Our first introduction to Barcelona was the obvious La Sagrada Familia, the most famous of all Gaudi’s creations. We were staying only a few blocks away and passed by this fabulous Spanish Gothic, Catalan Modernistic and Art Nouveau masterpiece with regularity.
It was always breathtaking and after 132 years of construction it is reaching it’s final stage of completion. Six more towers will be added to the basilica by 2026 bringing the total to 18, each of which is dedicated to a different religious figure. The completion is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the architects death. When finished the basilica will be the tallest religious building in Europe, standing 564 feet.
We decided to see Gaudi’s Park Güell in the evening light. So up the hill we hiked and looked out over the city as the sun was setting. Park Güell is composed of gardens and architectonic elements located on Carmel Hill. Gaudi’s former residence now serves as a museum in the park.
The Las Ramblas is a tree-lined vibrant and lively pedestrian promenade that is the most famous walking street in Barcelona. Today was no exception it was busy, crowded and filled with human statues, that were truly amazing. We checked out La Boqueria, which has been the city’s best market since anyone can remember. We walked across the swing bridge and sat on the pier to appreciated Port Bell, the Christopher Columbus Monument and some of the more modern architecture. Plaça Catalunya is where Las Ramblas begins, the old city ends and the new begins.
There are two floating sculptures in the harbor that were created by Robert Llimos in 2010. It was mesmerizing to watch them bobbing and swaying. The Miraestels (Stargazer), gazes at the sky while holding a star behind his back. We also saw some on display the Maritime Museum.
Montjuic Hill and castle grounds was our next place of interest. It is a prominent hill overlooking the Barcelona harbor. For ages, it played a strategic part in the defense of the city and it’s one of the city’s natural elevations.
On to Ciutadella Park which was built on the former military grounds of the 18th century Fortress of Barcelona. The terrible structure was demolished and with celebration was turned into a 42 acre park. It’s main symbol the Cascada fountain was designed to resemble the Trevi Fountain in Rome and they even have an Arc de Triomf or Arco de Triunfo in Spanish. It was built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona Worlds Fair. The park encompasses the Barcelona Zoo, a lake for rowing, museums, and numerous places for sports or leisure.