Sunday, May 25, 2014

Day Trips: Montserrat & Girona

We made an effort to make our holiday fairly low-key. Our main destinations were Barcelona and Begur. On the trip, we did take the opportunity to visit two other nearby places, and we're glad we did!


The name literally means "serrated mountain". We took the train from Barcelona, and then changed to the Montserrat Rack Railway to reach the Benedictine abbey nestled in the mountains. From here, multiple funiculars can take you higher.We made it in time to hear a boys choir; however, there was no seating available in the abbey so we ditched the crowds and went hiking. The rock formations were quite dramatic! 


One of our waitresses at a restaurant in Begur recommended that we drive to nearby Girona to see the flower festival. She must not have thought we were convinced because she pulled up photos on her phone to persuade us. We were sold. Locals open up their homes to display beautiful floral arrangements, as well as local businesses. Similar to Barcelona, the hope for Catalan independence was clear. Also noteworthy was a custard filled glazed croissant, not pictured below. 

That's all for now - the beach is last, but definitely not least. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Barcelona {2/2}

Even though the locals wear scarves and boots in 70 degree weather, we contentedly wore t-shirts for optimal vitamin D absorption. (Garrick tans, I freckle.) We walked most places, but when our feet couldn't take another step, a metro stop was always nearby. Parks and plazas are around every corner, and so we took many impromptu breaks during the day. Often we'd find ourselves in line for gelato or a pastry. By the end of our time in Barcelona, we concluded it was a smaller, more casual version of Paris. Here is the rest of our time spent in the city:


This hill is home to the Olympic Village, the National Museum of Catalan Art, the Magic Fountain, and also many beautiful parks and gardens. We spent time taking in the views of the city, enjoyed the art museum, and also joined the crowds for the weekly Magic Fountain show.  

Park Guell:

This park, designed by Gaudi in the early 1900's, is situated on El Carmel. It was actually home to Gaudi and his family for a short period of time. We arrived early in the day and waited in the long line for our tickets. When it's sunny and warm, lines don't matter. We hiked, watched pigeons fight over a baguette, and managed to find a spot to sit on the famous curved bench overlooking the city. Again, we were in awe of Gaudi's imagination. 

Gothic Quarter:

This is the old city of Barcelona. The streets are made for wanderers. Some highlights are the Cathedral and Placa Reial. The buildings are very close together and filled with black iron balconies, plants, and laundry. We also stumbled upon a few markets. 

La Pedrera:

This modernist building was Gaudi's last work and built for a wealthy married couple. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage sight in 1984. Unfortunately, the outside was under construction during our visit, so we were only able to see the inside and the rooftop. Still amazing!

La Barceloneta:

This is the area near the beach. Christopher Columbus point to the New World and palm trees line the streets. We walked along the beach were surprised to find sea glass!

That's all from Barcelona - next stops, Montserrat and Girona!