Friday, July 23, 2010
After our friends left Spain, the Hong clan arrived in Barcelona to hold its annual family reunion. We rented a spacious flat in the city to accommodate all 15 members of the family. It was a packed house!
We spent a lot of time sightseeing and really enjoyed the artistic culture in Barcelona. We especially loved seeing Gaudi's architectural masterpieces. Casa Batlló and Casa Milà (La Pedrera) are two amazing buildings in the Eixample district of Barcelona. Gaudi favored curves and elements of nature in his designs. It may be a simple concept but it is very difficult to execute. Every part of the buildings from the railings to the roofs were intricately designed.
(photo courtesy of Brian Lau)
Another Gaudi sight we visited was Park Güell. It was an unsuccessful housing development that was later converted into a municipal garden. (Also chosen as the location for the Roaming Jackson series.)
Our final homage to Gaudi was visiting Sagrada Família, a massive Catholic church that has been under construction since 1882. It is not scheduled for completion until 2026! It was simply awe inspiring.
In other tourist activities, we took the double decker city tour bus (not worth it unless you hop off every stop), visited the Palau de la Música Catalana (a concert hall), went up to Montjuïc (a hill overlooking the city) and saw the Magic Fountain show (something like the Bellagio fountain show but grander). In the midst of all this, we also came across a parade for the Catalan independence from Spain and France. It appears to be a popular sentiment in Barcelona.
After a great time in Barcelona, we all hopped on a train to Madrid during the final week of the World Cup games. Our timing couldn't have been any better!