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The blue Bus Turistic also stops at Sagrada Familia ans we got off long enough to find out that there was absolutely no chance of going inside at that time. The ticket office said go away and book online, no tickets were available that day. We were so glad we hadn’t waited until the last day.
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I’ll be posting again about Gaudi’s greatest and unfinished achievement, meanwhile for now I’m ending with a photo of Barcelona by night, at Placa d’Espanya.
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Enjoy!