After all the excitement from the night before, I was the first to get up, get ready and whilst the others sorted themselves out I ventured out to buy us some breakfast. I love walking around in the mornings watching everyone go about their daily business and I could see a lot of people heading towards the bakery across the road. So I decided to follow and pick up a number of pastries to get us through the day. I got totally carried away with all the mini versions they had on show and ended up buying a selection of croissants, pain au chocolat and donuts.
We all enjoyed another lovely family breakfast staring out the dining room window at the Sagrada Familia excited that today would be the day we get to go and look inside.
Well that idea quickly started to fade away the moment we walked out of our apartment block and saw group after group of tourists heading towards the Sagrada. We manoeuvred ourselves around them to try and get there first but there was no point really, the queues for tickets were already pretty massive.
Luckily one of the Sagrada staff was handing out flyers in case people wanted to book a time slot online and we thought as we live so close, it was worth coming back another day with a pre-booked ticket instead of having to deal with standing around for what could have been hours.
With that knocked off our list of things to do we headed over to the tourist bus information kiosk for Barcelona City tours (right opposite the main entrance to the Sagrada), to book on the hop on-hop off bus for the day. The ladies at the kiosk were helpful, processed our transactions quickly, answered our questions, gave us our maps and headphones and we went to the join the queue at the bus stop.
We used the bus as our mode of transport for the whole day, it was brilliant. The buses arrive every 15 minutes, we got a seat every time and because we wanted mum to enjoy all the sights without having to do too much walking she was able to get some rest in between exploring.
Preparing for a full day out
Before we set out in the morning, we had planned ahead to make mum as comfortable as possible during the day. We had learnt from day 1, that Barcelona doesn’t really do ‘comfy’ seats, even in the restaurants, so we carried a small pillow in a backpack throughout the day so whenever we sat down, whether it was on the bus or in a café, mum was able to relax and not worry about excess pain to her back. We also made sure everyone had hats (it was HOT), couple of water bottles and full camera batteries.
Our first stop was Park Guell. Our original plan excluded Park Guell from our list of things to see that day, purely because we thought it would involve a lot of walking to reach the Gaudi architecture it was famous for. As it was the first one though we decided to give it a shot, knowing if it was getting too much we could just hop back onto the bus again. Luckily even though the park was a bit of a trek up the hill, there were plenty of escalators to get us up there.
We didn’t pay the entrance to get up close and personal to the Gaudi monuments such as The Dragon Stairway and the Porters lodge, but its free to walk in and see these wonders from afar. We had our lunch at a cafe overlooking the Nature Square, where we had wonderful views of the city.
Bellies full we headed back to the bus, taking a slightly different route to walk past the main Park Guell entrance and see more of Gaudi’s tile mosaic handiwork.
Didn’t have to wait long till our red bus parked up and off we went, up to Tibidabo and then back down towards our next stop: La Pedrera, also known as Casa Mila. We had with us a number of voucher booklets that had been left for us in our apartment, which offered a discount of The Pedrera entrance fee, useful when you’re a group of 6!
Is it worth going in? Oh yea. What a place. This was my first time inside a Gaudi building and I was sold. I was in awe, in love. The materials, the light, the organic curves, the eccentricity of the whole thing was beautiful. We walked through the Courtyard and headed for the lift to get up to the top. The lift takes you to the attic space, where you wil find the only exhibition dedicated to Gaudi’s life and work.
From here, there’s a spiral staircase taking you onto the roof terrace, do NOT. MISS. THIS. If you are familiar with Gaudis work (which I admit before we went I never gave him a second thought) you will recognise the striking forms that are like nothing else in the architectural landscape of the area
We spent a fair bit of time just looking out over the terrace and made sure to visit the Pedrera apartment before we left. Unfortunately the street side of the building was in the process of being renovated so we couldn’t appreciate the beauty of the building as a whole… all the more reason to come back though eh.
Back on the bus we headed to the next Gaudi masterpiece, Casa Batllo. Quick photo opp outside, quick tea break and then hopped on to get to Plaza Catalunya.
Here we strolled along to explore the top end of La Rambla. All of us drawn into looking at different shops and stalls. As it happens, mum started to get a bit peckish so her and dad headed towards a Stirfry cafe, a great shout as it just so happened to be right next to the famous Mercat de la Boqueria.
After nosying around the exotic food stalls, there are many many streets to wander through. Unless you have lots of time… may be worth using a map, can get quite tricky finding your way. We were looking to get to the Catedral, ticking it off our tourist list as well as being able to hop on the bus from the street alongside it.
The last lap
It was around 6ish by the time we reached and we were getting to the point of exhaustion. We could have taken taxis straight home, but thought whilst we still had our bus tickets, it would be nice to travel along the rest of the route back to Casa Batllo, which is where we had planned to get some dinner.
So we did. It was a great way to see a number of sights that we wouldn’t have been able to spend time at such as Camp Nou, the Olympic Stadium, Torre de Calatrava etc.
Back at Casa Batllo, it looked all the more spectacular when illuminated against the darkness of the night. By this point, we were all pretty shattered. We decided to taxi it back and pick up food from near the apartment.
A good nights sleep was definitely in order to get us through to Day 3…