From Granada, we took a plane from the Granada Airport to Barcelona Airport. The journey time is less than 2 hours. From Barcelona Airport to the city, we took the Aerobus from Terminal 1 and alight at Plaza de Catalunya. The initial plan was to get to the city and take the local subway to Sagrada Familia Station, where our accommodation, Hotel Sagrada Familia is located at. However, we missed the last train and ended up taking a cab to the hotel instead. Cab fare was less than 10 Euro as it was a very short distance from our current location to the hotel. Hotel Sagrada Familia is a decent hotel, the room that we stayed in was very clean. We did not opt for the breakfast buffet as it requires additional charges. As the hotel is located at a good location, there are some cafes nearby that usually open early to serve breakfast. The good thing about this hotel is that their counter is open 24 hours which is a good news for us and as well as people who take late night flights to reach the city.
Our first stop in Barcelona was to visit Sagrada Familia, designed by Antoni Gaudi. Before travelling to Spain, I have booked the tickets with tour online. Do book earlier if you would like to join the guided tour. They have a few timings to choose from, depending on your schedule. I personally like the guided tour as it was interesting to understand the history of this building. Right now, the building is only completed halfway and I would really like to re-visit this place again in future.
From Sagrada Familia, we took a train to Paral.lel Station to have lunch. I would recommend to buy T10 Zone 1 at 9.95 euro, which allows us to take 10 trips within Zone 1 region. The card can be shared among your travelling buddies and can be use on bus and train. The tapas place we went to for lunch – La Tasqueta de Blai – served very decent and reasonably price tapas and beers. Their tapas are on their bar counter, you can just pick and choose whichever you like and just remember to retain the toothpicks as they charged the tapas by counting the number of toothpicks you had on your plates.
After lunch, using Google Map, we walked to a bus stop to take Bus 150 to Castell de Montjuic, a fortress that is really pretty. The entrance fee to the fortress is 5 euro. I think students do get more discounts as there were some students who queued in front of us showed their student passes to the ticket counter lady to receive student price tickets.
Our next stop is to visit Museu Picasso, which is located near Urquinaona station. Every Thursday, their opening hours will be extended to 9.30pm and the entrance fee is 11 euro. I guess people who loves art might be able to appreciate Picasso’s drawings. The range of art pieces started from really very early when you get to see sketches of people, places, nature etc to drawings that are more abstract. A great place that I would recommend to people who love and appreciate art in different forms.
After art appreciation, it was time for dinner. Initially the plan was to go to this burger place but as we were so tired, and we saw this pasta place that was really in need of some good ratings on Tripadvisor, we thought why not just give it a try. So we step into Maccaroni and have a look at their menu. I would say the menu has a comprehensive list of ingredients that you can choose from to make your own pasta. Their pasta portions were huge and we also ordered a plate of salad for sharing. We almost could not finish the pasta. I hope that pasta place is still around if I am back to to Spain in future as I did give really good score and review on Tripadvisor.
On our second day in Barcelona, our first stop was Parc Guell. The nearest station is Vallcarca but the walk from the train station to the entrance was kind of far, about 15 mins walk up the slope, with the help of escalators. Parc Guell is a very complicated place as it has a few entrances and somehow that one entrance we had entered through got us to the back of the park. Nevertheless, we managed to find our way to the other side of the park. The design of this park was really awesome but it was incomplete in a way. The initial plan by Eusebi Guell was to develop the place into a housing site and he hired Antoni Gaudi to design the place. But, at that time, only two houses was built and Gaudi had stayed in one the houses. The design of the structure was really very unique, especially the mosaic design on the terrace and on the ceiling. I would say this is a good place to relax and enjoy the fresh air.
From Parc Guell, we took the wrong exit and ended up taking longer time to reach Las Delicias which should be a few bus stops away from Parc Guell. Las Delicias is a restaurant located in a quiet neighbourhood. They served very nice western food at decent price. My sister would recommend Secreto Iberico, i.e. the grilled black pork and I do agreed that it was really delicious.
After lunch, the place to visit is Colonial Guell, another Gaudi’s design. To get to this place, we took FGC from Plaza Espana to reach Colonial Guell. The lines to take are S4, S8 and S33. Remember to buy a Zone 2 ticket as we almost paid a fine when we used the Zone 1 ticket to enter and leave the station. From Colonial Station, cross the roads and follow the blue footprints to get to the visitor centre for Colonial Guell. As Colonial Guell is huge, it will take about 3 hours to explore. Gaudi’s Crypt is a must place to visit.
From Colonial Guell, we traveled back to the city by FGC and went on to visit Boqueria Food Market which opens until 8pm that day. To get to the market, alight at Liceu station. Here, we bought some turrons to give to family and friends as souveniers. Turrons are similar to nougats but they are softer and have more flavors available.
From the market, visit the Las Ramblas and walk towards the Plaza de Catalunya directions. Here, there are a lot of boutique shops that sells shoes, clothes, turrons etc. I bought quite a few shoes and accessories for myself. Plaza de Catalunya will big brands like Mango, Zara, Stradivarius etc.
On our third day, we had signed up for the free walking tour for old city. The meeting point is at Plaza Reial, close to Liceu station. Our tour guide was an English lady who had been in Spain for years. She first started off with the Spanish history in a comedy-way and then follow by the tour to quite a number of places. During the tour, she will also take a bit of the history to give us some contexts. By the end of the tour, we just tip her to thank her for bringing us around. The tour was very interesting and the tour guide is very patient and willing to answer your questions. She can also provide some suggestions like the place to go for lunch and turron shopping.
After the walking tour, we went to Creps al Born which is located nearby for crepes and hot coffee as the temperature seems to drop quite a bit in Barcelona. The crepes are decent and price is reasonable. From the crepes place, we traced back footsteps to visit the two markets that we had passed by during the walking tour. We bought quite a bit of goat cheese and Pate from one of the markets. They provide food tasting which we really get to try before buying. The second market sells mainly accessories and some of the items were made from recycled materials. Although the items were not cheap, I still bought a iPhone 5 cover which has this owl icon that will remind me of Spain.
From Liceu, we took a train to Passeig de Gracia, where all the branded shops are located. The street has Zara, Mango etc which are usually cheaper compared to Singapore’s outlets.
So, this is the last post about Spain. FINALLY!!!
I will try to blog again about my first Japan trip soon. Please look forward to that=)