Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spain - Day 4

Day 4 in Spain was our first full day in Barcelona.  We were so excited to get out and explore!  We started the day roaming the Gothic Quarter in order to find some breakfast.  We stumbled upon a sweet little cafe serving a ton of delicious looking breads, croissants, and pastries.  Brett got a chocolate croissant, I got a ham and cheese baguette, and of course we shared.  We also each got a 'cafe con leche' - aka the most delicious coffee ever.  Perfect start to the day!


After breakfast, we headed north towards the Sagrada Familia for a tour but the line was so long, we decided to come back later in the day.  Instead, we continued on north to the Hospital de Sant Pau.  We were originally just going to walk around the outside and marvel at the incredible architect of this hospital (hospitals just do not look like this in the States!), but came across a sign with information for tours.  We immediately decided to take the tour and I'm so glad we did.  Our tour guide was the sweetest, funniest Barcelona lady and she was a plethora of information.  We walked around the grounds, went into a few of the buildings, and learned so much about the sight.  The main building (first photo below) is currently under construction and is being restored, so we had to wear these construction vest and hard helmets during the tour.  Hilarious but so awesome.


We had such a great time on the tour.  By the time it was over, we were starving.  It was definitely time for lunch.  We ended up finding this little spot right outside of the Sagrada Familia that had tables scattered out front so you could stare at it in awe.  We grabbed a couple of ham and cheese baguettes (I can't even talk about how many ham and cheese baguettes I had on this trip.  It's embarrassing.  There were everywhere!) and two biiig glasses of sangria and had ourselves a little lunch date.


After our bellies were full and the sangria had given us a pep in our step, we decided to check out the line for the Sagrada Familia again.  Luckily, this time it was much shorter.  Score!  The line went relatively fast, too.  But you know what?  After seeing this place and going inside, standing in a line that was a million miles long would have been worth it.  This place was probably the most incredible thing I have ever seen.  These pictures do not even do it justice.  Antoni Gaudi (the architect behind the church and a ton of other buildings in Barcelona) was clearly a genius.  His work is unbelievable.  The construction of this church was started in 1882 and isn't expected to be completed until 2026!  Gaudi died in 1926, when less than a quarter of the church was built, but architects and construction workers continue to build on in his honor.  So amazing!!


Such an absolutely incredible experience. Once we were done, we decided to head back towards our hotel.  With the Barcelona Cathedral being right around the corner from our hotel, we decided to check it out.  This church was also seriously amazing - it was constructed in the 13th Century!  There was a mass going on when we went in, so we weren't allowed to walk all over, but it was still amazing to look the structures that were just so old.


At this point, we were more than ready to head back to the hotel and rest our feet.  We relaxed, drank some wine we picked up, and ate some more cheese with fresh bread.


Once we recharged, we were ready to conquer the night!  We headed up to the neighborhood of Garica, hoping to find a cool place to eat since we heard this was a hoppin area.  Unfortunately, we couldn't find anything (maybe we weren't in the right area?!), so we headed back towards the sea and ended up at Placa Reial, a cool palm tree lined plaza that had a tooon of restaurants to choose from.  We roamed around, looking at all the menus, and then stumbled across Les Quinze Nits.  I remembered Nicole recommending this place and immediately decided that we'd be eating dinner here.  We had a delicious meal on the second floor overlooking the plaza, sipping on (some more) sangria.  Just what we needed!
 

We ate a late dinner and by the time we were finished, we were more than ready to head back to the hotel and get a good night sleep.


It was an amazing day!

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