Tagged Spain

Hola Madrid y Toledo

At the beginning of September I headed to the Spanish capital. I only spent one day in Madrid, but somehow, it was enough. Because I lucked out big time with my Couchsurfing host. An avid learner and sharer of knowledge, Nico showed me around Madrid, all in one day. Couchsurfing saves you so much time and energy. You don’t have to read through Tripadvisor or lug Lonely Planet books in your backpack, as you can so easily get the best pieces of advice from a local!

We started our day walking through Parque Retiro.
We started our day walking through Parque Retiro, one of the largest parks in Madrid.
A statue of the fallen angel, Satan, stands tall in the middle of the park.
A statue of the fallen angel, Satan, stands tall in the middle of the park.
The Monument to King Alfonso XII looks over people rowing in the artificial pond.
The Monument to King Alfonso XII looks over people rowing in the artificial pond.
This guy dropped a feather in front of me.
This guy dropped a feather in front of me.
I put it in my hat.
I put it in my hat.
All this jumping made me hungry so it was time for lunch.
All this jumping made me hungry so it was time for lunch.
At vegetarian restaurant Artemisa, the daily menu costs 11,90 €. It consists of soup or salad for a starter, a main course and your choice of dessert.
At vegetarian restaurant Artemisa, the daily menu costs 11,90 €. It consists of soup or salad for a starter, a main course and your choice of dessert.

After lunch, we walked around the city before visiting two famous museums in Madrid.

I enjoyed looking at colourful houses...
I enjoyed looking at colourful houses…
...and colourful people!
…and colourful people!
Many roads are named after famous people and the street signs feature an image of the person in question.
Many roads are named after famous people and the street signs feature an image of the person in question.
Museo del Prado, with a collection of famous paintings from both Spain and abroad, is one of the most important sights in Madrid. Entry is free the final two hours of the day!
Museo del Prado, with a collection of famous paintings from both Spain and abroad, is one of the most important sights in Madrid. Entry is free the final two hours of the day!
In contrast to the classical paintings on display at Museo del Prado, Museo del Reina is dedicated to modern art. Museo del Reina also allows museum guests to enter for free during the last two hours it's open.
In contrast to the classical paintings on display at Museo del Prado, Museo Reina Sofía is dedicated to modern art. Museo Reina Sofía also allows museum guests to enter for free during the last two hours it’s open.
Our final stop of the day was the Royal Palace, which is lit up at night time.
Our final stop of the day was the Royal Palace, which is lit up at night time.
After walking around for twelve hours, dinner at macrobiotic restaurant La Biotika was very welcome. A three course menu will set you back 14,90 €.
After walking around for twelve hours, dinner at macrobiotic restaurant La Biotika was very welcome. A three course menu will set you back 14,90 €.

As we managed to cram all the main sights of Madrid into one day, I headed to Toledo the next morning. The old Spanish capital is situated approximately 70 km from Madrid. A round trip with the bus costs around 10 €. Trains also run to Toledo but are more expensive. Toledo makes for a good day trip from Madrid.

Besides exploring the small streets of Toledo, I visited the Toledo Cathedral, one of the main sights of the city.
Besides exploring the small streets of Toledo, I visited Toledo Cathedral, one of the main sights of the city.
Madre Tierra is the only one vegetarian restaurant in Toledo. Dishes at this cosy place cost 10-15 €.
Madre Tierra is the only one vegetarian restaurant in Toledo. Dishes at this cosy place cost 10-15 €.
One of Toledo's most famous inhabitants was the painter El Greco. He lived in Toledo over a period of 37 years, and the city frequently appears in his work. In the early 20th century, Marquis de la Vega Inclán purchased a run-down 14th century house in Toledo’s old Jewish Quarter, in the mistaken assumption that he was buying the remains of the painter’s own home.
One of Toledo’s most famous inhabitants was the painter El Greco. He lived in Toledo over a period of 37 years, and the city frequently appears in his work. In the early 20th century, Marquis de la Vega Inclán purchased a run-down 14th century house in Toledo’s old Jewish Quarter, in the mistaken assumption that he was buying the remains of the painter’s own home.
Marquis de la Vega Inclán managed to perfectly re-create some of the rooms, making El Greco’s house a popular sight in Toledo. Entry to the house museum costs 3 €.
Marquis de la Vega Inclán managed to perfectly re-create some of the rooms, making El Greco’s house a popular sight in Toledo. Entry to the house museum costs 3 €.

It was nice to combine a visit to the busy capital of Madrid with a visit to the smaller city of Toledo. Most importantly, my trip to Spain allowed me to practice my Spanish.

¡Hasta la proxima!

Vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona

Even though Spaniards love their jamón, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of vegetarian restaurants found in Barcelona. Barcelona is quite a big city, so it’s easy to find food for every taste. Below is a list of some of the restaurants I encountered during my time in Barcelona.

El Café Blueproject (Carrer Princesa 57)
A vegetarian café connected to an art gallery, its menu being a mix of warm vegetarian food and raw food. A meal costs around 15 €.

We enjoyed a platter of mixed vegetarian dishes.
We enjoyed a platter of mixed vegetarian dishes.

Teresa Carles (Carrer Jovellanos 2)
Very cosy interior, tasty food and refreshing juices! Mains are around 10 €, juices around 4 €.

Pumpkin and tempeh salad at Teresa Carles.
Pumpkin and tempeh salad at Teresa Carles.

Amrit (Carrer Verdi 18)
Syrian restaurant in Gràcia that we stumbled upon by accident. Super friendly staff and amazing food. Huge menu and bustling ambiance. We ate here twice!

Delicious falafel and refreshing mint tea at Ugarit.
Delicious falafel and refreshing mint tea at Amrit.

Juicy Jones (Carrer Hospital 74)
Like the name suggests, this is mainly a juice bar. They do have a short vegetarian menu, but nothing on the menu sounded appealing (think vegetarian junk food) so we only grabbed some juices and headed back to Amrit for the second time.

Juicy Jones does win the price of coolest interior.
Juicy Jones does however win the price of coolest interior.

Biocenter (Pintor Fortuny 25)
Just off La Rambla, Biocenter offers vegetarian, mostly organic food. Meals cost 7-13 €.

The interior of Biocenter was inspiring. The food, unfortunately, a bit bland.
The interior of Biocenter is inspiring. The food, unfortunately, a bit bland.

Govinda (Plaça de la Vila de Madrid 4)
Hare krishna restaurant with set lunch menu, salad buffet and a la carte. Much fancier than other hare krishna restaurants I’ve visited (this is seen in the prices as well).

Very sugary dessert at Govinda.
Very sugary dessert at Govinda.

Esmaca (Rambla de Catalunya 8)
Macrobiotic school near Plaça de Catalunya. You’re handed a piece of paper (in Spanish) on which the day’s foods are listed. You then tick the boxes for first course, main course and dessert. Open on weekdays during lunch. Fish is served once a week.

Probably the tastiest food of the trip. And so affordable - a three course meal costs  10,50 €.
Probably the tastiest food of the trip. And so affordable – a three course meal costs 10,50 €!

Miquetes Màgicues (Carrer del Trobador 20)
Another great macrobiotic restaurant, close to Hospital de Sant Pau. Run by two lovely ladies, who look like the epitome of health. Only open on weekdays during lunch. There’s an option of including fish in the meal. Three course menu 14,50 €.

The two floor, quiet restaurant was so cosy, it almost felt like being in someone’s home. The owners even kept the front door locked so no-one would burst in without knocking first :)

Enjoy your meal!

 

Yoga in the Catalan mountains

After spending a weekend in Tarragona, it was time to travel further south. I had booked a five night stay at a yoga retreat in Southern Catalonia. I took a train from Tarragona to L’ampolla which took about an hour.

I had organized a pick-up with Sarah, the owner of the yoga retreat, at 5 pm, but I arrived already around one o’clock and had time to eat lunch and have a look around L’ampolla (there isn’t much to see).

At 5 pm I met Sarah at the train station and we drove about 20 minutes to reach the yoga retreat. When I arrived, there was only one other guest, Marion, and two volunteers, Trent and Scotty. And not to mention the cutest cats and dogs!

Entry to Casa de Carrasco
Entry to Casa de Carrasco.
Sarah and her husband had created this magical place from scratch - including building a yoga deck, swimming pool, barbecue area and toilet block.
Sarah and her husband have created this magical place from scratch – including building a yoga deck, swimming pool, barbecue area, toilet block and a couple of casas.
Daisy asking for a scratch.
Daisy asking for a scratch.
Stella being cute.
Stella being cute.

The first day I walked with Marion and Scotty to visit Sarah’s mum, Cherry, who lives close by. She is an ayurvedic doctor and has such interesting stories to share. On her property there is labyrinth, which is used as a healing tool.

The environment on the way to Cherry’s house is quite rugged. There was a big fire a couple of years ago that wiped out a lot of the vegetation. Luckily Casa de Carrasco survived.
The views from Cherry's house were quite nice!
The views from Cherry’s house were quite nice!
Before stepping inte the labyrinth, you can set an intention. Once you’ve reached the middle, you can decide which way to face. North is for wisdom, East is for new beginnings, South is for awakenings and West is for letting go.
Let it remain a secret which direction I chose, but those of you who know me might guess. I got chills just from Cherry talking about how the labyrinth works, but once I walked it, I could really feel how powerful a place it is.

At the yoga retreat, guests can sleep in different sized tents or old stables converted into dwellings. You can also bring your own tent! I slept in a one-person tent. The price was 30 €/night which included a 90 minute yoga class plus breakfast.

The tent was so cosy! I was often late for yoga because of my comfortable mattress...
The tent was so cosy! I was often late for yoga because of my comfortable mattress… And to wake up to this view – not bad!

There was a yoga class every morning from 8 am to 9.30 am. Most days we practised in the sun on the beautiful outdoor yoga deck, but once we had to be inside due to strong winds. The style of yoga is Sivananda Fusion and I truly enjoyed it. And Sarah is such a positive and patient teacher!

Views from the yoga deck.
Views from the yoga deck.

Yoga was followed by a massive breakfast, consisting of porridge, yoghurt, jams, honey, croissants, cheese, eggs, fruit and cereal. Every morning you could also drink the delicious tea made out of leaves from one of the many organic olive trees on the property.

Besides olive trees, there were many almond trees in the area. Trent taught me how to pick and crack the almonds and I ate hundreds of them!
Besides olive trees, there are many almond trees in the area. Trent taught me how to pick and crack the almonds and I ate hundreds of them!

After yoga and breakfast, you could do whatever you wanted. Most days I did nothing. It was so good for my soul, I mean how often does that happen? I even read an entire 600-page book in five days, which would normally probably take me at least a month!

I had no idea what day it was, I had no internet or cell reception. I ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired. This was exactly how I wanted to spend my holiday.

In addition to yoga, Casa de Carrasco organizes canoe trips, paella cooking workshops, ayurvedic workshops, wine tastings, spa treatments etc. Since there were not many guest during my time there, I didn’t get a chance to join in any activities, since they usually only go through if there are enough participants.

Besides doing nothing and feeling damn good about it, I did get a chance to visit the nearby town of Miravet with Marion and Trent. Marion had a rental car and she was so kind to drive us to the little ferry crossing River Ebro. From the other side of the river we walked all the way to Miravet.

The ingenious ferry uses only the river current as its driving force.
The ingenious ferry uses only the river current as its driving force.
Miravet castle lies high up on a hill.
Miravet is most famous for its Templar castle, which lies high up on a hill.
Miravet Castle is the oldest fort in Catalonia.
Miravet Castle is the oldest fort in Catalonia.
From the top you could see for miles - we even saw a huge eagle flying higher and higher into the sky...
From the top you could see for miles – we even saw a huge eagle flying higher and higher into the sky…
River Ebro is Spain’s biggest river.
We headed back to the town and enjoyed cold drinks at a local café.
We headed back to the town and enjoyed cold drinks at a local café.
The town is full of quaint little houses.
The town is full of quaint little houses.

My stay at Casa de Carrasco exceeded all my expectations. The yoga was refreshing, the tent was cosy, the breakfast was delicious, the area was beautiful and the people were so kind hearted and open minded. I felt really sad to leave Casa de Carrasco. After only five days there, it had made a massive impact on me and I really wish to return one day.

Couchsurfing in Tarragona

On my way from Barcelona to L’ampolla, I wanted to stop along the way for a couple of nights. What I basically did, was just to look at a map and choose the biggest city in between the two, which turned out to be the old Roman town of Tarragona. The train from Barcelona to Tarragona takes about an hour and costs 5,60 € one way.

Since I had three nights in Tarragona, I decided to couchsurf. From my experience minimum three nights is ideal for both surfing and hosting. Anything shorter and you don’t have enough time to get to know each other very well! I was also staying from Friday to Monday, so I knew I’d have more time to spend with my potential host since people are usually busy working during weekdays.

I created an open couch request on Couchsurfing and received a handful of invitations, so it was super easy to find a host in Tarragona! I stayed in an apartment right in the city centre with my friendly host Elly and his lovely room mates Luca and Sara.

After settling down in my home for the weekend, Elly, his friends and I went walking around the city, sat in cafés and ate some tapas. The next day I walked around exploring the city.

On Saturday morning, a swapping market was organized on the square in front of Tarragona Cathedral.
I walked over this square…
…and back to the small streets.
This side street is lined with pillars, each one painted in a different way. Every year a festival is organized, where the pillars are re-painted!
These stairs lead down to the massive amphitheatre built in the second century.
I stopped by Tarragona Beach where I joined some locals for a picnic.
From the beach I continued my way back to the city centre and its colourful streets.
Rambla Nova, main street of Tarragona.
At the end of Rambla Nova you can find Balco del Mediterrani, a terrace on top of a cliff with great views of the Mediterranean.

In the evening I caught up with Elly and we spent the evening watching Eurovision at his apartment. I love that with Couchsurfing you can just live an everyday life somewhere else in the world!

On Sunday, Elly, his friends and I walked all the way to Pont del Diable, a massive aqueduct about 4 km from the city.

With Luca and Elly, my room mates for the weekend!
The narrow aquaduct is 250 metres long.

Tarragona is a good city for anyone interested in history. But since I had recently visited Rome, I might not have been so amazed by Tarragona. Still, it was a great place to visit for one weekend.

Spring in beautiful Barcelona

My list of places to visit is incredibly long, but Barcelona has always been quite high on that list. My mother Eila has also had it on her (much shorter) list so I invited her to come along when I headed to Barcelona in early May.

The biggest department store in Finland, Stockmann, has a huge sale twice a year. While I don’t enjoy the mass hysteria regarding the things they sell, I appreciate the cheap flights on offer. They’re direct flights with Finnair, and for European flights the prices are usually 100-200 euros cheaper than regular prices. This spring, a round trip flight from Helsinki to Barcelona cost 199 €.

I don’t like staying in hotels because they are usually impersonal and not good value for money. There are many websites where people offer their own apartments as holiday rentals, such as Airbnb, Wimdu, Homeaway, Housetrip and Roomorama. For our stay in Barcelona, we booked an apartment through Housetrip. A huge apartment with three bedrooms and two bathrooms cost 480 € for six nights.

The apartment was amazing and the location the best. The apartment was situated in Sant Andreu, a 20 minute metro ride from the city centre. I really enjoyed this neighbourhood, it had a true Catalan feel to it. I love staying in suburbs because there are no tourists around and you get a more authentic feel of the city. I can warmly recommend this neighbourhood – it’s full of orange trees, colourful houses, vivid people, small shops and cafés. Literally no-one speaks English, which is refreshing in a touristy city like Barcelona.

The view from our living room.
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A beautiful park in Sant Andreu.
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Many Catalans wish Catalonia to be independent – the Catalan flag can be seen hanging outside most balconies in Sant Andreu.
The houses are so colourful!
Orange trees grow on the streets.
Beautiful wall just around the corner from our apartment.
We spent many nights just walking around Sant Andreu taking in the ambiance of the neighbourhood.
We spent many nights just walking around Sant Andreu taking in the ambiance of the neighbourhood.

Day 1 – A day full of Gaudí

Barcelona is renowned for the buildings designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. On our first full day in Barcelona we headed to Casa Batlló, one of Gaudís most famous buildings.

The facade of Casa Batlló is full of small balconies resembling skulls or masks.
The facade of Casa Batlló is full of small balconies resembling skulls or masks.
Entry to the building costs 21,50 € and it includes an audioguide.
Entry to the building costs 21,50 € and it includes an audioguide.
We started our tour of Casa Batlló on the Noble Floor.
Terrace on the second floor.
The whole house is so decorative, you could spend years there discovering every detail.
Best part is, all the little gimmicks have a purpose. For example, the tiles in this staircase become darker towards the top, but the sun’s rays make all the tiles appear the same colour.
There are four massive chimneys on the roof.
Even the gift shop had some interesting details.
There’s not a single straight line in the house!
Casa Batlló is situated on Passeig de Gràcia. Even the tiles of this avenue are designed by Gaudí.
Casa Batlló is situated on Passeig de Gràcia. Even the tiles of this avenue are designed by Gaudí!

After getting our fair share of Gaudí we took the metro to Ciutadella Park.

It was a sunny day and the park was full of people.
It was a sunny day and the park was full of people.
Maybe I should change the name of the blog to Ammi's Jumps...
Maybe I should change the name of my blog to Ammi’s Jumps…
We continued our walk along small alleyways.
Door decorated with flowers.
Doors decorated with graffiti.
Vespas are very popular in Barcelona. I heard there are more vespas in Barcelona than in Rome!
We watched the locals live their life. And they watched us.
Or final stop was Arc de Triomf, situated right next to Ciutadella Park.

Day 2 – Beaches and parks

Barcelona lies right on the Spanish coast, so on our second day we went to Barceloneta Beach to marvel at the Mediterranean Sea.

Barceloneta Beach with W Hotel in the background.
Barceloneta Beach with W Hotel in the background.
We continued our journey to Montjuïc, a hill overlooking the city. We visited the Botanic gardens, where some kind of micro climate exists - it felt very hot all of a sudden! I also heard this is the only place where cacti and palm trees grow in unison.
We continued our journey to Montjuïc, a hill overlooking the city. We visited the Botanic gardens, where some kind of micro climate exists – it felt very hot all of a sudden! I also heard this is the only place where cacti and palm trees grow in unison.
We walked all the way up to the top of the hill.
We walked all the way up to the top of the hill.
The views at the top were great, you can see almost the entire city from here.
The views at the top were great, you can see almost the entire city from here.

Day 3 – Barcelona by bike and Parc Güell

There are more than 200 kilometres of bikeways in Barcelona, and as you would imagine, a ton of bicycle rental shops around the city. While Eila visited MNAC, I headed to Barcelona Rent A Bike. I rented a bike for 2 hours and it cost 6 €. Besides the bikeways, you’re allowed to bicycle on roads and sidewalks. Only the Ramblas are out of bounds for cyclists.

On my way from the metro to the bike rental I walked past the beautiful Palau Música.
On my way from the metro station to the bike rental, I walked past the beautiful Palau Música.
Local café with local art.
I also spotted this café with some interesting local art above it.
I started my bicycling tour along Passeig de Colom, a beautiful beach avenue lined with palm trees.
I started my bicycling tour along Passeig de Colom, a beautiful beach avenue lined with palm trees.
I continued along another street towards the Gothic Quarter.
I continued along another street towards the Gothic Quarter.
This little guy was enjoying the summer weather too.
This little guy was enjoying the summer weather too.
Dogs and bicycles are common sights on the streets of Barcelona.
Dogs and bicycles are common sights on the streets of Barcelona.
The best part about cycling around the city was getting lost in small alleyways...
The best part about cycling around the city was getting lost in small alleyways…
There were fruit shops in the corners.
There were fruit shops in the corners.
And art on the walls.
And art on the walls.
The dogs really are everywhere!
The dogs really are everywhere!
Right in the city centre of Barcelona you can find, Plaça de Catalunya, a huge square filled with people. And pigeons!
Right in the city centre of Barcelona you can find Plaça de Catalunya, a huge square filled with people – and pigeons!
This huge cathedral is the main sight in the Gothic Quarter.
The cathedral on the left is the main sight in the Gothic Quarter.
You can spot Gaudí's work all around the city.  Palau Güell is another one of his masterpieces.
You can spot Gaudí’s work all around the city. Palau Güell is another one of his masterpieces.
Plaça Reial. You can probably guess by now who designed the lanterns in this square...
Plaça Reial. You can probably guess by now who designed the lanterns in this square…
On my way back to the bike rental shop I just had to stop outside a building and go inside this symphatetic courtyard.
On my way back to the bike rental shop I just had to stop outside this building and go inside its sympathetic courtyard.

In the evening I caught up with Eila and we headed to Parc Güell, another one of Barcelona’s symbols as well as Gaudí’s masterpieces. The entry to Parc Güell is free, but to enter the monumental area you need to buy a ticket (7 €). The ticket allows you to enter the monumental area during a half an hour time slot. Once inside, you can spend as long as you want in the area. As we got to the park around 7 pm, there were no lines and we only needed to wait for half an hour to enter the monumental area. Before that we had time to visit the surrounding park.

The park outside the monumental area was well worth a visit with its colourful flowers and paths underneath shady trees.
The park outside the monumental area is well worth a visit with its fresh flowers and old viaducts.
First views of the monumental area. Nice and spacious in the evening!
First views of the monumental area. Nice and spacious in the evening!
The bench surrounding Plaça de la Natura is covered with colourful mosaic.
The bench surrounding Plaça de la Natura is covered with colourful mosaic.
Ammi's Jumps goes Dragon Stairway...
Ammi’s Jumps goes Dragon Stairway…
Halfway up the stairs the Catalan Coat of Arms shines red and yellow.
Halfway up the stairs, the Catalan Coat of Arms shines red and yellow.
This dragon is the most famous sight in the park. Not sure why...
This dragon is the most famous sight in the park. Not sure why…
At the top of the stairs you can find a colourful bench.
At the top of the stairs you can find a colourful bench.
Portico of Parc Güell.
The whole park is filled with colourful mosaics made out of tile shards.
The whole park is filled with colourful mosaics made out of tile shards.
The monumental area is quite small and can be easily explored in a short time.
One of the pavilions is painted a deep blue colour inside.

Before calling it a night, we checked out Casa Vicens, one of Gaudí’s first important buildings, located near Parc Güell.

Casa Vicens is for sale! Just in case someone has an extra 27 million euros lying around...
Casa Vicens is for sale! Just in case someone has an extra 27 million euros lying around…

Day 4 – Daytrip to Montserrat

After a couple of days in bustling Barcelona, we ventured out of the city towards Montserrat, a monastery up in the Catalan mountains.

The train from Barcelona to Montserrat takes about one hour. After the train arrives in Montserrat, you can decide if you want to head up to the monastery with cable car or scenic train. A round trip from Barcelona to Montserrat costs 19 € (including cable car or scenic train).

You can almost see the monastery from the train station.
You can almost see the monastery from the train station.
We opted for the scenic train which takes about 20 minutes from the train station to the monastery.
We opted for the scenic train which takes about 20 minutes from the train station to the monastery.
Looking back at the town of Montserrat from the scenic train.
Looking back at the town of Montserrat from the scenic train.
The monastery was founded over 1000 years ago.
The monastery was founded over 1000 years ago.
The women in the white shirts are choir memebers; a short concert is organized inside the chapel each day at 1 pm.
The women in the white shirts are choir members; a short concert is organized inside the chapel each day at 1 pm.
Inside the chapel the adult choir performed, shortly followed by a boys choir.
Inside the chapel the adult choir performed, shortly followed by a boys choir.
Views from the inner courtyard.
Views from the inner courtyard.
In front of the monastery there is a massive terrace where you can sit and enjoy the views.
Hundreds of years ago, pilgrims used to walk all the way up to the monastery! Luckily, nowadays there are several shorter hiking paths to explore the area.
The views from Montserrat monastery down to the valley are magnificient.
The cable car travels between the monastery and the town.
Taking in the fresh mountain air.
Windy at the top!
The monastery is pretty big, with only a portion open to the public.
There are no proper restaurants at the monastery (just over-priced junk food and candy) so we headed back to Barcelona for lunch.

After eating lunch, we visited La Boqueria, a massive market in the centre of the city.

The busy La Boqueria is situated on La Rambla, Barcelona's main boulevard. Here you can find various food items for sale, from fresh fish to exotic fruit.
The busy La Boqueria is situated on La Rambla, Barcelona’s main boulevard. Here you can find various food items for sale, from fresh fish to exotic fruit.
Ah, the colours! La Boqueria can definitely be enjoyed with all senses.
Ah, the colours! La Boqueria can definitely be enjoyed with all senses.

Day 5 – Hospital de Sant Pau and Sagrada Familia

On our last day in Barcelona we went to Hospital de Sant Pau. A functioning hospital until 2009, it is now a major tourist attraction with its decorative details.

The hospital is a classic example of Catalan architecture.
The hospital is a classic example of Catalan architecture.
Inner courtyard of Hospital de Sant Pau.
Inner courtyard of Hospital de Sant Pau.
Looking at the detailed decorations of Hospital de Sant Pau, you can really start noticing where Gaudí drew his inspiration from.
Looking at the detailed decorations of Hospital de Sant Pau, you can really start noticing where Gaudí drew his inspiration from.

From the hospital we headed towards Sagrada Familia, probably Barcelona’s main attraction and a symbol of the city. We had walked past Sagrada Familia previously but the lines were so long that we had not went inside. Now, around 4 pm on a Thursday afternoon, the line was really short. There are severeal different tickets, with audioguides, entry to the highest tower etc. Regular entry costs 14,80 €. Similar to Parc Güell, you are given a time of entry to the Sagrada Familia.

Sagrada Familia.
Sagrada Familia’s towers reach high up into the sky.
Sagrada Familia is known for being a never-ending work in progress. It does however have an estimated completion date of late 2020's!
Sagrada Familia is known for being a never-ending work in progress. It does however have an estimated completion date of late 2020’s!
The exterior of Sagrada Familia is extremely detailed.
The exterior of Sagrada Familia is extremely detailed.
The exterior of Sagrada Familia looks quite strange in my opinion, but inside it's one of the most amazing buildings I've entered. You can really tell that this was Gaudí's pride and joy.
The exterior of Sagrada Familia looks quite strange in my opinion, but inside it’s one of the most impressive buildings I’ve entered. You can really tell that this was Gaudí’s pride and joy.
Every pillar is a different colour.
Every pillar is a different colour.
The altar of Sagrada Familia bathes in natural light from the massive stained glass windows.
The altar of Sagrada Familia bathes in natural light from the massive windows.
The glass stained windows create magical reflections all over the basilica.
The stained glass windows create magical reflections all over the basilica.
Detail of the roof.
Detail of the roof.
me
The interior of Sagrada Familia was definitely my top sight in Barcelona!
Detail of the great doors. In the square there are numbers - when combined in certain ways, they create the number 33, the alleged age of Jesus's death.
Detail of the great doors. In the small square there are numbers – when combined in certain ways, they create the number 33, the alleged age of Jesus’s death.
Another detail of the exterior decorations.
Another detail of the exterior decorations.
Inner courtyard of Sagrada Familia.
Inner courtyard of Sagrada Familia.
The basilica is huge – you can continue downstairs and wonder at this crypt, which also contains the tomb of Antoni Gaudí.

Our last night was topped off with a stop at Gràcia Latina, a small bar in the Gràcia neighbourhood where they organize free flamenco shows every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The dancer had so much energy, you could sense the passion in her every movement and facial expression. This combined with live music and song made it an amazing experience!

Flamenco in Bar Gracia Latina.
Flamenco in Bar Gràcia Latina.

I truly enjoyed Barcelona, it’s a big and varied city so every day was filled with new experiences. There are many tourists in La Rambla and around, so I recommend venturing a bit outside of the city centre for a more authentic experience.

I had so much fun travelling with Eila who - in addition to being an amazing mother - is definitely one of my best friends. Love her to bits! ♥
I had so much fun travelling with Eila who – in addition to being an amazing mother – is definitely one of my best friends. Love her to bits! ♥