Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I enjoy going round an unknown city on an open-top bus. It helps me get my bearings (sadly lacking), gives you an idea of the size of a city and takes you past many of the sites worth visiting. As we only had three and a half days in Barcelona, and l'Homme was there on business, there is no way we could have visited all the sites. We decided to go and take a trip out to the Park Guell so my wish was granted to take a bus - the weather was lovely and taking the Metro didn't sound too much fun! After the hectic pace of the city centre, the Park Guell is wonderful.

Designed by Antoni Gaudi, it was originally intended to be a housing development, but due to lack of funds, the project never saw the light of day. It was eventually bought by the city of Barcelona and is now a municipal park. Everyone who visits Barcelona knows the dragon at the entrance and the souvenir shops are full of copies - it was vandalised in the early part of the year, but is now fully restored.

The stroll to the top is worth it for the wonderful view looking down over the city. The day we were there it was rather hazy, but we could still make out all the major sites. The view of the Sagrada Familia is unfortunately ruined as there is an enormous and very ugly development of flats/offices blocking it. How this was allowed beats me.

The main terrace of course is internationally reknowned, snaking its way round the viewpoint. What I didn't know was the shape of the seats was determined by Gaudi by getting the workmen to sit in the wet clay with their trousers down! After a welcome beer and a half an hour of people watching, we were off to catch the bus to continue round the city. The second half of the trip is slightly less interesting, unless you are a football fan and want to visit the FC Barcelona, but we decided we liked the FC Barcelona as they support UNICEF instead of having enormous logos of 'phone companies on their shirts...

Towards the end of the tour as we neared the sea, it did start to get a bit chilly - the thermometres in the streets were saying anything between 25 and 27 degrees - they were definitely wrong. I was frozen! We could have gone downstairs but the whole thing becomes pointless. So if you take the bus trip, take a sweater with you if the wind is coming off the sea.

Drop-off on the pla├ža Catalunya, back to the hotel to leave camera, grab a sweater and off again in search of a good restaurant, followed by a good bar to end off the evening! By the second day I was being to get into the swing of going to bed at an hour when I am normally getting up!

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