Today our plan is to see the Sagrada Família and Casa Milà, then eat some Tapas, anything else we find will be bonus points. Kids weren’t into breakfast at all. Cereal and some donuts and milk were offered and poked at, but not finished. I took a shower and failed finding any shower shampoo; used the liquid hand soap near the sink as backup. We were on the street walking towards the Poble Sec subway station a bit after 8am. Maddex and Michelle are the resident subway route planners, so I fell back and let them pick the route. We ended up at one transfer then rode a bit to our destination
We exited the subway station facing away from the Sangrada and looked at each other like “ok now what?”. Michelle turned around to face the station we just exited BAM, she said “wow” smacking her in the face is the massive church. It’s one of those things you cannot capture with pictures or video or words. You have to see it to understand how massive and impressive it is. The closer you get the more details you notice, the more impressed you become. The walls are not smooth and flat they are covered with art and meaning and design.
We’re anti-queuing when it comes to tourist things and there was a large queue in front of the church, ewwww. We walked around taking it in chatting about it, telling the kids this thing has been under construction for over 100 years. The designer is long since dead. His successor is also passed on, ETC. Around the back / other side of the church across the street we found a kids play area. The kids played on the slide and Michelle took off to purchase a coffee and donuts. When Michelle got back with treats we decided we needed to brave the line and go inside.
We live in the future, so I found the website for the place, checked the prices then bought tickets online. Who needs to queue when you have a smart phone and 4G. Across the street it looked like some tours start there. We walked over and asked. Nope the queue starts on the other side, the side we started on. We travled around the side of the church we’d not seen yet to the front, where we found the group / family line with no people in it ; Yippie!!. We rushed right on inside through the secuirty check point. It was 30 euro for the basic self guided tour, and worth every euro.
Walking around and inside the church I was struck by the visible progression in building techniques and variations in materials. 100+ years means you have to change and grow, and your source quarys for stone will change. The older foundation sections are hand cut, stacked stone work. Then you move into manufactured stone, stacked concrete brick, and poured concrete. What Gaudi’s imagination would have created today with a greater mastery concrete would be even move impressive I am sure.
After wandering around a museum exhibit of construction and building history we eventually made it the other side of the church, walked outside, up a ramp, and into one of the massive side, front, maybe rear, where ever, doors. WOW, the inside of this thing is even more impressive than the outside. Massive organic looking pillars, stained glass windows of every colour, multiple stories high, seating for thousands, and large crowds of people. Everything has meaning and a reason and purpose and was planned and thought out and well designed.
Casa Mila and Bird
After we finished being in Awe of the Sangrada thing we went in search of some food and the Casa Mila. We completely failed finding anything worth eating, but we did come upon a road with motorcycle parking in the middle of the street. I mean if I was riding a motorcycle and right in the middle of the road next to the cross walk there was a motor cycle parking square, I too would feel compelled to park there. In the back ground of the below image are some large plastic looking bins. They are rubbish, recycling, and compost bins, and they appear to be all over the streets to deposit your rubbish in, free of charge. – I approve!! extra boner points they appear to seal which might mean they keep the smells in durring summer?
From the mega rad church thing to Casa Mila was about a 20 minute walk at our pace stopping to look at shiny objects and take pictures. Lots of leaves and poles in front of the building plus looking away from the building meant looking directly into the ball of burning gas in the sky, made it difficult to capture a great picture of Mila in front of her casa with her eyes open, but we sure tried. By now kids are in need of some rest / nap time, and food.
Consulting GPS in front of Casa Mila it looks like the street we are on is some wide avenue with shopping on both sides, and a 15 minute walk ahead is some park with a fountain near a subway stop; We shall walk there. The shops on the sides of the street do not like frugal at all, the names all appear to cost gold bars and do not look like places we would shop, but it was fun to look in the windows. Nearing the park the area started to become more and more crowded, then we saw cops blocking roads, then the streets were filled with mobs of people. – Must be some game or something going on; they are all covered in sports colors
The Park is more of a large open square with some water features then it is a grassy park kids can play in. Today the square looks to be setup for a concert or demonstration or something. There’s a stage setup with big speakers and music is playing. Mila’s bird friends(pigeons) are all over the square hunting for free food hand outs. The birds look harmless, untill some one does a Mic check complete with feedback sqeek. Which scares the birds. OMG run for cover!!, talk about the birds movie, the air is now filled with hundreds of birds flying all over. We duck and run for cover. After the birds calm down we get ready and try to capture the next bird scare on camera. After the birds we took the subway back to our apartment for a movie and rest.
After nap walk with a View
Michelle spent some time consulting her phone and came up an after rest walk. We were going to walk to a fountain nearby called Font Màgica de Montjuïc The fountain was the opposite direction we’d been walking and looked like something the kids might enjoy. First stop along the walk to the fountain was a small play area in some random square a few blocks from our apartment. Roxi sure enjoyed escaping from the backpack to run around for a minute. When we made it to the fountain we found it completely empty of water; sad face. Then we looked around for something else to do, and up the hill from the fountain looks to be a massive palace looking building; we shall go explore.
The massive palace turned out to be an art museum called Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Oddly the museum did not show up on Michelle’s google map but the fountain did. Unknown to Michelle she picked a spectacular walk for us. The kids and mom went up the stairs I took the escalators up with the stroller. When we made it to the top the view we found was worth every stair. You can see the entire city from up here. 5-10 story buildings stretched out almost as far as you can see with a few taller ones sticking up here and there.
Down the hill to the east of the museum towards our apartment is a former estate turned into a park we walked through headed home. Along the way we found a few fountains, some water features, a 1920’s open air theater built-in a roman style in a hole and a some steep hills to walk down. We’ve done something right, because our kids have a bast walking around exploring new areas. The kids all climbed down into the theater and danced for us a bit on stage. The theater had great acoustics, from the top of the theater you could clearly hear the kids playing. Michelle was nice enough to pose by a statue for us, then Mila had to try to do the same in front of a fountain.
When we made near home we tried to have Tappas, but the kids were too far tried to be of much use. Even in an outdoor seating area they were nuts. Back to the apartment with Kebabs for us we feed the kids what ever we had leftover, and some ice lollies. Before putting the kids to bed we did our best to pack and prepare for Sunday going home day. Flying home is only a 2.5 hour flight, but when you add getting to the airport, airport security and wait time, and getting home bus ride it’s an all day affair.
We took a bus from the airport when we arrived, but decided we knew the subway well enought we’d take the subway; turns out the bus would have been quicker. We made it to the subway around 8:30, 2 transfers and an extra 14 euro to exit the airport station, followed by a walk, then security, then passport controll and we made it to the gate around 10 for a 10:30 flight home. It’s the journey that matters not the destination right? I took Roxi and the girls on the flight home and Michelle sat behind us with Maddex. We were in the same seats as we sat in on the way down.
The None EU line for customs in Dublin was long, about 45 minutes. There is an EU line and none EU line. The EU line has automation and about a bunch of maned booths; it moves fast. Our line has 2 people manning the gate and moves slowly. The kids lasted about 30 minutes before they started to fall apart. The Aircoach we were taking home, which we think runs on a 15 minute schedule, appears to be on a 30 minute schedule today. Did I mention it’s lashing rain outside?. We huddled up under an awning filled with smokers and waited, then waited some more, coughed a bit, then waited a bit more. Finally the bus came, then 45 ride to the Clayton near house, few minute walk to the Central Park Luas stop, Luas ride to the Gallops, 5 minute walk home and we are home! – what a day, and what a fun trip!