I figured Sunday in Barcelona would be relatively quiet and it might be hard to find things to do. Was I wrong! The fountain in the above picture was near my hotel – Barcelona is a city full of fountains, parks, circles, and other places where you can meet up and enjoy the fresh air.
The day started with a trip to a famous cathedral designed by Gaudi called La Sagrada Familia. This is huge church that began construction in 1882 and is not expected to be finished for another 30 years. It is a MUST SEE if you go to Barcelona. The original architect died in 1927 and other people have worked on it, so you can see an interesting mixture of old and new architecture. The picture doesn’t do it justice.
Gaudi has designed a fair number of buildings in the city that showcase his distinctive expressionistic and organic style. What’s interesting about his buildings, is that most of them are still being used the way they were originally intended. I passed another one of his buildings called Casa Mila which was designed to be multi-family housing and is now a hotel in the upscale retail district.
One of the other jewels that Gaudi designed for Barcelona is Park Guell, which can best be described as a garden city. It is located high up in the hills (so be prepared to walk up hill for about 20 minutes to get there). Once you are there you can walk to the very top (marked by a stone cross) and see a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.
From this view you can also clearly see La Sagrada Familia in the distance and see how large and dominant it is to its surroundings.
You can also walk down to the park entrance where you will see a magnificent entrance with two smaller buildings designed by Gaudi and a double staircase.
The entrance is presided over by the famous Gaudi Dragon. Visitors to the park rub the dragon’s head for luck.
Muro is another famous architect from Barcelona, so after spending some time at Park Guell I headed over to Parc Joan Muro. This is a very large park with a playground, tennis courts, and a reflecting pool that is dominated by a Muro sculpture. The perfect place to hang out, eat a quick bite, and rest my feet!
The next big event was the Barcelona Zoo. On the way to the zoo I had to walk through the Arc de Triomf and to my surprise, I caught the tail end of the Barcelona marathon. The runners were on the last leg of the race and there was a large crowd cheering them on. I’m sure seeing the Arc provided enough inspiration to make it to the end.
The zoo was spectacular!! I love going to the zoo, and the Barcelona one is beautiful and well worth the trip. You can get really close to most of the animals, which is always fun. My two favorites this time were the giant anteater and the komodo dragon. I couldn’t get a good picture of the anteater since he was hanging out in the back of his enclosure. The komodo dragon was very entertaining. He put on quick a show for us and I could have watched him all day.
Speaking of entertainment, the chimps were in fine form! A group of them started begging for food by raising their arms up in the air, throwing up their hands, and pleading for someone to throw them some small morsel.
The giant turtle was also pretty amazing. They always seem so peaceful and harmless to me, even though they are so large.
The caimans (relatives of gators) were obviously up to no good. I have no idea what they were smiling at, but I was glad to have a thick piece of glass protecting me!
Last but not least, I saw a real live teddy bear! The brown bear was curled up in a nice patch of sun and snoozed away most of the day. There were a bunch of other animals, but unfortunately there is not enough room to put up all 67 pictures I took! Trust me, you need to visit this zoo if you go to Spain.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my trip! Hopefully I will get to travel someplace exciting again. Keep It Thimble!