Tag Archives: travel

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!

Barcelona, Sant Jordi and the Bus Turistic!

We had a light breakfast in our gorgeous apartment and set off rather later than intended the next morning. Retracing our steps from our walk home the night before, along the Gran via de les Corts Catalanes, I had to reassure my two friends that yes, I did know where we were going.  It was then that I remembered that on a trip to Paris, ten years ago, I was the only one with any sense of direction.  We got a little distracted by the parade of stalls selling single stemmed roses, for Sant Jordi’s day, and by the striking buildings in the university area.

Uni area

In five minutes we reached the Placa Catalunya, a lovely open area from where it’s easy to navigate the city’s main tourist destinations. Sant Jordi is not only a festival of roses but also of literature that coincides with world book day.

book day

I would have loved to linger and choose some books. As well as Spanish and Catalan authors, Ken Follett was among some of the British writers, signing books.The Placa was really buzzing with atmosphere,  Sant Jordi’s dragon was there, Iarge as life.

Dragon

This statue is by Frederic Mares , Barcelona  represented as a woman on horse back holding a ship as a symbol of exploration and trade.

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A wider view of the Placa.

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A hint of the architecture to come.
Placa buildings

We bought tickets for the hop on hop off Bus Turistic, for 27 euros  for the day. We  chose the blue route , as it covered most of the places we wanted to see.

Open top bus And we’re off, complete with blue head phones to listen to the commentary about the key points around the city. Although I’ll get shot, I have to tell you that Jackie was lulled to sleep by the music between each bit of information, and woke suddenly. She was so shocked by the voice in her ear that she woke with a scream, alarming some of the other tourists and reducing Sonja and I to tummy aching laughter!

I’ll be back soon with views from the bus, including the exterior of Sagrada Familia.

Rambla-ing in Barcelona

 

We arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday afternoon, and finding our Air BnB apartment was simple, just 100 metres from the Aerobus stop. Carmen, the owner met us, gave us some info and answered our questions and then we were off, three old crones let loose in the city. We had been up since 5am and only had a small bowl of porridge at Bristol airport at 9.30 so as it was now 4pm our tummies were howling! We found café to sit outside, where I had Greek salad and we shared a big jug of Sangria in the sunshine. Now we had arrived. Sated, we headed in the direction that I knew would take us to the Ramblas, criss-crossing through the Raval,

El Raval

an area full of old high-walled buildings, strange cooking smells and a million mobile phone accessory shops, piled high with cheap imports from China. The girls were a bit uneasy, not only do they lack my sense of direction, but some of the characters were a bit suspect and it seemed the Ladies of the Night were starting early. They breathed a sigh of relief when we walked into the light.
La Rambla
The Rambla was bustling with preparations for Sant Jordi, the next day, and flower stalls were everywhere.
Sant Jordi preparations
and then unexpectedly we stumbled on a place I’d hoped to visit but didn’t realise was so close. I’m a real market fan, I must have been a trader in another life, so St Josep, Mercat de La Boqueria was paradise.
St Joseps

Delicious fruit, fresh and dried was piled high, with each stall holder trying to out do the next.

My kind of food

Delicious

More treats

Seafood in abundance,
Seafood
I really don’t know how I managed it, but convinced that we would return, I didn’t spend a penny. I regretted that when I went home empty handed!

Ramblas architecture

Then it was time to enjoy some of the wonderful old buildings in the Rambla.

Rambla people
Often very elegant and ornate.

The next building has a little extra elegance, try clicking to get a bigger view.

Mr Marilyn poses in the Museum of Erotica

Yes, it’s Marilyn Monroe, complete with wind- blown, white frock up on the balcony. ‘She’ was attempting to entice you into what I can only guess is entertaining, the museum of erotica.

We strolled on, eyes open for just the right place for dinner, but  our energy had abandoned us totally. Being too excited to sleep the night before and the early start made the tiredness set in. We were five minutes from home and there was a local supermarket on the corner. Crisps and croissants called, as far as real food was concerned, we’d gone beyond hunger. Even the litre bottle of vodka and cola to mix remained unopened and we went to our rooms. My first impressions of Barcelona were great, it was an exciting city and despite being shattered I didn’t sleep for a  couple of hours. Instead, I made plans for the next day.

Motion and light

You probably haven’t noticed my absence, but I’ve been missing for a few days. When I learnt last night that this weeks photo challenge was motion, I was quite pleased because I was on my way out to see the Font màgica de Montjuïc. Yes, I was in Barcelona!
I haven’t had time to sort out my photos yet, but here are some that I hope you like. The fountain was magical indeed, an atmosphere of happiness and joy as its colours played along to the music.

To see how other people have interpreted the challenge, visit Jen and you might like to join in.

The Challice Well Garden in Glastonbury

Surrounding one of the best known holy wells in Britain is the Challice Well garden, a tranquil place to soothe the soul.

Not often seen.
Not often seen.

On Good Friday my friend and I spent a peaceful couple of hours wandering there. Spring path

As far as plants are concerned I think I preferred my last visit which was in summer, but there was still plenty to see.

The garden is set on a gentle slope with Glastonbury Tor rising above, and as you walk upwards you eventually reach the well head. The waters have been know in the past as the Red Spring and the Blood Spring and legend tells that it represents the blood of Christ, springing from the ground when Joseph of Arimathea washed the cup used at the last supper. Others see the continuous spring of the life force.

The Lion's head
The Lion’s head

The Lion’s Head fountain is the only place where the water is safe to drink. Even so, just a few drops are recommended for healing, with the homeopathic approach. Even though I’ve tried it before, I still had a sip and it tastes very strongly of iron.


There are lots of little niches, some with seats, to quietly meditate.
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I hope this young man found peace.

The path to the meadow
The path to the meadow
The Holy Thorn
The Holy Thorn
Thorn buds
Thorn buds

Legend says tha Joseph of Arimathea visited Glastonbury with the Holy Grail and thrust his staff into Wearyall Hill, which then grew into the original thorn tree. The thorn is unusual because it flowers twice a year, at Christmas and again at Easter. Each year a sprig is sent to the Queen.
(source Wikipaedia)

The Vesica Pool

The Vesica Pool

The Vesica pool is shaped as a figure of eight, its seven bowls swirling down like a mountain stream.

A view up through the garden
A view up through the garden
Fritillary
Fritillary

Some bold colour outside of the shop.

The  garden is protected and maintained by the Challice Well Trust, set up by Wellesley Tudor-Pole is 1959 and is open daily throughout the year, should you wish to visit, it is 20 minutes walk from the centre of Glastonbury.

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My post is for Jo’s Monday Walk, if you click the link you will be able to join in and  find lots of interesting walks.