Thursday, 18 September 2008

All About Gaudi

Barcelona is known for its "Gaudi' architecture. Gaudi is actually the legendary Spanish architect. Born in Catalunya, he created many well known buildings and a sky-scrapper of Sagrada Familia
and his design must be without edges.

Some people said that he is crazy, some people said he is too much talented. In my personal opinion, he is great. He designed buildings with close adaptation to nature. I have not seen much of his creation. I only visited Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, the 2 famous casas in Barcelona, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila. Even tough I only have a thorough exploration of Parc Guell, it is amazing. Seriously amazing. It is difficult to describe so, here are pictures to see. And, seeing it first hand is never be the same by looking at pictures. It is highly recommend that for those who visiting Barcelona, visit at least the legendary Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell.

The Guard House at Parc Guell, from the carriage parking lot...

The dragon which is always mistakenly as lizards, the 'mascot' of Barcelona at Parc Guell

This is the runaway for American Next Top Model, whom the winner was CariDee. Unfortunately, I did not know where I saved a better shot. Also at Parc Guell.
One of the casa..
And the view to inside from roof top. I told ya, NO EDGES.
The legendary Sagrada Familia, completed but not yet complete. Addition is made from time to time to realised the blue print.

I have a lot of pictures of Gaudi's creation, inside and outside. But to upload here, can never match the experienced being at the place. I feel like transported to topsy turvy town, wonderland, looneytune town, all in once. So, what are you waiting for?

Saturday, 13 September 2008

The Magic Fountain of Montjuic

The Magic Fountain of Montjuic

The magic fountain is a spectacular display of colour, light, motion, music and water acrobatics - all elements mixed in one.It is pure magic! Colourful, spectacular, with many audience. I really mean MANY. It is difficult to get the the fountain, but we manage to 'swim' among the people, with the baby stroller just to get a rainy splash of water. Some audience even brought their umbrella for cover up.

Wish I could upload the sound and the splash of water.

The history of this magic fountain started with the idea of Carles Buigas for Great Universal Exhibition. He submitted his plans one year before the exhibition and many thought that the project was too ambitious to be created, let alone completed on time. Over 3000 workers were commissioned to work on the project and less than 1 year later the magic fountain was born. At last, the magic fountain of Montjuïc's made its debut on May 19, 1929.

The magic fountain is a "must see" when you come to Barcelona and highly recommended. So, take note of its performances schedule!

Performance times of the Magic Fountain of Montjuic:

October to April
Fridays and Saturdays from 19:00 to 21:00
Music sessions: 19:00, 19:30, 20:00, 20:30

Summer: (May to September)
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 21.30 to 23:30 pm
Music Sessions: 21:30, 22:00, 22:30, 23:00 and 23:30 pm

How to get to the magic fountain of Montjuic

Metro: Placa Espanya (Green Line, L3) and (Red Line, L1)

(Fare: 1.44 Euro/person/journey)

Friday, 29 August 2008

La Rambla

Asking for direction from Chris Columbus

La Rambla is the icon of Barcelona, a busy street right in the city center, popular with both tourists and locals alike. A 1.2 kilometer-long tree-lined pedestrian mall in the Barri Gothic, it connects Placa Catalunya in the center with the Christopher Columbus monument at Port Vell. Usually full of street theater, cafés and market stalls, it serves as the emotional hub of Barcelona.

Street performers, playing their songs. Sometimes some of the audience dance according to the ryhtm, including me...

When walking down La Rambla one can visit its many small shops or enjoy watching the various performances (actors, mimes etc.).

Our friend, Rezal, with the 'moment' of his life.

Cafes and restaurants on La Rambla often charge steep prices. So, for tourists on budget, indulge on any good smell you can get. But I have to admit, most of the restaurants on this street serve a good paella. With a condtion of "I have no idea what a genuine paella taste like", I recommend people to get one at any restaurant located here. Regardless of the sky shooting price, it is worth. Usually a paella marinera will cost about 20 Euro.

Paella marinera...colorful and delicious.

La Rambla can be crowded, especially during prime time tourist season. Most of the time, there are many more tourists than locals occupying las Ramblas -- this has changed the shopping selection, as well as the character of the street in general. For this reason also, it has become a prime target for pickpocketing. Lots of unwary tourists have had their wallets stolen on this street. Most recently robbery has also become an issue, even during daylight hours. So, while enjoying the stroll, keep checking your pocket and bag. A securely zipped bag can be opened without been realized.

Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca once said that La Rambla was "the only street in the world which I wish would never end". I agree. The street performers, the art exhibition, even the visitors always have something that catch my attention.

The name rambla means, in Catalan, but also in Spanish, an intermittent water flow, and is derived from the Arabe word, which means 'sandy riverbed'. I can't see the river but nonetheless I love killing my time there.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Montjuic Mountain

What is the view like?
The city of Barcelona, spectacular!

Montjuic mountain or Jewish mountain has been, throughout its history, the protagonist events, some glorious and victorious, other less or so. This mountain offer visitors many different facets, history, culture, leisure, sport, etc, etc...

I am not fancy about the history, the glory. What caught me off-guard is the journey there. We have to ride a cable car to have a view to die for. The view of the whole city of Barcelona took my breath away. Barcelona is big, errr I mean BIG. Never in my life I saw a city soo big. We can see Sagrada Familia, Tibidabao, the sea, the port. It was the view that we saw on the plane when we first arrive here, 11 months ago.

Up there, is a fort, called Montjuic Castell, now acted as Meseu Militar
has been, in part, a symbol of oppression oven the centuries, as it was used to torture and execute the leaders of the Setmana Tràgica in 1909 and Lluís Companys, president of the Generalitat de Catalunya in 1940, among others. The oldest monument as it was built during the end of 17th century.

We were mesmerized by the view. Barcelona is beautiful, no doubt about that. It able to make me just enjoyed the view, say nothing. Just mesmerized.....

Montjuic Mountain
How to go?
From Placa Catalunya:
Metro Line 3, stop at Paral-lel, then funicular to Parc de Monjuic (Fare 0.72 Euro/the whole trip/person)

Cable car to the Castell (Fare 7.50 Euro/round trip/person

Sunday, 24 August 2008

La Roca Village

Crazy about prices? - Yes! Crazy about dresses for my baby girl? - Yes!
My love one, patiently waiting for his wife to finish looking...

La Roca Village has the biggest and brightest brands in fashion, at prices reduced by up to 60%. It is true. But, you have to be bothered to make the trip to this outer Barcelona "outlet village." I hate the train change and its long and uncomfortable bus ride, but those who do will be rewarded with up to 60% off over 50 brands, from high-fashion labels such as Roberto Verino, Versace, and Carolina Herrera; shoes from Camper; luxury leather ware from Loewe and Mandarina Duck; and even sportswear from the likes of Billabong and Timberland. I got my Burberry polo t-shirt for only 10 Euro! So if you are crazy about brand names, this is the right place for you. The setting is actually quite pleasant with a playground for the kids, cafes, and the like, and the savings here are legendary.

And nearby, just walking distance, located Mango (aka MNG) and Nike outlets. Another names that added to your long journey worthiness, plus unbelievable prices. If you want to come here, please ensure you have all day to stroll and drain all the reserves (energy and that you have.

How to go?
Take RENFE to Granollers Centre, then a special bus to La Roca. The bus is once in every hour, so schedule your journey carefully.
Fare: 1.30 Euro/person/journey for train
0.72 Euro/person/journey for the bus (40-minute bus ride)

Mercat Del Encants

Junk? Not so, but so so..
Entrants to the market, only open on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

Mercat Del Encants

One of Barcelona’s largest and best loved flea markets, this place is bizarre! All items are sold, old and new, and I mean all items, you get power tools next to antiques next to cosmetics. There is a lot of rubbish (and oddly a lot of “adult” videos and stuff - strange..) and some of the vendors just pour all their stuff onto a cloth in front of them so you have to sift through everything. I myself collecting designer's perfume bottle and last time I got one for 0.50 Euro! And a story book for free..hehehe ...

Talk about bargaining skill, here is the best place you could try all the tricks that you have in bargaining. Saturday is the busiest day and most sellers are there till they flooded outside the market itself. So, avoid it if you’re just a casual browser, and if you’re looking for real bargains arrive early. If you look for things for free, stay till late while they are cleaning up. Wish for lady luck at your side. Usually, at 12:00 the unsold goods drop in price. The furniture in the big hall to the side of the market is incredible and worth a look in. And who knows the treasure that you might find.

Bargaining is expected and fun! The market is meant to carry on until the afternoon but most stalls tend to pack up at midday. Also, a lot of the stalls close for August.

How to go?
Plaça de les Glories Catalanes
C. Dos de Maig, 186
Metro: Glories, (Red Line, L1)
Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat from 08:30

From my house: Take RENFE till San Andreu Arenal, change to Metro Fabra i Puig to Glories.
(Fare: 1.30 Euro/person/journey)

Saturday, 23 August 2008

La Boqueria


La Boqueria, also known as Mercat de Sant Josep, is probably Barcelona’s best-known market, ideally situated just off La Rambla. This market is a must whether sourcing ingredients for a fine meal or just wandering through. It´s an assault on the senses with smells coming from the fish to fruit (but for me it is no market without is distinctive smell of market). The food sold ranges from ready-made fresh fruit salads or freshly squeezed juice for the tired tourist, to literally fresh out of the sea still moving crabs and lobsters (maybe you would also like to look out for the whole sheep´s head!?) For tourists, do not be tempted to buy freshly squeezed juice at the first stall you see as the price is expensive. 2.50 Euro per cup. Try to go to the next stall you see on the left. You can find the price is better. Instead of paying 2.50 Euro, get the exactly similar cup for 1.50 Euro. Not to mention the bright sweet counters that will act like a magnet for any child (or adult!). Fancy to buy eggs? What kind? Chicken? Duck? Geese? Or Ostrich? Decide for yourself!

How to go?

La Rambla de Sant Josep
Metro: Liceu, (Green Line, L3)
Mon-Fri: 08:00 - 20:30
Sat: 08:00 - 20:00

From Placa Catalunya: 10 minutes walking distance
From my house: 23 minutes by RENFE (train fare: 1.30Euro/person/journey)