Monday, 29 July 2013

Off to Spain we go - next stop Barcelona!

Leaving our friends' house in south west France, we headed for Barcelona.  We had been warned on internet sites about the many pickpockets operating in the city, so we had bought jackets with zip pockets and carried as little as possible!  We need not have worried too much; there were so many tourists waving expensive cameras around and carrying back-packs half open, which ensured that we were certainly not the prime targets!  We found it to be no more risky a place than any other big city, as long as you took care and behaved sensibly!
En route! Spanish motorways are good and not seemingly too crowded.

 and crossing the border; no customs or immigration!

The countryside is blighted with wind turbines; there are many of them here and I'm afraid I quite simply hate them!

The view to the left from the small balcony of our room in the hotel Aneto; just down this road is the famous Rambla main street, 200 yards away at the top of the photo, but more of which later!

and in the other direction; I might add the suburb we were in (called El Raval) was very noisy all night!  On the plus side, the hotel was inexpensive, convenient, comfy and within a short walking distance of large numbers of excellent and better value eateries in the side streets. (No kickbacks received for this glowing review!)

A quick walk around on arrival brought us to La Rambla itself.   This is a tree lined mostly pedestrian mall, 1.2 kms (3/4 mile) long, through the centre of Barcelona.  There are endless cafes and small shops throughout its length and it is very popular with tourists. An eating/drinking and people-watching place, but you are of course paying more to see, and be seen, in this prime location!


Scala Dei (Latin for “Ladder of God”) I am not sure exactly what the rest means, but it is a very attractive plaque about King Alfons of Aragon, tucked away in an alleyway near La Rambla.


Ornate drinking fountain to the side of La Rambla. The Spanish are known for their high quality glazed and patterned ceramic tiling.

Apparently this statue in the Placa de Catalunya, one of the city's main squares, is Barcelona, represented as a woman on top of a strong horse, with a ship as a symbol of exploration and trade.

 Some of the many fountains in Barcelona. Above and below, two shots of those  near the Placa de Catalunya, another mainly pedestrian precinct.


 I cannot find anything about this statue, but with Spain being a
bull-fighting country, I am sure it has some special significance!

Watch this space for a visit to the Barcelona cathedral, the market, Picasso museum (no cameras allowed inside!) and, last but not least, the Sagrada Familia, the amazing church designed by the architect Gaudi, built 100 years ago, but still being altered and added to!



see my daily photo diary  HERE

and also - My Life Before Charente Updated 29/07/2013 


64 comments:

  1. Thanks for taking us with you Diane, great pics - I'll probably never get to see it in the flesh ...

    The water fountain tiles are interesting - it seems that each tile was specially made to comlete the picture?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Graham it is an interesting town with again lots of history attached to it as does most of Europe. Yes you are right, the tiles must have been made especially for this fountain and have probably been there for many, many years. Have a good week Diane.

      Delete
  2. I went through there at five o'clock on Sunday morning! I'll be back to take a proper look later so am really enjoying your photographs.

    I think the text is about a search for a place to build a castle and the knights coming across a shepherd who said he had had a dream about Jacob's ladder....but don't quote me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha Fly I am sure you did not see much on your drive through, Interesting about the text, thanks for the info. Hope all well with you two. Diane

      Delete
  3. It looks like a wonderful place to visit!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joyful we certainly enjoyed our visit. Have a good day Diane

      Delete
  4. absolutely beautiful pictures, thanks for shating with us Diane:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gloria I am gad that you have enjoyed them. Take care Diane

      Delete
  5. Hi Diane , for some reason I cannot see the photos ,but as I have been I can visualize them,, I am happy you kept safe and not a target.

    As far as I am aware , the Sagrada Familia is not finished , I know it was Consecreted in November 2010 .. and the actually date they think it will be finally finished is 2026 .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne I have no idea why you cannot see the photos! I think as long as you are sensible there is not a problem. They had a lot of scaffolding up on the Sagrada Familia while we were there! Hope you can get to see the photos later. Have a good week Diane. xx

      Delete
    2. Hi Diane , I can see the photos now , which are just fantastic, well done. The scaffolding was there when we were there too ,, 2003 I think ,, it is still being built. I know the area where you were ,, we were in El Born,, we had La Ramblas to are right and the Port straight in front of us ,, well not directly , but the direction ,, have a good week too , love Anne

      Delete
    3. Anne I am glad that eventually you could see the photos. I wonder what the problem was before! Keep well Diane xox

      Delete
  6. My husband and I had a long weekend in Barcelona a few years ago and loved it! Hope we might visit again some day. Gorgeous photos:)
    ~Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne I hope I brought back some memories. It is a lovely town with lots of interesting places. We missed a lot as there is too much for a couple of days but we enjoyed what we saw. Have a good day. Diane

      Delete
  7. It is a wonderful city! Thank you for the pretty photos Diane! (pickpockets are everywhere in Europe, but not many in the US. Here we have old fashion robbers, with guns).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nadege yes where I come from it is shoot first and take after, Europe is mild by comparison! Hope you are well Diane

      Delete
  8. Good morning,
    Thanks for sharing your trip. Looking forward to your next post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good day Elaine, thanks for your visit and for the comment. I am glad that you have enjoyed this post and look forward to your further comment on the next posts. Take care Diane

      Delete
  9. Thank you for sharing these photos. I've heard so much (good) about Barcelona, but have never actually been there. Judging by the clothes people are wearing the weather was sunny but chilly. Am I right? Martine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Martine, hope you are well. You are right it was sunny but chilly, we did also have one shower as well. The whole of Europe though seemed unusually cool for May and the weather did not improve as the holiday went on!! Take care Diane

      Delete
  10. I haven't been to Barcelona in years, so I am enjoying tagging along with you. I don't know if my comments have been going through lately but I am reading all your posts. Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen, I have answered several of your posts recently but not sure if they all have got through. Hope you enjoy the next ones which will be in Barcelona. Take care Diane

      Delete
  11. THe park looks very relaxing to walk around to especially with that big water fountain. Spain is a place I would love to visit if given a chance. Enjoy your vacation Diane.

    Take care always.

    Rose

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rose it is a lovely city. Our holiday is over we returned a couple of months agao but I ma only just catching up :-) Take care Diane

      Delete
  12. Enjoyed travelling the Languedoc with you but now you are taking Sue and I into unknown territory.
    Maybe Spain could be on our future destinations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi you two, all the next posts will be unknown territory for you though once we reach Italy you may catch up again. Depends where you have been. Keep well, Diane

      Delete
  13. We did a day trip to Barcelona from Sablet back in June and absolutely fell in love with the town. I had major concerns about pick pockets and easy to see how they thrive with the crowds of people everywhere you go. Like you, we didn't have any problems. We will return for sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michel we were almost put off going by stories we were told but thank goodness we were not. You just have to be sensible as with any large city. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  14. What a fantastic city Diane, your photos show it beautiful. Thank you for such a great tour. Thank you also for stopping by my blog. The young man you mentioned was quite tall, it was the door that was very large.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha Denise I thought he was very tiny!! Barcelona is a beautiful city. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  15. You are so lucky to be able to travel so much! Spain is on my bucket list (and so is France). Thanks for taking us along on your adventure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam it was not so easy when we lived in Africa, but being in Europe now opens up many doors. Have a good week Diane

      Delete
  16. Such a vibrant city! It's on my list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. rosaria certainly a place to see if you come this way. Have a good week Diane

      Delete
  17. We keep saying we are going to Spain and have never gotten there. Thanks for taking us alone. Sounds like you have the solution to traveling safe in cities with the zip pockets.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sam I had jeans with zip pockets and the jackets had external and internal zip pockets. We carried as little as possible safely and, I only carried the small supermarket camera which does not do too bad a job of taking photos. We parked the car on the edge of town in underground parking where it was safe, and took a taxi to the hotel with our luggage. No problems at all. Hope you enjoy the next couple of posts. Diane

      Delete
  18. Ah! over the border and away you go ..... I've never been there Diane but would love to .... maybe next year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dianne we thoroughly enjoyed it and had not problems. I am sure you would love it there. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  19. Thanks for sharing, Barcelona one of the city I would like to visit one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sonia it is a very beautiful city. If you get the chance do visit. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  20. I love Barcelona! Enjoy your time there, Diane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JM the trip was in May I am recalling the holiday that was! Have a good day Diane

      Delete
    2. Sorry, Diane, I thought you were travelling... :-)

      Delete
    3. No problem. When I took time out from bogging in May, June we were away most of the time. A lot of the time I could only connect as ridiculous prices so I am now recalling the whole holiday, which for us was a long one :_)

      Delete
  21. You captured it beautifully Diane. It brings back happy memories. We too drove that route from Carcassone to Barcelona (with Boris). I go there most years on business and I like it very much, although I don't find it quite as wonderful as some do. I prefer to stay at the area close to Placa de Espana where it's mostly locals and not tourists. But if it was my first time there I'd be wanting to stay in the tourist areas too! I'm pleased that you had a good time. There is a lot to like about Barcelona.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Craig I hate crowds and tourists which is why we never go on holiday when other people do! Because of the timing of the cruise we had not choice over dates, but it was fairly quiet in May. Hope you are doing well Diane

      Delete
  22. Ahhhh bringing back memories of our visit there. It is a beautiful city. I loved the Gaudi buildings . Have fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane I am always happy when I bring back memories for people. It is an interesting town. Keep well Diane

      Delete
  23. thank you for stopping by Belgium on your way to Barcelona:)
    I had not seen you in a while
    bonnes vacances!!
    anni

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. anni we went on holiday in May and June but we have been so busy since our return that the blog has suffered for it. Come winter I will have more time to sit at the computer ! Take care Diane

      Delete
  24. This takes me back Diane. Love driving through Spain and loved La Rambla. We are off to Malaga and Portugal (and of course Paris) in Dec/Jan. Can't wait. Including Amsterdam this time.
    Thanks for sharing the great photos.

    Denise

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise I love it when I bring back memories for people. Why pick winter to holiday in Europe? Do you like the cold? Take care Diane

      Delete
  25. What a fantastic trip, Diane. I'm so glad you are sharing the photos with us. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mary, we did have a good holiday and the best is still to come :-) Have a good week. Diane

      Delete
  26. Hi Diane .. this is wonderful to see and I definitely need to make a plan to visit properly for a week or so .. sounds delightful.

    Windfarms do destroy the views .. and I'm not sure they're the best way to create energy ...

    Looking forward to your next posts ... then I'll really know what to visit and see ...

    Cheers and enjoy the weekend - Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hilary I have an absolute hate for wind farms, they are so unsightly.....

      Barcelona is certainly worth a visit, we only had 3 days there and rushed around a bit. The other thing is we refuse to stand in long queues, so some things we did not see. A good idea is to buy tickets for places you want to see on line to avoid the standing around. e.g. Sagrada Familia.

      Have a good week, Diane

      Delete
  27. You lucky woman!
    Barcelona is beautiful. One day I will take a good look at the big city....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gunn it is beautiful and we enjoyed the visit, but could have done with a little more time. Hope your week is a good one, Diane

      Delete
  28. Lively trip again Diane!
    I love Spain too, but its been a while since I went to Barcelona!
    Enjoy your stay and discoveries!
    Cheerio!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We did enjoy the trip but it would have been better to have had an extra couple of days. Guess there is always another time. Take care Diane

      Delete
  29. Diane, I have saved this link for future Barcelona reference. Your photos are wonderful with compelling descriptions of the location. Love the photo from your hotel.

    I am looking forward to your photos of the basilica Sagrada Familia. What patience to watch its very slow progress. The detail is amazing.

    I would like to see The Kiss of Death in the Barcelona cemetery.

    Bises,
    Genie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Genie our time was limited sadly and the cemetery was one place we did not visit. We did though manage to see everything within fairly easy walking distance from the hotel. Hope you enjoy the next couple of posts. Take care Diane

      Delete
  30. Great tour! I can't wait for your visit to Sagrada familia -- it's one of my favorite places in the world!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deana it is an amazing building but sadly we did not get to go inside. The queues were horrendous and our backs and feet will not put up with queues any longer. I did get some post cards of the inside though of which I will photograph. Keep well Diane

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and pass a comment. Every comment is appreciated and I try to reply to each and every one. All comments are verification free but will come to me for approval first :-)) No Anonymous Users!