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Travel: Barcelona, Spain Sept 6-7/2017




Date: Sept 6th/2017

Place: TLV to Barcelona Spain


It was a blessed relief to be up in the air again, on my way to the North East of Spain, where I would be re-united with David, after over a month apart.


I have been marinating throughout the entire month of August, in an Israeli blazing heat, during which, unexpectedly, I was summoned up for daily caring duties, of various family members, each with her own special needs.


It had been a strenuous,‎ hot and hummed summer, but also a very endearing one, due to the deep emotional contact with my adult daughters, and the joyful encounters with Leo - my 18 months darling grandson.

Comprehending, at his tender age,  4 languages (English spoken by his Mom, Spanish by his Dad, Hebrew by his grandparents, and Sign one, at his day-care) amazed to me.


Furthermore, several encounters with Israeli Taxi drivers - a male breed of its own unique kind‎- pretty much reflected the current dark mood held by many in the nation.


A particular life story of one, who unsolicited, shared  with me his frustrations, during the entire ride, was especially telling. The Israeli life hardships due to corrupt economy and governance, insane cost of living, outrageous banking charges, endless debts, and deep hate for Bibi Netanyahu invoked in my Taxi driver any curse in the book, 

An acquisition of a basic flat, or holding to it became completely unattainable for him


The driver shared  that to feed his family of 2 adults and 3 kids, and to get out of  endless debts and mortgage charges, as to “breathe freely” a little, he was compelled to sell his own apartment. 

After liquidating his debts and paying off the owed mortgage, he managed to buy with the remaining funds of the apartment sold,  2 houses in Philadelphia with no mortgage, and for which he has been now collecting rental income.

With that income, along with his and his wife’s hard labor, he now, can sleep better and live a little, in his rental place, while planning to inherent one day, upon his retirement, the apartment, which belongs to his aging mother in-law, hoping to not be thrown into the street when aging.


Since catching a 5:00am early morning flight had pretty much killed off the night for me , I was dead a sleep throughout the entire 4 hours fare.

I was lucky, upon landing, to get an early check-in at the hotel, in which David was due to arrive at, much later that evening.


Staying at the Le Meridianhotel in Barcelona’s city center, which is situated just off the “Le Ramblas” and around the corner from “Placa Catalunia” was a perfect arrangement for the one night stay we planned.




"Placa Catalunya" Square


Situated at the northern end of the Ramblas, this Placa is not that beautiful square but is a focal point of many roads: pedestrians, metro stations, bus stops and road crossings.



I was shivering when witnessing the many visiting tourists who had kept congregating at the corner where the “Le Ramblas” spills over into “Placa Catalunya”, and in which the recent insane terrorist massacre, took place (Aug 2017)


Many payed their condolences, by lighting  candles, offering flowers and stuffed toys or saying  prayers in silence for those innocent souls. that phperished.



Despite the heavy sadness, the endless volume of people who had kept strolling at the “Le Ramblas” stretch, is a solid evidence to the fact, that Human’s freedom-loving spirit, could not be that easily shuttered by Islamic supremacist murders freedom-haters.


Passing de Garcia” - Ultimate Shopping Blv.

Walking up the "Le Ramblas" then turning right immediately after passing  Catalunya square landed me at one of the City’s center major wide avenues known for its  elegant expensive shopping stores. 

2 most  architecturally famous  buildings  designed by the renown - Antonio  Gaudi .

are situated here


Though I visited Barcelona on at least  3 previous occasions, many years ago, it was the first time I actually toured inside of these masterpiece structures. Make sure not to miss

 

Combining sea wave shapes, most colorful glass mosaic ceramic tiles, amazing wood curving original arches, iron rote artistic railings and ornamented structures and sculptures up on roof top, evoke an amazing experience for the eye and soul.


"Casa Batllo" - UNESCO world Heritage

To read more




"Casa  Mila" - La Pederrera - UNESCO World Heritage

Read more



There is another known structure just off the La Ramblas , which is recommended and I hope to visit it on  another time named:


"Palau Guell"


Other Gauid's  known Structures - (photos)



Walking back down the Le Rambles I was attracted to the beautiful building of:


"Palau de la Virrena"

A baroque building built, between 1772 and 1778  today it houses the headquarters of the city council's Culture Institute and hosts various temporary art exhibitions and cultural events


An exhibit of the known woman artist: Paula Reno was on display

Paula Rego - a Portuguese-born British visual artist who is particularly known for her paintings and prints based on storybooks




Food:

Once David showed up at the hotel, early evening, we leisurely walked to the place he booked for dinner and had an excellent meal at a fantastic sea-food restaurant.

Make sure to be hungry as the portions are huge.


Botafumeiro” on Gran Carcia


Another recommended

El Nacional - A multi-zone culinary establishment

4 areas, 4 bars El Nacional offers a meat restaurant, a fish restaurant, a tapas and rice restaurant and a fast deli restaurant


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Date: Sept 7th/2017

Place: Barcelona along Costa Brava to Girona



A viist to the Market

"Mercat De La Boqueria" -  Barcelona’s Food Market off Le ramblas



An early morning visit to this known local Food Market which is situated right off the La Ramblas, and opens as early as 6:00am, left us with the feeling of paying a visit to the "pharmacy" - prices wise. 



Still offering most amazing food products variety,  all arranged in most attractive displays, as we remembered seeing, when we first frequented it about 30 years ago.

However, now and since Barcelona positioned itself as a “Global Citythe Market is catering chiefly to the daily deluge of tourists, who willingly pay whatever is being “milked” out of them.



Global City

David hated visiting Barcelona, which as several ot other cities of the world, including Tel-Aviv positioned itself, as Global City - an urban centre that enjoys significant competitive advantages and that serves as a hub within a globalized economic system.

It is maybe good for the city's economy, to be positioned as "Global" but sheer hell for

the city's residents, and the sequential travelers.


The volume of tourists, also reinforced by the daily ejected out of the cruise ships, was a big turnoff, thus David agreed to stay for only one night in the city, and then continue to less crowded regions.

Following the morning city walk offered by the City’s Tourist Information Office, (TIO)

we made sure to depart to Girona.

.

Barcelona's TIO  "Walking Tours" offers excellent 2 hours, walking tours on the subjects of: Gothic, Picasso, Modernism and Gourmet.


The “Historical Gothic” tour of the old city center, which we joined, departs from the Information Tourist Office at  “Placa  de Sant Juane” and is highly recommend, was given by an excellent guide named:

Jose Ortiz. Jose can be found via the 2 sources below:


Barcelona Walking Tours

34 932 853 832, info@barcelonaturisme.com tickets.visitbarcelona.com


Iconserveis - walking tours

34 663 789 935 tours@iconoserveis.com


Just of “Placa de Sant Juane”  I was enamored with a Great Bakery for typical Barcelona pastries


St Jordi -Forn Artesa Rosquilles Tipiques

c/llibereteria 8 bails. Tel 933 104 016 info@oasteleriasantaclara.com


Placa de Sant Juane


The square is at the center of the Old City - the former center of the Roman city of Barcino, where its main streets, the Cardo and Decumanus crossed, and where the administrative heart, of both the city and surrounding, the Executive Council of Catalonia and the City Hall, are located and are across from one another.


Barcelona historic city center



Met Suzanne Cohen - Sydney Travel Company Australia

suzanne@sydneytravelcompany.com.au



Leaving Barcelona along Costa Brava toward Girona


Leaving Barcelona by car driving on Route N11 along the Northeastern Catalonia Costa Brava "the Wild Coast" which is holiday destination mainly for package holiday tourists from Europe, and which stretch from the town of Blanes, 60 km (37 mi) northeast of Barcelona, up to the French border, was quite a disappointing experience all the way up to “Tossa de Mar”. 


The neighborhoods and structures we passed were run down or were plain ugly, and the scenery was dull. But worse…the Catalonian installed rail way tracks which are fenced off right by the beaches along the sea-shore, deny access from the Hwy, to the sandy attractive beaches spread for miles and miles.


From  “Tossa de Mar” onward.. toward “Saint Feliue de Guixoisa larger bustled town the topography changed dramatically, more elevated and curvy and like-wise the scenery became attractive and wooded with  Pine Trees and the Mediterranean shore presented below rocky formations, bays and coves.



 A few recommended places along the coast we stopped at :


Arenyas de Mar” - A small port Village



Blanes” - A popular sea shore tourist town


"Tossa de Mars" - Medieval sea shore town


Marc Chagall, the French painter, loved so much the quality of his life there  that he actually nicknamed Tossa de Mar Blue Paradise and dedicated  many paintings to it.




To be continued...