Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 8 - Bike Tour & Gaudi

I hope you all like my pictures because this post will be full of them! Where do I start?

Yesterday, we got in to town and immediately headed to the beach to be greeted by the one and only.... Christopher Columbus.

How sweet is this view?

Barcelona immediately won us over because you can buy beer for 1 Euro and drink it walking down the sidewalks until you have finished and find the next food stand. Their local beer is Eustralla and it is really good however, the wine is even better. We walked around the beach and boardwalk for a couple of hours (yes, there were some less modest aka nude Spaniards there) and then we headed back to the hotel to shower for dinner. It is so nice to finally have good food. Even the hotdog stand at the beach was good.

We literally just got lost in the city after dinner. We finally ended up in a square where we sat and took it all in. The night life in Barcelona is pretty wild to say the least. Most places aren't bumping until 2am and stay open until 6am. Needless to say, after a day of travel, Kendall and I hit the bed early around 1am. Anoop gave us a late morning so we got a full 8 hours of sleep for the first time in 8 days.

This morning, we woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed for a bike tour of Barcelona. I felt like I was at home with dad being drug out of bed for the weekend ritual of mountain biking. We were all a little skeptical but it ended up being one of our favorite things we have done and we vote bike tours for every stop.

Here are a few pictures from our tour:

Port de Barcelona:

1992 Olympic Village Port. This monument was created by Frank Gehry (also designed the Guggenheim Museum) and is affectionately called by the locals "the goldfish".

Parc de la Ciutadella

The first of 3 Antoni Gaudi buildings we saw today.

After the bike tour we grabbed lunch at a sandwich shop near our hotel. They definitely ripped us off. I guess we had to have that happen to us at least once, right? Then we browsed the farmers market. Harv, what do you think?

This place was called St. Josep la Boqueria. There was literally anything you could have possibly wanted. No Harv, there was not ice cream but you get the drift! We got some delicious pastries for desert and headed to our next stop.

After lunch, we went to Sagrade Familia. I could not possibly explain what it is like to lay your eyes on this cathedral. Let me give you some background before you get to the pictures. Barcelona is part of the Catalan culture. There are two Catalonian communities; Barcelona and just over the Pyrennes in France. The people in barcelona usually speak two languages, spanish and catalan which is a lot like spanish but not exactly. So we thought we were just going to struggle with spanish, boy were we wrong! Antoni Gaudi's work is considered Catalan Modernism. I am aware that most of you who have listened to me banter about architecture have never heard me say this name. Mainly because this type of architecture is not my favorite but I can most certainly appreciate it. Gaudi not only designed these pieces of art, he also calculated the structural loads to design each member as well as over saw the building of it for it's first 50 years. This building has been under construction for more than 130 years and counting making it the longest construction project ever. Here it is:

Pretty awesome, right? Gaudi designed every member by using strings and little sand bags. Weird, huh?

In structural design, your main concern is gravity. So, since Gaudi didn't have Autodesk, He made a model of the building using strings suspended upside down. He then attached uniform bags of sand to every member to see which strings were in tension and which weren't. If they were in tension upside down, then they would be in compression right side up allowing Gaudi to see which members needed to be what size. Pretty nifty if I do say so myself.

I will have to put together a must see list at the end of my trip. This place will definitely be on it.

The last stop of the day was another Gaudi building called La Pedrera. It was a home for the Mila family to live in and rent out the rest of the floors. This is a very funky one as well...

Take a look at this roof top:

Courtyard through the middle of the building allowed every room in every apartment to get natural sunlight.

Made from broken wine glass bottles

Awesome parquet flooring

Last but not least, we went to the mart to get wine and look what I found.

I miss Duff more than I can express! For those who don't know this, I named my brown miniature dachshund after the Duff brand of beer on the Simpsons. Yes, Dad I bought a can and am bringing it back! I have been trying to get my hands on this stuff since I picked the name Duff!

We are headed to dinner and drinks! More to come tomorrow!


  1. Love all of the pictures and I am super jealous!!!!! I am so proud of you and so happy that you are getting to do all of this! I love you!!

  2. Amazing pics, looks like Barcelona will go on my list of places to go. You'll be happy to know that Duff is fine, as a matter of fact he is pulling the stuffing out of that long tiger chew toy thing as I'm sitting here checking out your post for today. You know I'm dying to know what kind of bikes ya'll rented.

  3. Dad, these were definitely cheap beach cruisers with the huge padded seats. Sorry to disappoint!

  4. The Plasters would LOVE 'KK's Guide to Europe'! Stay Safe!

  5. I never saw the Duff beer anywhere. Where did you find that beer? The good thing about the market beer was they were so cheap! I wonder how good Duff beer tastes. Maybe its just as good as Homer portrays it to be in the Simpsons. Did you ever get to taste the beer? I did taste the Moritz, it was a pretty darn good beer and it was extremely cheap. I got mine from the St. Josep Market when I got some pizza there from a vendor.

  6. I had no idea that Duff beer actually existed until I saw this picture on your blog. It must have been added excitement for you that you named your dog after the beer and now you actually have the beer to go along with it, but I would advise not to let him try the beer. As I have told you before, my brother has a miniature dachshund as well and apparently they take a liking to anything you give then, including beer. I’m sure you miss your dog and are ready, at this point, to go back and see the little guy.