Borta bra men hemma bäst

Today was not a long day in Spain, we left the apartment at 6:30 am and left the ground three hours later. I think I was asleep for the whole takeoff. Strangely I wasn’t tired when I woke up, but at the airport it hit me and I slept for a while. Then I was wide awake for the whole flight and read. I finished Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception and started reading Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony basically only because I read part of the first chapter at the end of The Opal Deception and realized that whole chapter was about Barcelona. It was great to see all the places in front of me. Pretty cool and random that the next book on my to read list took place in Barcelona just as I was leaving it, haha!

It was really warm when we landed. Picked up the cats right away and then Jesper and I went out for a small walk downtown and ate dinner out in the sunlight before watching Deadpool 2. A really funny movie, and for all Brad Pitt fans out there, he is in it.

I have now unpacked everything and taken a shower and finally feel clean again after all that sunlotion and sweat for a week. That’s usually not a bad thing, but it definitely feels better if there is also salt in your hair and you know that you spent all that time sweating and stinking at the beach in one way or another. Two days out of a week barely counts.

I think I am ready to go to bed now and back to work tomorrow. I am also ridiculously excited for tomorrow’s games in the series. I think my shoulder feels fine now, so that will be awesome. Hopefully good serves again!

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Platja del Bogatell

Last day in Barcelona is over. I am not too sad, it will be nice to go home. One week in a city can be a lot but it was good that the beach was available as it wasn’t in Paris or Rome. So it didn’t really feel like a waste of time (actually it never is) to spend two days there. Today we walked left when we came to the water though, to the beach called Platja del Bogatell. It looked exactly like Nova Icaria. But since is was Saturday today, there were tons of nets everywhere on the beach. I soo wanted to play, but I felt that it would be best to rest my shoulder for another couple of days and go all in on Monday in the series. The shoulder has been better the past few days actually, hopefully it will stay that way after this week of rest.

Mom got a massage again. I read a lot (almost done with the book I started just a few days ago!). But we both also went into the water. Last day in Barcelona and probably the only time by the Mediterranean this year. We would have regretted it if we didn’t go in. It was cold, the Internet said only 16C (60F), but it was still very nice. And the sun was warm and I dried almost instantaneously up on the sunbed and wasn’t cold at all. Just felt refreshed. Water is nice! It might be that Myra (the main character in my book) gets that from me. Perhaps.

Tomorrow we are getting picked up by the taxi at 6:30am. I don’t mind. I would rather go early and get home early than spend half a day not doing anything, just waiting to go home. And I will get to see Cleo and Ramses sooner as well. I have gotten no updates on them and miss them so much.

Parc Güell

This day was supposed to be all about Eusebi Güell. He had acquired a big piece of land and assigned the architect Gaudí to draw plans for the residential park influenced by Britain. Only 2 of 60 lots were sold however and the project was canceled and the park sold to the city and opened in 1926 as a public park. Gaudí still went crazy over there and built roads and viaducts and a market place in accordance with the vegitation and slope.

It was a beautiful park, but all three of us got really bummed out when we realized that we couldn’t get inside the center where all the Gaudí stuff where. There is a strict visitor limit every 30 minute and the next available time slot was at 5pm. We got there before 1pm. Not worth waiting. Too bad. But the rest of the park was pretty. But with at least a couple of school classes there were constant noises and kids running around. Extremely annoying! Cats are good though.

We ate our sandwiches and then took the Metro to La Rambla where we did some tourist shopping, had coffee, ice cream and then back to the apartment where we relaxed and read for a bit.

At 7pm, mom and I went out to finally have a dinner of crepes. We went to the place we were aiming for the other night and that was a good idea. Creps Barcelona on Av. Gaudí had amazing crepes. Mom and I first shared a savory one with cheese, mushrooms and ham. And then we shared a sweet one with nutella and strawberries. Delicious. Highly recommend if you are ever in Barcelona and get cravings for crepes like we did.

While we sat there, we thought about if it was worth going to the fountain again tonight to get that photo we were both robbed of yesterday. We decided it was worth it. So we took the Metro, just to arrive and realize that the waterfall by the castle was not rainbow colored today… Seriously?! I got some nice sphere photos though. One can be seen here on Google Maps. It turned out okay.

Tomorrow is our last day here. Time has really flown this week!

Platja de la Nova Icaria

I don’t know any Spanish, but that is not to my disadvantage since everyone here speaks Catalan. It took me several days to realize that. It all sounds the same, but at the same time no. The spellning is definitely weird. May for example is a word I know in Spanish: Mayo (Cinco de Mayo). But here it says Maig everywhere. These people here are not proud Spaniards, they are proud Catalans. And very proud ones at that. I think I have seen perhaps one or two Spanish flags on balconies, the rest 99% have Catalan flags. Yellow ribbons are everywhere as well having something to do with freeing political prisoners. The people here do not want to be a part of Spain. I am not too involved but even to the ignorant me, it is clearly visible.

The word Platja, I assume means beach (the Spanish word is playa, right?).

Most of today was spent at the beach. Mom and I left around noon and just walked straight east from the apartment until we eventually came to the beach. It was around 5 000 steps one way. So 10 000 in total after just laying there for many hours relaxing, getting foot massages and reading. Pretty decent.

It was warm today, not enough to want to go in the water, but still enough to lie on the beach for several hours. The wind was present so it didn’t get too warm either. It was perfect. But I am unused to being in the sun, and therefore forgot to use sunlotion on every inch of my body, so the closest tw centimeters around my bikin got decently red. It hurts a little, but I have been through worse. Nothing else got burned though. Sun protection works!! Use it!

After a quick shower back at the apartment mom and I went back out (Helena wasn’t feeling to well and used the day for resting for tomorrows trip to Parc Güell). We took the Metro to Hard Rock Cafe where mom bought me a late birthday dinner. Very nice and good. Number 19 in the order.

We then walked to Parc de Montjuïc, or the beginning of it, where the Font Màgica de Montjuïc (The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc) was. Tons of people pilgrimaged along with us and it took a little while for us to understand why. Everyone was going to the fountain. It wasn’t even that crazy in Las Vegas or Dubai! It was crazy bananas.

It played both popular music but also some classical. We thought it was about to end three or four times. It kept going for an hour! Crazy! But it was beautiful. Light was incorporated into the fountain and made really awesome effects. With the spray it almost looked like the water was boiling lava when it was red/orange or ice when it was blue. It was really beautiful! But it was long. So mom and I went up the stairs toward the castle behind it to take a photo of the rainbow fountain up there. But literally two seconds before had the chance to pull the photo trigger on both of our cameras, all the fountain lights in the area turned off and we stood there, with our cameras held high in darkness. WHAT?! Now I feel I have to go back just to take that picture, I was robbed of that opportunity, haha! I think it would have been a pretty cool 360 picture from up there as well. With the pretty castle, the rainbow and the columns further down and then the dancing fountain. Too bad.

It got really late today, the fountain didn’t start until 9pm. Tomorrow will be a  day in the park with sunny weather.

La Sagrada Familia

Today’s step result ended at 22 000 steps. I have been hoping to get at least 20 000 per day, but that is a lot! My feet are flat after almost 55 000 steps in just three days time. Even with my memory foam sneakers. And we haven’t even been to Park Güell or Park Montjuïc.

Today’s focus was the number one attraction in Barcelona: La Sagrada Familia. We had booked tickets in advance but I didn’t think the lines were that long outside, but better to be prepared.

We started with the tower of passion. Just walked through the church and its amazingness without really soaking it in, we had a time slot for the tower. Elevator up 65m. It honestly felt like much more. We timed our visit well with the special bell ringing too. Crazy loud and special. Got a good view of the whole city from small openings in the tower on different sides. We walked along spiral staricases downstairs and it was good that there were photospots along the way, otherwise we would have been super dizzy. Although we did become super dizzy at the end of the staircase where it was super narrow and scary.

Down in the church, we picked up our audio guides listened to the guide talking about the exterior and interior. I have nothing else to say other than WOW times a million! I love churches, I have seen many, but let’s be honest, most of them are rather similar. Not this one. I promise you have never seen anything like it. I most certainly have not!

First of all, this is a basilica under construction, it is at the end and about to be finished (in hopefullt 8 years when Gaudi, the architect of the thing, has his 100th anniversery of his death). The construction started in 1882 and I think Gaudi had it all planned out from the beginning. I think he must have had some type of obsession disorder or something. Because he thought of everything! He loved nature and the whole church was inspired by it. From the outside that can be seen from the big cyrprus tree over the current entrance (it won’t be the main entrance when it is finished). The inside is supposed to look like a forest and you definitely get that feeling when you are inside. The arches of the basilica are very high up and in order for the biggest tower (which isn’t built yet) to hold, the pillars are made from different stones to hold better, but they are also divided at the top to take more weight. Resembling branches of trees. It is so beautiful!

The windows are different colored depending on which point of the compass it faces. I can’t remember if it had warm colors facing the morning sun or something like that. Really pretty though!

The style is one of a kind and it is hard to describe. Definitely gothic, but kind of fairytale and fantasy as well. I totally recommend it! And I plan to go back when it is done. Everyone is so confused as to why it takes so long to build, but all big churches has taken several hundred years to build. Why wouldn’t a modern church take almost the same mount of time? I get it. And I am very happy that I will be able to see it finished (hopefully).

 

Our next stop was La Pedrera which was kinda close by to La Sagrada Familia. The same architect: Antoni Gaudi. He designed an apartment building but it cost 20 Euro to get inside so we just watched the facade. It was still cool, but it probably would have been cooler on the inside and definitely on the roof. Well well.

Then we took the metro to La Rambla where we found a place to eat and then we walked through the Gothic Quarter (Old Town I guess) to the museum of chocolate, Museu de la Xocolata. 6 Euro entrance (5 for me since I am a student), and the ticket was a chocolate bar. There were some information about how it became to be what it is today, how it is produced and all of that. As well as lots of chocolate sculptures, many ones from Game of Thrones actually. There was also one from Lego Gotham City, but it bothered me since Spiderman, Ironman and Captain America were standing next to Batman facing the Joker…

Helena went home after that and mom and I went to Parc de la Ciutadella agin and watched the pretty Cascada fountain again. I really like that one.

On our way back to the apartment, we had one goal, to find a place where we could eat crepes. I have had cravings since we got here. According to Google we found one just north of Sagrada Familia and we walked toward it, not too much of a detour to the apartment. But the place we ate at yesterday had crepes, we saw as we walked by, just two blocks away from the restaurant. We sat down, ordered crepes, but they were out so we had churros with chocolate instead. I guess we have to eat crepes another day then.

My feet are starting to feel round again and I am ready for another day tomorrow. I think both mom and Helena are getting really tired and I haev a feeling that I will feel even more restless tomorrow. Walking that slow hurts more than walking fast. But we do see a lot of stuff, but maybe I will walk a little by myself the coming days? Or perhaps I will find some people at the beach tomorrow to play beach volleyball with and get rid of some energy? I don’t know where it comes from?

As with the last two posts, no pictures, sorry. But they will be here, hopefully sooner than later. Now, time for bed and my new book: Artemis Fowl, the Opal Deception. I finished A Court of Frost and Starlight last night. Really good book/novella! Goodnight!

La Rambla

The summer feeling from Gothenburg has arrived in Barcelona today. Kind of. It was sunny today, some clouds, and around 21C. I’ve been walking around with a tank top, actually gotten some color on my chest. But I always had my long-sleeved close by.

I prefer to walk when going someplace new. You see everything that way. But it is also very interesting to use the transit system so I wasn’t too bummed when we decided to take the Metro to La Rambla. Before we got there however, I learned about what I have been told about pickpocket thiefs. We were on the Metro and it was not very crowded but one guy came ridiculously close to me when a lady wanted to get off. I felt his jacket slid over my purse and when I reached my hand down, his hand was in my purse! He looked confused like he had no idea what was going on. I almost started screaming at him, but in Swedish. I have learned from Jesper that if anything happens, the bst thing to do is get attention by yelling. I hadn’t even been here 24 hours before someone tried to steal from me. So everyone planning to go to Barcelona, be careful and aware! Nothing was stolen by the way.

La Rambla anyway is a big avenue with lots of shopping and tourists stuff. Lots of plants and seeds. I bought cat grass since Cleo loves that. There was a really big palm tree that thrives in my warm apartment but I don’t think I could take it on the plane home…

I had been told to go to the metal shed which contained the food market and we found it as we walked along La Rambla. Mercat de la Boqueria. It was huge, and there was so much food! And so much of it looked so delicious. There were fruits, smoothies, meats, small bars, a big fish section. It was hard to decide what to eat. I decided eventually, to eat a pizza pierogi, a mango/coconut smoothie and strawberries and mangos. Unfortunately, the strawberries weren’t that good and the mango wasn’t ripe. But the smoothie was amazing and the pizza pierogi was very good as well!

We then went to Catedral de Barcelona, a basilica built in the 13th century. I love churches! They are so beautiful and majestic. I took a 360 picture inside, it can be found on Google Maps. We decided not to go up to the roof since we are going up in one of the spires on Sagrada Familia tomorrow.

Helena wasn’t feeling too well after that so she took the Metro back to the apartment while mom and I walked along. We went all the way down to the water along La Rambla. Out onto a pier where there was a rather big shopping mall, Maremagnum. We just walked around inside, looking at it. Then another walk to the park north of it called Parc de la CiutadellaParc de la Ciutadella. A very pretty park! With an extraordinary fountain in the north end. Cascada Monumental, a fountain that somehow reminded me of Fontana di Trevi on Rome. Except this was full of growth and green. There were also some baby ducks swimming in the fountain. Absolutely adorable!

Our next stop was the Arc de Triomf. It is not a memorable city in Europe if it doesn’t have an Arch of Triumph. It was built in 1888 for a World Fair (like the Eiffel Tower was the year after, 1889).

We sat down at La Foga, a restaurant north of the arch and had a great dinner together. I had the chicken tacos and mom a nacho plate. Really good!

2km was all that was left between us and the apartment, so we walked back. And when we walked through the door it was already after 9pm. How did that happen? I feel satisfied with 20 000 steps today and more than 6 hours of active time (WSP challenge counts minutes, not steps and 6 hours equals 360 minutes and as many points, not too bad).

Later in the evening the cucumber building (also known as Torre Glòries) started its light show. It’s crazy how they do that on an office building. And why build an office building shaped like a dingdong? It’s funny, but it feels a little bit like a ripoff to the one in London. Just saying.

 

Like I wrote yesterday, there won’t be any pictures just yet. But be patient, they might show up sooner than you think!

Barcelona: From warm summer to cold spring

Vacation is great, but going away after leaving an autoreply at work saying “with sunny regards” was cocky. Gothenburg has for the past week had the most amazing weather ever. It has been warmer than it usually is in the summer. Crazy and absolutely wonderful! I had hoped that it would be as nice once we arrived in Barcelona today. But I’ve been walking around in my jacket and was actually freezing at the end of the day. If my nails hadn’t been painted white, they most definitely would have been blue. Now I make it sound like it is almost winter. It is not. But it has been cloudy and a type of raw cold. Even if my phone said it was around 17C.

 

Me, my mom and her colleague (and the most important proofreader of my book) Helena arrived here this afternoon after a three hour flight. I slept most of it, super nice.

The apartment is on the top floor with two terraces. We can see the cucumber house really well on one side and the top of Sagrada Familia on the other. I love that all of SCA’s apartments are located in such good places. In Paris we could see the Eiffel Tower from the balcony. My mom works at SCA and they can rent apartments all over Europe and some in the US for a very reasonable price. A very sweet deal.

We haven’t planned too much this week, but I did plan to hang out at the beach for a couple of days. But that is not going to happen. Sad face!! I guess I will work on winning the step challenge at work instead.

 

After we got to the apartment we left pretty much straight away. We walked in the direction of the church and had lunch close by. We then walked around it, watched it until the cold wasn’t making it fun anymore, walked by a Mercadona grocery store and back to the apartment. It is 8pm and I am kinda ready for bed I think.

 

I apologize for not posting any pictures, and most likely won’t during this trip. But WordPress changed from being able to buy only storage upgrades to having to buy a Premium plan for way too much money. I can deal with $20 per year for an extra 10GB, but not $100. So I have moved all the blog posts and pictures from my two years in California to two archive blogs but that was not enough. I still have 1.3GB too much space used and until I have moved more blog posts and pictures I can’t upload a single picture. I will work on it. I will post them eventually.