Jun 012009
 

The fast AVE train from Barcelona delivered us in Madrid in under three hours.  There were unfortunately some avian casualties noted on the nose of the train after the 700km journey.

Art outside the Prado Museum

Art outside the Prado Museum

The Prado Museum is free on Sunday evenings so we visited to view some Spanish art along with Bosch’s ‘Garden of Delights’ and Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas.’  Outside the museum there had been a painting competition during the day – the courtyard was full of easels displaying locally-themed works in many styles.

Spanish vegetarian

Spanish vegetarian

We sampled the vegetarian cuisine at Restaurante Integral Artemisa – eggplant lasagne, vegetarian paella, catalan-style spinach and yummo fried zucchini balls.  The second night we ate very cheaply at Puerto Rico Restaurante – two courses and drinks for two for €15.

Kermit plays for us in Puerta del Sol

Kermit plays for us in Puerta del Sol

Gaudí’s city

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May 312009
 
Gaudí's Sagrada Família

Gaudí's Sagrada Família

We arrived in Barcelona a day after (fortunately or unfortunately?) the big parade that followed Barcelona FC’s victory in the Champions League Final.

Football aside, we’re in Spain!  Tapas,  sangria, paella and… hot chocolate ?  Not ’til 10pm though, if you can get there without starving!

We had excellent tapas at Nou Candanchu – pa amb tomaquet (a Catalan specialty – bread topped with crushed tomato and olive oil), grilled mushrooms, fried whitebait, garlic prawns, croquettes and fried potatoes with hot sauce.

Pa amb tomaquet

Pa amb tomaquet

Paella marinara, washed down with sangría

Paella marinara, washed down with sangría

This hot chocolate is like molten chocolate with churros to dip.

This hot chocolate is like molten chocolate with churros to dip.

Of course no visit to Barcelona would be complete without some  Gaudí.  In fact, you probably can’t avoid it unless you walk around with your eyes closed.  The Sagrada Família church is one place we expected to see scaffolding!  It is a massive construction project that began in 1882 and due for completion (yeah, right) in 2026.  Our admission fees went towards the €18m required to fund the work (that’s just 2009’s budget!)

View of Barcelona from Sagrada Família

View of Barcelona from Sagrada Família

So apart from being the most intricate, extravagent, over-the-top, ridiculous church you’ve ever seen, it is quite amazing to see the construction process in action from the floor up to the spires (we caught the lift up and walked down one of them).

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família

Parc Güell is also home to more of Gaudí’s work.

Parc Güell, Barcelona

Parc Güell, Barcelona

Parc Güell, Barcelona

Parc Güell, Barcelona