04.04 - 06.04.2006








At the beginning of April I went to Barcelona on a business trip. During these three days I tried to sacrifice every single free hour before and after the fairs to sight see Barcelona . I didn’t have much time to sleep or have rest but it paid off.

Late morning I got to the airport in Barcelona by plane from Wroc³aw through Munich . Straight from the terminal there is an Aerobus to the city centre by which I managed to get to the first stop – Placa de Espanya – within 30 minutes for 3,75EUR. The huge square is a perfect place to get on to the underground that is the best way of traveling in Barcelona . One-ride ticket for 1,20EUR can beMontjuic Castle, Barcelona bought either in a ticket-office or in an automatic machine. I got off on the second stop of the green line and reached the Parallel Station from which I got to the hotel of the same name nearby.

Without any delays I left the hotel room and walked towards the Montjuic hill that was located not far from there. I covered all the way to the top along paths and partly along the side space of a road. The way up is a little bit steep, what makes it really exhausting, but the higher I was the more beautiful views I could admire. On the top of the hill there is the Montjuic Castle where you can get over a drawbridge. The entrance to the castle is free except for the insides where a military museum can be found, however, I didn’t sight see it. Although it is hard to notice the hill with the castle from the city centre, there is a great overview of the city, harbor and the sea from the castle.

Going down the hill I went through the gardens, that were already empty at 8 p.m., passed the Olympic stadium and got to the National Palace . Quite a lot of people sat on the stony stairs with me. I assumed that the tourists admire view on  Placa de Espanya but after a few minutes I realized that all of them were waiting for the water and lights show. I knew it always took place in summer but not in April. At 8.30 p.m. sharp the fountains ejected huge amounts of water up. It was getting Fountaindark when all the streams of water were flashed with lights. At that time I appreciated the tripod I had taken with me. Going gradually down the stairs and stopping at lower levels I could take photos of the colorful fountains which were becoming more and more effective. The show was finished after an hour as suddenly as it was started and I got back to the hotel by tube.   

The next day early morning I went towards the city centre on foot. At first there was an empty at that time Las Ramblas alley. I understood at once that I had to get back here but if not in the evening, it must be at least in the afternoon. Without tourists, artists and sellers Las Ramblas is just a usual street, not a promenade full of life. The Old City with its cathedral was astonishing even in the morning and Spanish people rushing to work at that time were much more larger group than single tourists like me. Moving further I got  to the Citadel Park . However, before I found myself deeply in the garden paths I had left the park for a moment to see more closely the Arc del Triomf that is located at the end of the alley of palms.

The Citadel Park was being renovated and some parts were separated with a fence, but despite all of this it was still woth to walk in the sunrise through the fields of green which creates an oasis of silence and peace in the middle of a city. I really wanted to see the waterfall which was designed among others by Gaudi but unfortunately, it was also being renovated. Without its squirting and floating streams of water the cascade was not fully displayed but the neo-baroque construction and sculptures are impressive and with a doze of imagination let us hear the splashing water that would make the piece of art alive. On the lake nearby there are usually some boats floating, however,Citadella Park, Barcelona during my visit all of them were immobilized in the middle of the pond. Because I didn’t have that much time I had only a few minutes to watch this charming water pond.

Another place I managed to visit that morning was Barceloneta, where narrow streets and low houses with numerous balconies create a familiar atmosphere. This suburb of Barcelona is located at the seaside and thanks to this I could go to the beach. I found a few shells and some people taking a sunbath despite early hours. While getting back to the hotel, I passed the harbor and Christopher Columbus’ column. I also covert a short part of Las Ramblas which was starting its usual life. I was able to restart my sight seeing tour only after the fairs I came to.   

In the afternoon I went to the Lesseps Station by tube to get to the Guell Park . This piece of work made by Antonio Gaudi is on the USENCO list so I expected entrance fees. But thanks to the fact that my visit in Barcelona was paid out of season it was completely free. Famous sculptures – features that are characteristic for the Guell Park like mosaics and scenic terrace with a long bench were occupied by huge crowds of young people so much that it was hard to take photos. Sight seeing of a central part of the park was a little less attractive because of that. But fortunately, the park is big enough to stay away from crowds and watch the pieces of work by Gaudi.

Walking across Barcelona for the rest of the afternoon and evening I managed to see a few more pieces of art by Gaudi that are on the UNSECO list. Some of them, like Casa Vicens, I watched Casa Mila, Barcelonajust from outside but others, like famous Casa Mila I saw from inside as well. Of course, you have pay for entrance – the ticket is 8EUR. We were inside when it occurred that used safety means are comparable to those at the airport. Luggage scanning and going through the gates may be necessary but it spoils the pleasure of sight seeing in some part. In addition all the rucksacks and bags have to be left in the left-luggage office. With all these precautionary measures it’s surprising that one may take a camera and take photos with any additional fees. You can move around Casa Mila only along the indicated path and in one direction – incredible number of guards watch so that people obeyed the rules. In some places number of guards is larger than number of tourists.

The first stage is a lift ride to the highest level from which you are directed to the roof. Unlike the roofs of ‘usual’ houses you may not also watch magnificent views of the area but also chimneys and air-shafts shaped with delicacy. From the roof of Casa Mila I can see the next point of me trip – Sagrada Familia. But before that I was led through a few rooms of Casa Mila arranged in old fashion, which looked as if they were still lived in. Bed-rooms, living-rooms, bath-rooms, rooms of the service, kitchen and children room were all equipped in necessary furniture and accessories, in this way, they became a sort of heritage park for this house.

Undoubtedly, Sagrada Familia is one of the symbols of Barcelona that has to be seen. Unfortunately, lack of time made me to watch this building just from outside. From a distance Sagrada Familia seems to be huge, however, watching it more closely it is hard to compare it with anything else as you can see only particular parts of the church. It is impossible to admire the piece of work made by Antonio Gaudi in the late years of his life as a whole. Currently it is stillSagrada Familia, Barcelona being worked at, although it started to be raised over a hundred years ago. In spite of fact that it was assumed to have all the works completed by 2020, it seems that Sagrada Familia will never be finished. Well, it might be a destination for the greatest piece of art by one of the greatest artists, who changed and corrected the project of his life work for many times.

It was already late when I passed another house by Gaudi – Casa Batllo, while coming back to the hotel. Because of its characteristic form and style this perfectly illuminated building is easy to be distinguished from others in the neighborhood. I also managed to walk along the whole Las Ramblas filled with a typical night life. Well, not until the third attempt I understood why so many people choose this promenade in Barcelona . For me it was a last touch of Barcelona during this three-day meeting as the next day I had no opportunities to discover new places. In the morning I had to pack my stuff in order to get to the airport just after the fairs. My first adventure with the capital of Catalonia came to its end but I hope the next meeting will be possible in the future.