When we spent a few days in Barcelona 5 years ago, at the end of our Camino Portugues, we did quite a few touristy things including visiting Montserrat, La Rambla & the Cathedral, the beach near where we were staying and Gaudi’s Casa Battlo. We also ate a lot of tapas. This time, at the end of 5 weeks of travelling, we’ve seen about as much touristy stuff as we can take, but there were gaps in our Gaudi experience so we concentrated on filling them a bit.
After sorting out our rental car extension at the Avis counter at BCN airport, we headed straight to Park Guell as it was on the way to our campground. Greg has been using a very handy app and website called Parkopedia to find us parking in cities, towns and at tourist places where getting a park can be tricky, difficult or (often!) impossible. Everywhere around Park Guell was crowded, partly because it’s a residential area, but also because the day we went was a public holiday. So we headed to a parking station a few blocks away. Easy. We took our lunch to the park and joined lots of other people out and about enjoying the weather and the park. When Gaudi designed it right at the beginning of the 20th Century, the area was located outside of Barcelona. A wealthy count purchased a tree-covered hillside and commissioned Gaudi to design up to 60 houses for wealthy people in landscaped grounds, but it was a commercial flop and abandoned in 1914. It was purchased by the city in 1922 for use as a public park. Gaudi spent most of the last 20 years of his life in a house in the park which is now used as a Gaudi museum of memorabilia and some of his furniture from his home and others he designed.
The following day, Friday, we visited Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece Basilica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia The Church of the Holy Family. Wow, what an incredible place! Nothing I write could even begin to describe it, but Greg’s photos will probably give some idea. However I will just say that if you visit Barcelona and only see one thing, it should be this place. It is absolutely awesome, in the true sense of that oft-misused word.
We’ve spent the last few days camping at Camping Barcelona, which is about 35kms north of the city. It’s easily the best campground we’ve stayed at in Spain. Lovely sites, excellent facilities, late check-out – we can stay until 8pm on the day we leave. The campground offers a regular, frequent bus service into Mataro the nearest town, plus a bus to Barcelona and will organise tours to popular tourist places including La Sagrada Familia and Montserrat. They have a bar, restaurant, mini-market, nice looking swimming pool and give discounts for stays of longer than 5 days. Wifi is included in the camping fee and it’s good and fast. We paid a bit extra for power. It’s been lovely staying here.