Barcelona in November

The first two weeks of November I spent in Barcelona again. And we added a visit to Girona and Figueres. I mean… it’s cold and wet in the Netherlands, so a visit to Spain is a great idea!

Unfortunately Monica hasn’t any vacation days anymore so I was going to spend my daytime on my own and it was only after I booked my flight I learned that they’d have a national holiday in Spain the day before I arrived. Oh well… you can’t have everything.

On my way with KLM

I arrived at November second after a long trip. My luggage had a problem from the moment I arrived at the trainstation in Assen and making dragging the luggage around. Luckily I found some workers in Schiphol airport the help me get the handle down, but after that (that is: dragging the 22 kilogram of luggage around in Barcelona without an extendable handle) it was not a lot of fun.

I love walking past the many impressive graffiti pieces in Barcelona

With a little delay in the bus I still arrived at a decent time and once we’d hauled the luggage back to the apartment, we went out for a bit for dinner and a nice evening out.

A slightly different view of the Sagrada Famila

Friday Monica headed to work and I took to the streets for a walk. A big round actually. All through Gracia down to the hospital Sant Pau, from there to the Sagrada Familia and then I walked to Torre Agbar and the second hand marked next to it. Then on to the Arc de Triomf. From there a bit of a walk to the Palau de la Musica. For those known who Barcelona they’ll have an idea of how much it is. Let’s just say it was a really good days exercise. By the end of the afternoon Monica’s workday was over and we start the weekend together with an introduction to a very Dutch dish: Boerenkool (mashed kale and potatoes and smoked sausage) and then went out for a nice evening together. We ended the night at Soda Acustic where a Arabic/World Music band was playing. As the bar was full we didn’t get to see much of the band.

On Saturday we had a lovely day visiting the Andy Warhol Exposition in the CaixaForum and then going on to the Poble Espanol where there was a Medieval themed marked where we ate a superb pizza and where we learned a really fun new frase when a guy on a Flying Carpet walked, ehr no… FLEW by! He granted children’s wishes. They were to make a silent wish upon when he threw confetti in the air denouncing ‘Que se cumpla!‘ (Translates roughly to “That is fulfilled”). However he could not say in what timespan the wish would be fulfilled so don’t hold your breath just yet ;) It was great great fun at the market.

Entrance to the Andy Warhol exposition

On Sunday in the afternoon we headed to the Poble Sec area and walked the streets a bit there. Much against my nature I hardly took any photos there. We did visit the Moritz Brewery/restaurant and met friends of Monica at the Carrer de Blai (THE street for pintxos in Barcelona). And we ended the day at the Harlem Jazz Club where we saw the Son de la Rambla. A fantastic end to the weekend.

On Monday I started with editing the photos of Son de la Rambla. I’d brought my computer along this time so I could send in some concert photos to Fileunder if we’d see some interesting concerts. Then I wanted to go for a walk looking at some galleries as there was a map that showed various galleries that currently held expositions, however I should have checked it a bit better: on Mondays they’re all closed. By the end I’d walked down Balmes to the Plaza Cataluna and from there I decided to walk around a bit more. In the afternoon I met Monica for lunch and for the rest a nice and quiet day.

On Tuesday I followed a tip by Monica: to visit the cactus garden at Montjuic. It’s a little hidden and you have to know where to walk, but it’s a lovely garden with a much different set of plants then you see in the other parks. My plan was to walk to Plaza Espanya and try some different photos there, along the way I ended up next to El Grec, the amphitheater where we saw a concert a few months ago. At the moment they aren’t using it for concerts and people can enter the location as a park. This also means that you can walk and look from the ‘stage’ looking into the tribunes :)

The cactus garden, a rather prickly scene
The Grec, a few from the stage

The shots at Plaza Espana didn’t really work out as I had planned, will have to try that again later. After that I went back home. I’d done more then enough walking for one day and I did add a little more in the evening as I also wanted to try some long-exposure photos at Casa Batllo. For this experiment I went out alone as I didn’t want to bore Monica with lots of tripod-placement, timer settings, trying this, trying that. It took more or less an hour to get all the shots I wanted and that’s a long time if she’d have to sit and wait till I was done.

Casa Batllo and the ghostly cars

I had my own plans for Wednesday as I wanted to go up to the Bunker del Carmel for a set of panoramic shots. First I walked Monica to the trainstation and had a breakfast and some coffees in a nearby diner and then went to Palau Robert to see the photo-exposition of Joana Biarnes, the first Spanish female photojournalist.

At Palau Robert

Now I was ready for a long walk (I think I do enjoy walking a little too much). Walking down Gracia to the hospital Sant Pau again (like last Friday) and then upwards. Through a park and finally reached the bunker. It’s a popular place now and since the first time Monica took me here in 2015 there’s now road leading all the way up to it. Also you’ll now always see groups hanging around the bunker. Still the view is fantastic.

I love the view over Barcelona, just the sheer size of the city is impressive

From the Bunker I could just make out the top of the Park Guell and decided that that might make a nice next stop on the route, so I walked down the bunker and found my way using Google Maps. Halfway I saw a relly long stairway leading op and wanted to see what was up there. That gave a good view over Barcelona as well. Then on to Park Guell. The most famous part is the commercial park with Gaudi’s designs: the houses and the balcony. However the park is bigger and higher then that, so I walked to the top, where you’ll find another viewpoint: an elevated area that is crowded with tourists all trying to get that panoramic photo (me included by the way).

“It’s lonesome at the top” doesn’t quite go for Park Guell

The road to that point is riddled with  street musicians. The ones on top were playing as loud as possible to outdo one and another. That didn’t make the experience that much better… On my away down I reached the commercial park and noticed that a large part of the balcony is currently under construction. I’d like to get another shot from the balcony looking onto Barcelona at some point, but I’ll wait it out for now.

The balcony of Park Guell, even under construction it’s a beautiful balcony

As I walked back to the apartment, I ran into a store where the window was stockfull with rows of cans of tomato-juice. The view reminded me of the Andy Warhol exposition and I couldn’t resist taking a shot of it. In the evening we went out to eat at a Mexican and ended the evening in a Bodega. A great, great day!

My little Andy Warhol tribute

I’ve been lent a bicing-pass and so on Thursday I can finally do a bit more cycling in Barcelona. You need a bit of luck to get a good bicycle in the bicing, but still… It’s so nice to out on a bike in Barcelona again. I visit the Rodin exposition in Barcelona. The prices for visiting an exposition like this are way better then those of visiting a museum in the Netherlands. It’s a great exposition and especially the huge statues in the last hall are really impressive. In the afternoon I meet Monica for lunch and then enjoy a bit of sun and doing nothing for a bit.

In Rodin’s workshop… well, more accurately in the gallery’s elevator

In the evening we go to Soda Acustic for a jazz-concert of the Felix Rossy Quartet. Unfortunately the concert starts half an hour late and when the concert finally starts, some people already have to leave. We see the first set and catch the beginning of the second act where the concerts is more like a free jam session and various people can join in on stage. It was a great concert, I just wish they’d started a bit earlier.

Friday back on the bicycle and this time another gallery. Arts Santa Monica to be exact, the place I visited in August on the day of the attack. The gallery has some new expositions and it’s nice visiting it. I then walk the streets in the barrio a bit to shoot some narrow-street upward photos and in the end I walk around the Ciutadela Park a bit and head back. Monica will be home earlier today and go out for the evening. Not too long as we have plans for the weekend!

Bicing bikes, I love ‘m!

As for this weekend we head out of Barcelona and we’ve booked a hotel in Girona so we won’t have to pack all activities in one single day. And so on Saturday morning we leisurely travel by train to Figueres.

The outside of the museum, the wall is filled with Dali’s ‘bread-art’

Figueres is the birthplace of Salvador Dali and there is a huge and very impressive museum with his art. The outside of the museum is already a piece of art, on the inside you get a true view of the creativity of Dali. And it is vast: sketches, sculptures, installations, paintings in all sizes and also in mani various styles. For a man that is mostly known for his surrealistic art I was also very much impressed by the portraits and how well he could paint realism. But also landscapes, absurd sculptures, optical illusions… The man was a genius.

Inside the museum you get an impression of the huge side of Dali’s art

After we’d visited the museum we headed to the rambla of Figueres as the sun was starting to set. It’s not nearly as large as that of Barcelona, but it’s a lovely place. And then… of to Girona. We checked into the hotel and then headed into the center to have a dinner and enjoy the warm evening.

Figueres’ Rambla
Sunset at the Figueres train station, like a scene from a movie

On Sunday we checked out of the hotel and left the luggage there so we could enjoy the day without carrying to much. We found a market on our way to the center, onwards to the center we had a coffee at Espresso Mafia, started by former cyclist Christian Meier and his wife Amber.

How’s that for a morning coffee?

I really have to come to Girona with my Bianchi sometime, I found a small group of Lotto-Jumbo cyclists there too (the Dutch team, also cycling on Bianchi). We visited the church where we took some sun for a while and then we walked the fortification wall of Girona with lush views over the city.

The entrance to the church. I wanted it empty, but actually this is far better
Walking along the wall of Girona

A last coffee and churro’s with chocolate and then we had to go back to Barcelona. It was my last night in Spain this time around and we had a concert planned in Barcelona too!

View from the bridge – by Monica
Like a painting

Back in Barcelona we dropped of the luggage in the apartment and headed to Jamboree where we saw a fantastic concert by Koko Jean & The Tonics with Dani Nel.lo appearing as guest. A fantastic last night in Barcelona.

On Monday I walked Monica to the trainstation one last time and then headed back to the apartment in a long route to walk my last little walk in Barcelona this vacation. Then reluctantly I packed the luggage (a new one so no more awkward luggage pulling) and started my way back to the Netherlands.

Time to go and plan the next trip to Barcelona. I know in January it’s really great there too…