Barcelona, Spain: July 2001

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Arriving in Barcelona for the first time in the middle of summer you really notice the heat..and we are all excited for some beach time. But first it was exploring time. we were position at the Hotel Rivoli Rambla right on touristic La Rambla. Heading out into the streets of the Gothic Quarter we were immediately struck with the mix of architecture styles from early Gothic right through to the modernist Art Nouveau and of course the majestic Antoni Gaudi.

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We were very excited to see as much as we could in the 5 days we had here so on our first day we went to the Cathedral, The Mercat De la Boqueria, Picasso museum, Placa Real and just explored every street and lane we could.

We enjoyed an amazing meal at the historic 4 Gats restaurant which was established in 1897 and has been operating ever since. the food, the service, the atmosphere and the setting were delightful and we would all highly recommend it.

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Down at the waterfront it was very 1992 Olympic Games but also very effective in opening up the old town to the fabulous waterfront and a new public space.

A really big highlight was our visit to La Pedrera, Casa Mila, Gaudi’s apartment building masterpiece, so seeing all over the building and inside the model apartment really gave us a great insight into not only Gaudi’s insightful mind but also a slice of 1900’s life.

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The detailed exterior and exterior and the unique organic railings were striking against the smooth curved lines of the limestone facade. and then in the foyers and light well there is a fanciful play with light, vibrant colour and texture.

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The Place Real is the beating heart of the old town with people everywhere and plenty of European drugies walking the beat.

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But the big highlight was our visit to the incompareable Sagrada Familia which is now back into full swing with construction in abundance. Despite the construction we were able to wander through the interiors and were able to get a great insight of what is to come. We were entranced and will be back again i imagine many time to follow progress.

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The gothic Quarter was just fantastic to wander around and we found so many beautiful courtyards and staircases. Another wonderful discovery was the underground Roman city of Barcino where you can enter through the Museo d’historic de Barcelona and explore another world from 2,000 years ago.Screen Shot 2019-04-11 at 10.26.07 am

One of the best things to do when in Barcelona is to utilise the Bus Touristic where you can get around this vast city really easy so we went up past the Parc de Joan Miro with its ceramic tiled bird like creature to Parc de Montjuic walking up from the Placa de Espanya and up the steps past the cascades with an amazing view over the city.

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On the top of the hill sits the fabulous Foundation de Joan Miro, a contemporary Modernist style building which is full of amazing paintings, tapestries and sculptures from one of our favourite artists.

Barcelona is one of those cities that just keeps giving and Gaudi is one of those geniuses who left a lasting legacy for all to enjoy. One of his whimsical creations is the Parc Guell, a turn of the century new suburb with adventure gardens and caverns, platforms and covered market spaces as well as a pair of gingerbread gate houses. Unfortunately the development never took off as people saw that it was too far from the city centre and therefore only 6 houses were ever built including gouda’s own home that he did not even design. it was designed by his engineer!

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The amazing entry into Parc Guell with its iconic mosaic lizard and covered market structure with roof top plaza and curved seating.

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We had a lovely day at the beach at Platja Ca la Nuri where we all managed to get a bit sunburnt before enjoying a seafood lunch at the Mediterranean Restaurant.

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ann & Amy got a taxi back to the hotel as they had enough sun but Beth & Johnwalked back via the Parc De la Ciutadella and its fabulous Cascades and onto the Arch de Triomf.

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On a wet and wild day we jumped on a train and headed off to Montserrat and then up the cable car to the Monastery and church. it was crazy busy and people were going ape over the black baby jesus. The mountains were majestic with their phallic rock spires and wild setting.

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for our last day in Barcelona we visited the sublime Palau de la Musica with its amazing external corner sculpture and mosaics on steroids that are unlike anything we have seen before. This stunning building was designed by one of Gouda’s teachers and you can see his influence in so much of Gouda’s work. The difference was that even though Lluis Domenech was avant Garde and experimental to the extreme he was still constrained by traditional form, function and lineal design. bur boy was he magical in his execution.

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The inverted dome stained glass citing in the theatre is beyond belief and the sculpture design around the stage as well as the ceramics and mosaics were to behold.

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we visited casa battle but were unable to see inside so hopefully that will happen one day but its skeletal exterior and dragoon like skin was stunning

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Palau Guell was our last stop and as gouda’s first creation you could see Domenech’s influence but it is distinctively Gaudi and no where else more so is this evident but on the roof with the whimsical chimney pots.

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