After a relaxing first full day in Spain my husband and I were off and running, our usual European schedule, on the third day of our trip. But before heading out we enjoyed the fantastic breakfast buffet at our hotel. While we were having breakfast I once again noticed a specific little boy who seemed to just wonder around the breakfast area coughing all over everything but not really picking out any food. He seemed determined to get somebody else sick, I nicknamed him plague boy.
Unfortunately for my husband jet lag was still an issue. His body had once again woken him up at six a.m. while I had slept until nine. The poor guy had to tackle our first busy day on three straight nights of not enough sleep.
Upon completion of our breakfast we headed out to right a wrong from our first trip to Barcelona in 2011. Four years ago our first destination in Barcelona was the famous church La Sagrada Familia but we had made the mistake of visiting the church on Palm Sunday and didn’t get to go inside (see a previous blog entry on that subject for more details https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/05/10/la-sagrada-familia-the-eiffel-tower-of-barcelona/). This time we made sure to visit La Sagrada Familia on a Monday to avoid that problem.
Not only did we pick a Monday we purchased tickets in advance to make sure we didn’t run into any problems with the timed tickets being sold out.
Once we were inside the church we were both very impressed. The church was, obviously, one hundred percent Antoni Gaudi. Although it was a church it has his usual flair for the strange and creepy.
We absolutely loved it.
There were two small disappointments once we were inside the church that weren’t related to it. The first was very personal. My grandfather passed away last fall. He was my last grandparent and he was very proud to be catholic. Although I am not a practicing catholic I thought it would be a nice gesture to him to take the rosary I got when he died and bring it with me to Spain and say a prayer for him inside La Sagrada Familia. However, I realized I had forgotten my rosary back at the hotel. I was very upset with myself. Thankfully, my husband reminded me it wasn’t my last chance to honor my grandfather while we were in Spain. We had visits to several more churches planned and I knew I could make up for it then.
The second disappointment was that I noticed that the battery on my camera was started to run out. I immediately began kicking myself for letting this happen. Not only had I failed to charge the battery at our hotel I had forgotten to bring the spare batteries I had. Last summer I visited Peru and hiked the Inca Trial (Check out my blog entries on that trip of you’re interested https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/peru-day-1-voyage-to-lima/ https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/peru-day-2-from-lima-to-cuzco/ https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/peru-day-3-cuzco/ https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/peru-day-4-the-inca-trail-begins/ https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/peru-day-5-the-inca-trail-continues/ https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/peru-day-6-the-longest-day-of-the-inca-trail/ https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/peru-day-7-machu-picchu/ https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/peru-day-8-from-cuzco-to-lima/ https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/peru-day-9-lima/ https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/peru-day-10-voyage-back-to-los-angeles/) and I had purchased three back up batteries because you, obviously, can’t charge a battery when you’re in the middle of nowhere hiking the Andes Mountains. There was no reason for us to be in a crunch in terms of our picture taking with four total batteries but there we were. Oh well…Thank goodness we live in the age of camera phones.
In addition to buying timed tickets to go inside La Sagrada Familia we had purchased timed tickets to go up one of the towers. We had chosen the Passion Tower because you can take the elevator up and down. My husband has been struggling with a knee injury and we felt it was best to give not do any more climbing than was necessary. The view from the Passion Tower was fantastic and was well worth the extra money.
After descending from the Passion Tower we began what is often one of the most expensive aspects of our travels, buying souvenirs. We both spent over fifty euros at the La Sagrada Familia gift shop, but even then I kept thinking out our heavy suitcases and how we needed to be careful about not going over the weight limit. Following the purchase of our souvenirs we took a surface glance through the museum. We would have given the museum more time but we needed to eat lunch and hop on the metro because we had timed tickets to another Gaudi landmark, Park Guell.
We enjoyed a so-so lunch with a great view. We ate at one of the little food stands right next to the church. The food was total tourist trap food but you can’t beat the view of looking up at La Sagrada Familia while you eat.
As we left we had a close call. I wasn’t paying attention and left a bag of souvenirs sitting in a chair. I feel so incredibly lucky that one of the women who looked at the food stand saw that I had left it behind and rushed to give it to me. That area of Barcelona is notorious for pick pockets, so it’s really a miracle that I was able to hang onto my stuff after leaving it behind.
As I mentioned before Park Guell was our next stop. It is located in the hills of Barcelona. It was interesting to go to part of the city we hadn’t been to before. The area by our hotel, Barceloneta and the area around La Sagrada Familia had all been parts of Barcelona we had seen before in 2011. The hills were different. It was a little grittier than other parts of the city, but I still liked it.
After getting off the Metro we had to walk quite a ways before getting to the park.
There are two parts to the park. There is the more famous memorial zone that features more of Gaudi’s amazing work and there is the larger park as a whole. The memorial zone is the main attraction and you have to buy timed tickets for it.
The reason they have started issuing timed tickets for it is because it’s gotten so popular. Based on our experience inside the memorial zone my husband and I agree that the timed tickets are a good idea but they need to find a way to further limit the amount of people that are inside the memorial zone at any given time. The memorial zone is really cool and we really enjoyed seeing more of Gaudi’s work.
However, the memorial zone was so crowded that you can’t really have a moment and take it in. If it was that crowded with the timed tickets I can only imagine what a madhouse it was before they began to implement the new policy.
Our favorite part of the park was outside of the memorial zone. It is a beautiful and big park with a great view of Barcelona.
Once we were able to get away from the massive crowds we found it was one of our favorite parks in all of Europe. We walked all over the park ending our visit at a famous three cross landmark (which was crowded but cool).
By the time we were done my poor husband was exhausted but we had to get all the way back across the city on the metro before we could really rest. When we got back to our hotel he was so tired he had a laughing fit.
We both enjoyed a bath in the giant bath tub and just ate at the hotel. It was great day but I was starting to get a little worried about my husband’s jet lag situation. I didn’t know if he could function if he didn’t get enough sleep for the fourth night in a row. So we stayed in and rested with the hope of him being fully rested the next day.
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