Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Barcelona

Recently, a dear cousin happened to be in Barcelona for a day before she embarked on a cruise. I love to see family so took a quick trip to my favourite Spanish city to spend the day with her. We packed a lot in and had fun.

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Cousins at Plaça Catalunya in Barcelona

We managed to see quite a bit and catch up on family news. One place she really wanted to see was Gaudi’s Sagrada Família. Every time I visit this amazing work in progress, more parts of it have been completed. She was awestruck, as everyone is when they it.

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Happy to see La Sagrada Família

After a bus trip around the city and a delightful lunch on Passeig de Gràcia we visited another of Gaudi’s magical buildings, Casa Batlló, all decked out with roses.

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Casa Batlló dressed in roses

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Inside Casa Batlló

The roses were in honour of St. George’s Day or Día de San Jorge as it is known here in Spain. I loved all the references to roses and books scattered about the intriguing house.

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I found out later that Día de San Jorge is also known as the day of books and roses. A day where lovers exchange books and roses to honour the legend of St. George or San Jorge, who is the patron saint of Catalonia.

We ended the day by strolling along La Rambla and having dinner on this iconic street. This building covered in umbrellas with a dragon on the corner caught our attention.

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An umbrella building on La Rambla

I had the next morning to myself before flying back home so after a cafe con leche and a chocolate filled croissant across from Plaça Catalunya, I decided to walk to the Gothic Quarter which was nearby. I came upon the impressive Barcelona Cathedral built between the 13th and 15th centuries, the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona. Beside it is the Gaudi Exhibition Museum. Since this had been a very Gaudi trip,  I went into the museum and had a good look around. The displays depicted items from the great man’s life and things that influenced his work.  It was very informative and I got to know more about Antoni Gaudi and how he came up with his unique ideas.

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The legend of St. George slaying the dragon influenced Gaudi’s work. In fact, the roof of Casa Batllo is meant to look like the back of a dragon with a sword through it.

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Gaudi’s workbench

The building housing the exhibition was incredible. It was built in the 12th century as a hospital for the poor. Gaudi himself was a patron and would often visit the sick. Remains of the old walls and frescos added to the experience. It was well worth the visit.

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And when I went back outside, a bride and groom were preparing for a photo shoot by the cathedral. How special.

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And an orchestra played music on the steps of the cathedral

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People in the audience joined hands and danced to the music.

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The sun shone, music played, people danced and I was overflowing with happiness. A perfect little getaway to a city that never ceases to amaze me and a chance to see a family member.

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Don’t you just love this outfit made of fresh flowers?

We are off on a driving holiday to France so I may be offline for a few days, but will respond to your comments as soon as possible.

There are just so many things to see and do in Barcelona that it’s impossible to see everything in one visit. Every time I go, I discover something new and exciting. I took my out-of-town guests to this fascinating city last summer where we visited Mount Tibidabo, the highest point in Barcelona, and loved it!

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The charming blue tram

Getting there was part of the fun. We first took a bus, then a pleasant ride on a quaint blue tram with a friendly driver that took us through Barcelona’s most affluent residential area. The well-loved blue tram has been in operation since 1901 and still has that old world charm with dark wood seats and ceiling.

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Beautiful homes from the window of the tram. Note the gorgeous wrought iron fence and gate.

The tram only took us halfway up the mountain. To reach the top we had to board a vintage funicular. We entered the colourful contraption with trepidation but decided that if it had been pulling folks up to the top of the mountain for 116 years, it must be OK.

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Dubious funicular to the top of the mountain

Once safely delivered to the top of Mount Tibidabo, we were greeted by a classic amusement park built in 1889. Overlooking the vintage rides and fast food kiosks, the impressive Temple of Tibidabo built in 1902, stands proud. Also known as the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it is adorned with a golden bronze statue of Jesus with outstretched arms as if giving a benediction to all of Barcelona.

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We had a quick look at the old Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and other childhood rides but decided not to go on them. Our prime interest was the church.

The interior of the church was impressive with many works of art, murals, statues, mosaics and stained glass windows.

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Many awesome icons inside the church including a Black Madonna and Child.

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I loved the details like this iron door infront of  a private chapel

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Mosaic floor depicting the story of the loaves and fishes

An elevator took us up to the terrace offering amazing panoramic views of the city, port and coastline. As we walked around the entire circumference we enjoyed close-up views of large stone statues depicting the twelve Apostles posted at intervals, ornate bell towers and intricate carvings.

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An ornate bell tower on the terrace

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One of the twelve Apostles overlooking the city

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Another apostle, with a fabulous view.

Stone stairs took us to more levels until we reached the top under the golden statue of Jesus. It was amazing. The wind blew, the sun shone and we were delighted to have had this experience.

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We worked our way to the top via the spiral stone staircases.

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More intriguing details. In the foreground is the top of a gate made to look like a flowering plant.

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After enjoying a nice lunch, I had yummy deep-fried artichokes with aioli dip and an iced coffee, we bought a few souvenirs and took the funicular, tram, and bus trip back to our hotel in time for another exciting outing.

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Visiting Mount Tibidabo with good friends made it all the more enjoyable!

We started our wonderful Mediterranean cruise in Barcelona. Lucky for us, good friends from Canada were there at the same time, so we arrived a day early to spend time with them. We met our friends at a Starbucks right across the street from Casa Mila, one of Gaudi´s masterpieces. There I was treated to a pumpkin spice latte which made me very happy as I had been lamenting being left out this year. (there are no Starbucks coffee shops where I live.)

Who would have thought in 2015, I would be sitting across the street from an iconic building in Barcelona, sipping a pumpkin spice latte? Should this be a dream, please don´t wake me up!

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Casa Mila

Casa Mila designed by Antoni Gaudi

A short taxi ride took us to Park Güell. We had been to Barcelona once before and loved it. But we had not visited Park Güell, so we took the opportunity to explore this fascinating park created in 1900 by Antoni Gaudi. In order to preserve this heritage site, a limited amount of people are allowed into Monument Precinct, the main park area. Our ticket was for 1:30 so we had plenty of time to wander the lush gardens around the park and take in panoramic views from the top of the hill.

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Entrance to the gardens

Gaudi´s Sagrada Família from Park Gruell

Gaudi´s Sagrada Família from Park Gruell

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Art and nature

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Once inside the Monument Precinct, we were instantly mesmerized. There was so much to take in. The colours and fantastical designs were mind boggling. A combination of greenery and art amazed us at every turn. We sat on the famous ceramic bench, which was surprisingly comfortable. I read later that Gaudi had one of the workers take down his pants and sit on it to make sure it fit the human derrière perfectly.

Brightly coloured mosaic salamanders, whimsical houses fit for elves and fairies, gargoyles, and a mosaic clad ceramic undulating bench held up by 86 columns are just a few of the delights of Park Gruell. Everyone who visits can´t help but turn into an excited child in a fantasy land! (or maybe that was just me)

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The ceramic bench

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This mosaic salamander is the most photographed item in Barcelona!

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Hypostyle Room with 86 columns

Inside the Hypostyle Room

Inside the Hypostyle Room

small peices of broken tiles and ceramics, often taken from demolition sites were used to create the mosaics in the park

Small pieces of broken tiles and ceramics, often taken from demolition sites, were used to create the colourful mosaics.

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The Monumental Flight of Stairs, the ceramic bench is on top of the Hypostyle building.

Trying out the ceramic bench (with our pants on)

Trying out the ceramic bench (with our pants on)

The last stop of the day before boarding the ship was Gaudi´s Casa Batllo. Another fabulous house designed by the master architect for the Batllo family. The roof top with its fascinating chimneys is something else.

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo

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Roof top of Casa Batllo

A bonus to see all this with good friends who brought us a year´s supply of Maple syrup. What a great start to our trip.

More to come…..

All photographs by Darlene and Paul Foster

I´ve been away! Yes, I took a vacation from retirement. Hubby and I went on a Mediterranean cruise and saw some amazing sights. We started with a day in Barcelona seeing the sites with good friends from Canada who happened to be there on a holiday. From there we boarded the fabulous ship, Fantasia. Our ports of call were, Marseilles in France (with a side trip to Aix-en-Provence), Genoa, Naples (with a side trip to Pompei) and Messina in Italy, and Valletta in Malta. A quick night time stop in Palma de Mallorca and back to Barcelona. Except for Barcelona, I had never been to any of these places before. It was incredible! I will write more about the individual stops, but for now here is a taste of what we saw.

Park Guell in Barcelona

Park Guell, Barcelona

Barcelona

Park Guell, Barcelona

Aix-en-provence, France

Aix-en-provence, France

Aix-en-provence, France

Aix-en-provence, France

 

Genoa, Italy

Genoa, Italy

Genoa, Italy

Genoa, Italy

 

Pompei, Italy

Pompei, Italy

Pompei, Italy

Pompei, Italy

 

Messina, Italy

Messina, Italy

Messina, Italy

Messina, Italy

 

Malta

Malta

Malta

Malta

 

Palma de Mallorca

Palma de Mallorca

 

Dinner on Fantasia

Dinner on Fantasia

We moved to Spain to be able to see more of Europe and so we did. It was another dream come true!!

 

A  rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it,  bearing within him the image of a cathedral.  Antoine de  Saint-Exupery

I am off to Spain in a few of days and most likely will not be posting on my blog for a couple of weeks. So I thought I would share a few pictures of one of the most amazing sights in Barcelona. It is Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. I was in awe when I came upon this cathedral. My husband did a wonderful job of capturing the many features of this work in progress, started in 1882 and estimated to be completed in 2030.  As you walk around the building you can see the style of construction appears somewhat different between the new and old parts.102_2530

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I can’t imagine I will ever see a sight more incredible than this cathedral.

Hasta pronto!

“The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane.” My Fair Lady

Here are more pictures from my favourite places in Spain.

Barcelona

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Madrid

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Alicante

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Torrevieja

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Guadalest

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La Alberca

flower strewn balcony

Darlene in La Alberca

citizen of La Alberca

These are just a few of my favourite pictures. I may post more from time to time.

All pictures were taken by Darlene Foster and Paul Foster over the course of 8 years.

 

Amanda Ross had a wonderful adventure in the United Arab Emirates. She will never forget the camel race, shopping at the souq, swimming in the Persian Gulf and riding a camel. When she came back to Canada and told her friends about her travels, some of them didn’t believe her but that was OK. She made a scrap book with the pictures she took and of the souvenirs she collected. She even had a picture of her and Ali Baba, the camel she treasured.

She kept in touch with Leah, the friend she had made when she was in the UAE, by email and Facebook. When Leah asked her to come to Spain to spend a holiday with her, Amanda jumped at the chance. She did extra chores at home, babysat and took on a paper route to save up money for the trip. Spain was wonderful and she got to see and do a lot. She visited Madrid, explored a mountain town with houses hanging on the edge of cliffs, stayed overnight in an old, spooky monastery, took part in a tomato fight and discovered the sights of Barcelona.

There was only one problem; a young girl, looking amazingly like a girl in a famous painting, kept showing up wherever Amanda and Leah happened to be.

 

Following her was an evil horse dealer who seemed determined to make life miserable for everyone. Could Amanda keep this sweet young girl, and her beloved pony, safe without bringing harm to herself and Leah?
Follow the adventures of Amanda at http://www.centralavenuepublishing.com/Books/Amanda%20in%20Spain/

amanda-in-spain

 

 

 


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