Friday, April 25, 2014

Mario and Jan's 30th Anniversary Trip - last day in Barcelona

This morning Mario and Jan took off on their own down to Sitges, just down the coast for some free time and shopping. Upon their return to the train station, we headed out once more to explore some of the parts of Barcelona that often get overlooked. First up we went to the site of old Barcelona amusement park, and the panoramic vantagepoint built in 1968 that is the Mirador del Alcalde (Mayor's Lookout). Our attempts to take  a cable car ride up the mountain were foiled by an unexpected extra day of repairs, but we were not to be let down, and continued our drive along the mountain to the Joan Miro Museum. The choices had come down to the Joan Miro Museum and an exhibition at the Caixaforum, and in the end the Barcelona born artist's museum won out. Walking through the Miro is not something to be done overly quickly, and the sheer volume and impressive works on display make it a must see for modern art lovers. 

Our next stop was the Barceloneta beach. I know what you are thinking, "Barceloneta is not exactly a non-tourist site". Yes, it is a popular beach area, but we were exploring the roots of the town, from the 17th century first houses to what remains of the 19th century factory that brought new life to the area to the scultpures along hte beach paying homage to the neighbourhood's bohemian past. 

At the end of the day we stopped off for one last drink on the rooftop terrace of the Majestic, which is one of the truly wonderful sites for a sunset drink and one last goodbye before they headed off to the islands. 

 For more information on private tours around Barcelona and Spain, contact The Spanish Touch at 888 480 0013.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Mario and Jan's 30th Anniversary Trip - Modernisme - part II - Park Guell

After visiting Sagrada Familia we headed over to Park Guell for an exploration of Gaudi's genius at work in landscaping. Due to the need for upkeep this year, for the first time ever the city has decided to charge for visitors to enter into the park. You can buy your tickets at the gate, but there's a limited number of tickets for each half hour segment, so it's always a better idea to have the tickets ahead of time. However, as it's a new system, sometimes there are bugs that still have to be worked out, as was our case. A short delay as the very kind girl at the front gate clarified the number of tickets we had and we were into Gaudi's fantasy park. From the entrance stairs gaurded by Drac to Gaudi's house itself, with its museum of items from around his various buildings, everything is unique and unmistakeably Guadi. As it was their 3oth anniversary date, we left the afternoon free for them to go shopping and enjoy their big day. 

Next up is a morning on their own to visit Sitges and an afternoon exploring some of the lesser-visited sites in Barcelona.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mario and Jan's 30th Anniversary Trip - Modernisme - touring Sagrada Familia with an architect

This morning we began our tour with a slight detour, due to an alteration in the traffic patterns (unscheduled road work) but having left with plenty of time, we still made it to our first sight on time. Today we started with Barcelona's crown jewel: The Sagrada Familia. 

As Mario is an architect I was very interested in hearing his thoughts about the visit, and he confessed that he did manage to stump the guide (albeit with a very technical question which may not have had an answer). But their overall impression was very positive, and so we continued on to our next stop: Park Guell. 

Cordoba Day Tours

Today celebrates the 888th birthday of one of Al-Andalus's greatest philosophers: Averroes. The Cordoba native's influence was felt throughout the entire empire, which at the time was the largest in the western world. And it draws our attention to the city of Cordoba, in the heart of Andalusia. This mid-sized city is a must-see on anyone's top 10 list of Spain because of it's culture, its heritage and its place in the history of Spain. 

The Spanish Touch offers day tours of the city for everyone from first time visitors looking for a good overview with a personal touch to those looking to learn more about the legends and backstories of the region to those looking to delve into the flavors and colors of the city.
Curious visitors come to explore the small winding streets of the Jewish Quarter, to see where Averroes was born, to experience the spectacular Cordoba Patio Festival and of course, to visit the monolithic Mezquita-Cathedral, undoubtedly the city's most recognizable monument.