Hello all and I hope you are well on this last Thursday of November. This year is really running away from me.
For the last two weeks on our travel posts we have been sharing the lovely Rebecca Douglas travel images from her Europe journeys. Today we have the last instalment from Rebecca and today she is telling us all about her travels from Barcelona.
Kelly and I would like to say a big Thank-you to Rebecca for sharing all her Europe travels with us and all our Boho Life readers. I have really enjoyed reading them and I am sure you all have too.
Europe Part 3 – Barcelona
I’ll pass you over to Rebecca…….
The final leg was to our favourite place in the world, Barcelona. We have such a soft spot for this city as we used to head there to see Mark’s brother when he lived out there. It is somewhere we know and feel like we instantly slot in and both of us are a bit in awe of Gaudi’s architecture. We got an early flight from Gatwick and saw the snow capped Pyrenees glistening in the morning sun. We flew with Monarch and were so looked after on board and arrived feeling fresh at about 10am and got a train and tube connection straight to Sagrada Familia. The queue was already around the block but we knew we wanted to go in. Last time we went must have been 5 years ago, you could go inside but were funnel round with big blue chipboard partition walls. Even then we had a sense of its enormity, but nothing had prepared us for what we were about to see. It was finished inside, we both walked in through the doors looked up and just felt ourselves slowly drifting to being still. I remember looking up, around and felt my jaw drop. I was holding my breath, trying to choke back the warm, saline beads of tears running down my face. It was completely disarming. I found Mark’s hand, with my gaze still transfixed and then we locked eyes and it was just me who had welled up! As we looked around so many people had had the same reaction as us. We lost track of time in there, just being, it was the most uplifting experience and I just can’t get my head around how a building as magnificent as this was in someone’s thoughts. What a brilliant mind! So for now a few photos and I’ll continue my tales about La Pedrera further down the post…
After we left Sagrada Familia we grabbed some scrummy tapas for lunch and headed off to our hotel. I had hunted high and low to find a hotel with a view and I took a punt on a top secret hotel on lastminute.com and boy did it pay off! We got such an amazing deal for the 5* The Level – Barcelona Melia Sky and it really did not disappoint. Our room had panoramic views across the city towards the Sagrada Familia and I just find is fascinating to see the world from this perspective. We played a game of chess, had a few drinks, dipped our toes in the outdoor pool and caught a cheeky afternoon nap before heading out for another injection of inspirational Gaudi!
We grabbed a taxi across to La Pedrera. Mark wanted to get the metro but I was getting twitchy about the light and so a cab was the quickest way to zoom over! I was so excited as I’d checked the opening times and if we got there at the right time we’d catch sundown and the moon rising. I love watching a city light up, it takes on a new personality when night falls! La Pedrera or Casa Mila is such a stunning building and we took the lift straight to the roof, the mysterious roof full of stunning architecture. While we were there a cute tabby cat arrived and befriended us, we couldn’t believe it and guessed it must live in one of the flats! As night fell, the roof top was lit and the contrast with the royal blue sky was breathtaking. We were so lucky that we were able to go up there and see the mood change as night fell and that was just down to the time of year and darkness arriving before their closing time at 8pm.
I woke up naturally with gorgeous burnt red light filling our hotel room, since we were so high up we slept with the curtains open and it was such a treat to just wake up and not have an alarm squawking at us! The city looked so still as the dawn broke. After a Gaudi filled first day in Barcelona our pilgrimage continued and took us to Parc Guell. There were two really inspiring quotes from Gaudi that I read at Sagrada Familia exhibition and I’d been thinking about them a lot over night:
“The great book, always open and which we should make an effort to read, is that of Nature”
”With the flowerpots, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, cheered by the clucking of hens, the song of the birds and the buzzing of the insects, and with mountains of Padres in the distance, I captured the purist and most pleasant images of nature that is ever our mistress. ”
For anyone that knows me, knows that I love nature, the free birds in the sky, beautiful flowers that colour our days, the scent of the saline breeze at the sea, the ebb and flow of a river; and so to read these quotes really made my heart swell. I decided that I wanted to try and read the great book while I was in the beautiful natural environment of Parc Guell and so I undertook a study of the plant life, the shapes, the shadows, the patterns and the lines as I wanted to try and capture some of those pure, pleasant images of nature that Gaudi once spoke of.
After we left Parc Guell, we drifted down the steep streets and found some beautiful mosaic house door numbers, we’d been needing to get some since we moved in to our house back in September and we were both thrilled to find some Gaudi inspired ones that make us think of this special trip each time we come home! We got to the main road and found a bus that took us right to the Placa de Catalunya and we walked down the bustling Ramblas and continued along Rambla del Mar into the port. We grabbed a bite to eat here in the evening sun before getting the metro back to our hotel for a night in the bar.
On our last day the hotel staff told us that the Barcelona Marathon was taking place and that it would be passing straight by our hotel! It was thrilling to watch the athletes running their epic race and with the morning sun back lighting them and the palm trees, they threw some excellent shadows! Once we’d checked out, we got the metro to Barceloneta and went in search of the beach. In all the times we’d visited, we’d never gone to the beach. I was so surprised at how close it was to the metro and the beach was literally right there, beside the city centre! It had gorgeous golden sands and was met with a copper blue sea. I could not resist going for a paddle, even although it felt icy cold, it was so refreshing to be in the sea. We had planned to take the cable car up to Montjuic but there was quite a queue and so with the window we had before our flight, we hailed a cab and set off to the other side of the city.
While en route to Montjuic, we spotted the most stunning gardens from the taxi and so we asked to be dropped off so we could go and explore. We found ourselves in Jardins de Mossen, one of Europe’s most significant collections of cacti, it was just breathtaking. The maze of paths meant we were spoilt for choice with our route through and each turn had the most amazing plants. We stopped to sit and relax in the shade as temperatures had hit an unseasonable high if 28 deg c! After we descended all the way back down to sea level, we hailed a cab to the Sants station and were serenaded by an accordion player who played ‘hit the road jack’ as we tracked across the fields of artichoke towards the airport. Neither of us wanted to leave for it had been a beautiful trip. We always feel like we leave a piece of us in Barcelona, its there waiting for the next time we get to visit and reconnect. It is forever in our hearts.
For more information on Rebecca’s work go to:
Such lovely images. Thank you so much to Rebecca for sharing these with us today. Has anyone else been to Barcelona recently? Where would you recommend staying and visiting? Are there any other cities that you have visited recently? I would love to hear from you to help in finding my next city journey. You can leave your comments below.
Kelly C xx