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“Parc Güell = Zoo Para Turistas”

In the midst of all the touristy shots I have taken of Barcelona, I had also shot a few street photographs of inconspicuous spots within the city. Usually places deemed ordinary by Spaniards and tourists alike.  I’m no street photographer, but finding spots like these are great for practice.

Some are just normal streets or roadways around the residential areas.

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Others are quiet spaces seen from the loud, commercialized tourist hot spots, like this messy neighborhood from the rooftops of Palau Güell…

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Or this seemingly pissy graffiti a quarter mile down from Park Güell.

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There’s also this workshop around Poble Espanyol…

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The tram heading to Tibidabo…

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And the view of the shipping port from the top of Montjuic Castle.

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When I tell some people that I would love to someday move to Barcelona, that this is one city I can see myself living in, the response had always been the same: that I have only seen the touristy parts of the city and that I haven’t seen the actual, real side of Barcelona. In a way, they are correct. One week in Barcelona is not enough to see everything. But what they fail to realize is that I am a very observant person. And I love to explore. When I travel, I see so many things that people don’t often pay attention to, whether I’m in a tourist spot or I purposely ventured outside of those tourist spots. And from what I’ve seen of Barcelona so far, I likes.

So yeah… one of these days.

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La Pedrera

Casa Milà, aka La Pedrera, is one of the most popular hot spots in Barcelona. Too bad it was closed for the entire, freakin’ week I was there.

Anyway…

Built in 1906 and completed in 1912, this century-old structure was Gaudí’s most controversial one. Not because of any particular drama. People just didn’t like it. Disapproving citizens ridiculed it, calling it “La Pedrera” or “the stone quarry,” in reference to its weird design.

I don’t know what they were complaining about. To me, it looked just like Casa Batlló, except fatter and less colorful. My only complaint was that they wouldn’t let me inside. I was only able to take a picture through the front doors.

Hmph…

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That one fortress I kept seeing everywhere

Aside from the National Museum of Catalan Art and Tibidabo, the other hilltop structure that I kept seeing all over from the rooftops of Barcelona was the Montjuïc Castle, a military fortress that sits atop of the Montjuïc hill next to a seaside port.

It has a rich Catalan history that spans nearly 400 years. Not a lot of tourists tend to venture on these parts, so lucky me, I almost had the entire place to myself.

Gotta say, it was pretty windy up there.

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Gothic Quarters

 

As I mentioned before, we stayed right by the edge of Gothic Quarters in La Rambla. Almost everyday, we passed by Pont del Bisbe and the Barcelona Cathedral. It’s one my favorite spots in Barcelona. Lots of things to see and lots of places to eat.

On early mornings, farmer’s markets would sprout out in random squares. Afternoons would bring street performers by Plaza de la Seu. And very late at night, you can hear opera singers belting out next to the cathedral.

Then one day, we happened upon an ancient looking door by the buildings behind the cathedral. It led to what appeared to be an old building converted in an office space. Nothing interesting. But within that building in the patio area were four unearthed, ancient columns from the Roman times. Pretty spiffy!

Wish my office building could have something like that. The closest thing we can get in Cali is an ancient Native American Burial ground (or any form of cemetery for that matter) and that’s not a good thing.

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Tibidabo

When I said there were a ton of places to get a good view of Barcelona, I wasn’t kidding. Tibidabo was one of those places, and most definitely the one with the highest viewpoint. This is, after all, the tallest mountain in the area.

At the top of the mountain is the Sagrat Cor Church next to the 100 plus year old Tibidabo Amusement Park (Europe’s third-oldest). Most of the rides in the park were still original. It was closed for the most part, unfortunately. But still, we got to climb to the very top of the Sagrat Cor church.

So funny story… transportation to the top was kind of a hit or miss. You’d have to take the metro, then a tram and then a bus to get there. The first time we got there, it was a little late, but I wanted to get a nice night shot of Barcelona. Unfortunately, it was so late that by the time I finished, the church had already closed.

So what do we do? We head back there on our last day in Barcelona. We had left over time, so why not?

And let me tell you, that peak point right by that statue of Jesus at the very top? Extremely windy! But so worth it!

So this was our last stop in Barcelona. It was a fitting place as we got to see the best view of the city that I came to love with the most gorgeous sunset.

No, this isn’t my last of my Barcelona shots. I got more. So ha!

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Basilica de Santa Maria Del Mar

Here’s another one of those unplanned stops.

At the end of La Rambla is a sea port heading off to the Mediterranean Sea. And around that edge is the Basilica de Santa Maria Del Mar or the Santa Maria of the Sea Basilica. Our driver (a Polish fellow who married a Venezuelan and are both now living in Barcelona) dropped us off there.

It was hard to see how it looked on the outside as it was already dark when we got there, plus the street it was on was very narrow. But inside, it was just as grand and beautiful as the Barcelona Cathedral.

Props to our driver.