Thursday, January 05, 2017

HIKING IN THE FOOTHILLS OF MOUNT TIBIDAGO

Barcelona, oh how I miss you. My friends and I were only in Barcelona for 4 days but we managed to fit in a lot - we certainly could have done more but the trip was a really chilled affair (with only a few tourist spots on the hit list!). I didn't manage to be quite as organised as I had hoped to be but it worked out okay in the end and turned out to be the best birthday week! So let's get started.
After a little bit of quick planning on the night of our arrival, we decided to pay for a day ticket on a Tour Bus. It would help us get our bearings and it's a super convenient way to get around as it allows you to hop on/off wherever there is a stop. Our Air BnB was located about 10 minutes walk from the Sagrada Familia which is a residential district, further away from the hustle and bustle of the Gothic Quarter but it was a convenient location, quiet at night and safe. Since we were so close to the Sagrada familia, it was also one of the main stops for the bus. We got a quick glimpse of the awe inspiring cathedral (more on this soon) and hopped on the bus which took us north of Barcelona. The bus took us out of the central areas and we thought it was a great opportunity to explore areas we wouldn't necessarily see if it wasn't for the tour bus. We spotted something on the bus map that mentioned a castle (or as it turns out, Sagrat Cor Church). So we stopped and walked up a hill and found ourselves walking up Mount Tibidago (yes hello Friends reference!).
We quickly realised that the Church was a little further away than we had imagined and we decided against paying extra to the funicular to the top of the mountain and instead stopped at this little restaurant which turned out to be one of our favourite views of the city. On hindsight maybe it would have been nice to continue up to the church but it didn't matter too much in the end as we were quite impressed with the lunch spot and the awesome view. Lunch was delicious and I opted for a plate of the freshest calamari, shared some croquettes and we enjoyed our little lunch looking over the city. 
Afterwards, we hopped back on the bus and soon found ourselves on Avinguda Diagonal which is one of the main avenues in Barcelona. You'll find high end designer brands here but also some amazing architectural gems like Gaudi's Casa Mila which is also known as La Pedrera.
The undulating facades of the Art Nouveau buildings are really amazing to see in real life and it really blows me away that in the 19th Century, people were commissioning such modernist buildings that were so different to traditional architecture. This area is amazing and is also home to another one of Gaudi's masterpieces, Casa Batllo which deserves its very own post which is coming right up!
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